Firstly, apologies for no blogs in September and October; a very dear friend was gravely ill and my spare time was very limited so very little clock repairing was possible. She passed away a few weeks ago, age 63, after losing a ten year cancer battle.
This month brought my first ever disgruntled clock owner. I thought my website made it very clear that clock repairing is just a hobby, something I do in my spare time, and that if a fast repair is needed it’s best to look elsewhere. In return, I charge almost nothing to save moribund clocks from the graveyard because I enjoy breathing new life into them and seeing the faces of the owners when the get them back afterwards, working properly again. I almost never take anything by way of a deposit, funding all the costs of a repair myself. Maybe I’m just ‘old school’ but I do helping people without trying to take advantage all the time.
So this grandaughter clock came to me for a repair in February – a three train 1920’s German factory movement; the sort of thing it’s difficult to get too excited about. It had sat somewhere not working for over five years until someone finally decided to get it fixed and as I was cheaper than anyone else they could find, it came to me.
Well it was full of cobwebs, dried up oil and dirt and I have quite a few other clocks to finish first so it sat in the corner for weeks undergoing tests while still in the case to see what adjustments would be required. Eventually I took the movement out and cleaned it and then tested it. After that I updated the owner who suggested I hold onto it for a while longer to make sure it runs to time.
By October I was confident that it would be reliable but it was another month before the owner finally collected it. In an email just before coming he said my charges represented good value but he wanted a discount because it had ‘taken an extraordinary amount of time for the clock to be fixed’. Well, I don’t do discounts because there’s no profit in this for me to discount. Every penny is spent of cleaning fluids, maintaining the website, replacing and repairing tools, maintaining the lathes and other equipment, and so on. And I don’t do haggling either because my rates are way below anyone else and I don’t need the hassle of dealing with people who are always looking for something for next to nothing.
Given that the clock had sat uncared for for five years or more, hadn’t been serviced for even longer and even sat here for a month waiting to be collected after it was ready, and that the owner knew at the outset that horology is just a spare time hobby, this appeal for a discount all sounded a little disingenuous so I simply suggested he accept it as a gift.
He did. Not even an attempt to make some contribution to my costs when he eventually collected it. No mention of it at all. Evidently, not everyone went to my ‘old school’.