If this happened only once or twice, I would not even mention it. Even if it happened once per month it would not be a big deal. No, I am not looking for an advice on how to handle this matter nor a sympathy pat on the back. I just have to get it off my chest.
It is 8:55 in the morning and I have already spent a solid hour behind the work bench trying desperately to re-shape a Breguet-over coil hair spring. Fixing other people's mistake is never fun, but since we cut down on general repairs, tangled hair springs and broken balance staffs are luckily not often on the menu. I've learned long time ago to ignore intense pain in the back, shoulders and both elbows which is a typical 'watchmakers disease.' But with a bit of luck and patience, it will be all over soon...
Then the door bell rings.
Our office is situated on the 4th floor and we have two security doors. Due to the nature of our business and security issues, we see clients strictly by appointment only. My assistant opens the door and I could clearly hear the conversation that is taking place in the show room.
- Hi, is Nick here?
- Yes, he is but he is busy right now. Can I help you at all?
- Well, I would like to see Nick!
- Unfortunately we are not open to the public, as of yet. Do you have an appointment?
- No, but it will be only 10 minutes or so...
At that stage, I know I have only one option - to put the hair spring job away and turn my attention to the visitor.
- Good morning Sir. Are you here to buy, sell or repair?
- Hey Nick - neither - do you sell watches?
- Yes, I do.
- But there is nothing on display?
- No, it is a bit too early. So you are interested in...?
- Well nothing in particular, I would just like to see what you've got?
- In that case, Margarett will set an appointment. How about 9:45? We keep our stock in a security deposit box and it takes a bit of time to get it ready for viewing. (Why am I apologizing?)
- Nick, I am not really ready to buy; I just want to SEE what you've got.
- In that case, why don't you check out our website. After all, it's all there; photos, description, prices... (Why am I reasoning?)
- It's not the same thing... I have to try the watch on my wrist before making a commitment. It is really a shame you can't show me what you've got RIGHT NOW. This is very disappointing, I was in the area... looks like I'm wasting my time!
At that point, I feel like a gorilla stunned by a taser.
Don't get me wrong - I am not upset because you've forced your way into my premises. Nor with the lack of respect - or because you are not even making an effort to listen. That I can handle.
What throws me out of whack and makes my blood boil is your immature attempt to put a blame for your "disappointment" on me, like this is somehow my fault. And even more so - by using completely illogical reasoning.
Let me just tell you two things.
First, this situation is anything but SHAME. Shame is when England won back Ashes beating Australia in 2009. Or that game last month when Samoans kicked our bums in Sydney. THAT is shame.
Second. There is an establishment across the road, above the bank called "Final Touch". No, they are not a hair dressing salon. No, they are not a funeral directors either. They provide a very specific service. Yes, that one.
Like other 400,000 people who work in Sydney CBD, I too see their sign on my way to work. Since this is a completely fictional scenario, I beg you to use your imagination wisely:
I ring the door bell. The 60-something ex body builder covered in tattoos opens the door. Yes, I woke him up, and yes, I can smell some strange fumes, and yes, I can see something is going on behind that curtain, yet I hear me saying:
- Hey, it's me. Are you open?
- No mate, it's too early...
- Anyway (and I push him gently to make my way into the establishment) I won't waste much of your time...
- We are not open; what do you want?
- Well my solicitor told me that you got a new girl, Ruby Cat. I would like to see
her in person!
- Ruby Cat is not available. It's too early mate. She is not ready to see clients.
- Oh, you don't understand me. I don't want THAT. I just want to SEE her. I've checked her profile online, but as you know, in case I ever decide to become a client of your fine establishment, I have to make sure I like her personality.
- Listen mate, call the number, call us to make an appointment (now the area under his chin is turning red, and heavily pulsating, especially around the string of tattooed numbers - is that the number to ring? I haven't seen a walking business card before! Very unprofessional to say the least)
- Well, that's really a SHAME. Especially because I WAS IN THE AREA....
So here is my second point: being in the area gives no one any special power or privilege over any business owner who happens to have an office in the time and space YOU intentionally or unintentionally happen to share.
There are 400,000 people within 3 minutes' walking distance from our shop who are ALSO in the area, yet I don't expect them to knock on my door with such a lame excuse. This "I WAS IN THE AREA" excuse sucks, and it sucks big time so DONT USE IT!
Even if my shop was 850km north of Burke, in the middle of nowhere, even then, "I am in the area" would not be a good reason to knock on my door unless I had a "No Appointment required" sign stuck on my window.
Actually you will have more chances of seeing the tears rolling down the face of Ruby Cat's boss than making me guilty for not being able to accept illogical excuses.
Nothing personal. That's just the way the things are.
Seriously: Yes, we appreciate your business and we LOVE to deal with you in person. However, we are professionals - in order to serve you better and allow you to browse our stock confidentially and uninterrupted, we operate BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please call 02 9232 0500 or email.
Thank you for your patronage.