Friday, January 16, 2009

Whats a quote for?

I have an old friend and extremely good client in my MSN messenger contacts list so I can troubleshoot any issues as they arise. Both him and his secretary contact me regularly.

The secretary informs me her computer has failed. She wants me to tell her where to buy a good cheap system. A bit like asking your mechanic where to find another good cheap mechanic. Bloody rude.
I explain that there's good and there's cheap but not both. I supply a quote for my most basic system, at bottom dollar. (My profit margin on this sale? $60)
She then attempts to beat my price down by having me install a modem from her old system. I don't do this as a rule. If an old component fails and takes new parts with it warranty becomes an issue. Also It take more time to source drivers and test/install the old modem than it costs to fit a new one. She calls me on the phone.
The conversation is painful. Long and repetitive.
She agrees to the quote and makes a $200 down payment. To expedite the order I pay the remainder and parts are on their way. The next day she contacts me and makes noises about canceling the order as its "more expensive than she expected".

Thats what a fucking quote is for!

Apparently her computer expert neighbor explained she can get a system for a few hundreds cheaper.

Yes. She can. I have a workshop full of them. You get what you pay for.

Understand I've sold this business all their systems and related IT goods over a 5 year period.
I've known the boss for 25 years and Im well trusted. I go out of my way to help them.

Anyways, she decides to go ahead with the computer. I've already explained the system as a basic but capable, but she wants to know the giblets of the thing. Its a waste of time explaing anything to her as she has the IQ of an eggplant. I dont want her to call me again as she waffles on too much without making any sense.
She calls anyway..
We discuss the fact that theres no power supply with the modem, and I spend 10 minutes explaining that "yes it is required" and "no, not any power supply will fit it".

I told her via MSN the data transfer/email-net setup will be on top of the initial quote, at 1 hr service of $80. This is less than half what I charge normally.

I build the system, install Windows, test it overnight and transfer all the data. Its set up with all she needs and performs well. Its a Core 2 Duo with 2 Gb of RAM so it should.

I inform her via MSN that its ready and she wants to pick it up. I say after the balance is paid she can have it. She then cracks a shitty telling me I never informed her of the Data transfer fee.
I copy/paste the relevant sentences from my MSN logs. Then she carries on how Im charging her more than I charge her boss. This is bullshit..

My current competitor in town charges $110 for shit work so I feel this is reasonable. Most people are fine with this. If they dont like it they can go elsewhere.

I inform her that I do not wish to complete this transaction and I shall refund her money forthwith. Im polite. I do have to deal with these people in the future.

The sale hasnt even completed and its a drama. I dont wish for it to continue. This is my perogative. I feel an immense sense of relief.

Then later that evening...

At 9.30PM on the dot we start getting hangup calls. three of them initially. I do a star 10 # and its the mad secretarys number. On the 4th call my wife picks up. Its her again. Shes drunk as a
monkey and in the mood to stir some shit. Michele informs her that calling at this time is not on and to call in business hours. She hangs up.. And calls again...
I pick up and politely inform her not to call at this hour. Ill see you on Tuesday with your money.
For fucks sake..

The next day..

She calls me in the morning, stating she's over her sulks and asking If I am as well.
I didnt sulk. I made a business decision that would save me grief in the future.
Then she goes on to inform me that its all my fault as I "refused" to tell her the capability of the system. Now we've had three phonecalls, I've done my best to explain compatability, relative performance and software installed. Ive described the system several times as basic but capable. Its specs are documented it on the quote. Its like trying to explain quantum physics to a chimpanzee.

She states "I made her feel stupid". Umm.. well no dear you did that quite well yourself.

She tells me she's contacted another computer supplier,who can furnish and deliver a similar system for the same money. He's been good enough to explain the system to her and starts to grill me on the specs once again. She still wants to buy it "as a favour to me!"

"you dont get it" I say. "Im not going to sell you the system". Buy the other one! PLEASE!

Then she informs me that Im an angry and neurotic man. I explain nicely that I didnt get personal with her, but If Im angry its no wonder considering the 9.30PM drunken call last night.

She denies the time of the call, the content of the call and the fact that she'd rung and hung up three times. I explain the star ten # function of the telstra service. No answer for that one..

I explain my intention to deliver her old system and the money shes paid on the next day.
Call ends..

Next day I get a call from her boss. He's apologetic. She's explained whats happened and he's smart enough to work out the real story. Its not his fault and I tell him so. It wont affect our business realtionship. He's a top bloke and I'll continue to be his IT support to the best of my ability.

Anyways.. Tuesday is very busy for me. I've got a shop full of systems to fix and two other builds to complete. I ask my lovely lady to drop off the money and the old system. No worries she says.

My daughter goes along with her and they get a less than stellar welcome from the secretary.
Now my 11 yr old girl is very smart for her age, and not prone to conjecture, but her description of the secretary is "that rude old bitch".

I would have to agree..

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