The End of the Story

For a good many years, I made my living typing dissertations for Ph.D. candidates at the university in the town where we lived.  I was a good typist -- a fast and accurate one -- and enjoyed my work.  My standards were high and I took pains to make my work as accurate and precise as possible.  Also, because I knew that I was in a mostly-word-of-mouth line of work, I chose to give the customer/students the benefit of any doubt and retyped without charge any pages that they found problematic.

Our inclination is to share our experiences with our friends, our positive experiences as well as our unpleasant ones.  Over the past couple of years I have been happy to share with other quilters in the area Mrs. X's name as a good and dependable long-armer.  A few days ago I posted about a less pleasant experience with Mrs. X.

There have been a couple of additional developments.  I believed the right thing was to contact this lady and share my disgruntlement, thus allowing her the opportunity to make it right and let the unpleasantness pass.  So I sent her an email, and she replied.  So I'll reprint the exchange, and then my local friends can decide for themselves whether or not to use Mrs. X's services again.  I've made my decision.

I wrote:

Dear Mrs. X,

I finished putting the binding on my red quilt using fabric that matches the outer border. The front of the quilt looks so pretty -- the design that you picked for machine quilting is just perfect.

On the back, I'll need to applique a patch over the hole you made in the backing fabric. The area in the corner where the backing is pleated into the quilting is more of a challenge. I suppose I can try to cover it with an oversized label.

I am surprised at your choice not to mention these things to me.


She responded:

My apology... The hole was from a snag in the fabric which I thought I repaired and honestly forgot about. The pleats I am not aware of as I took the quilt off of the machine rather quickly to get it to you on time and just didn't see. I can take out the stitching and restitch it if that will solve the problem.

I always tell you if there is an issue with a quilt. I did not choose not to tell you, it was simply an oversight that came from working long hours trying to get your quilt to you when you wanted it. Let me know if you want me to pick up the quilt and rework the area.

Mrs. X


Nancy said…
so you made her work too fast to do a good job? bah...
Pat said…
You handled the situation quite well, and with more diplomacy than I prolly would have. The fact that she admitted she never looked at her work before returning it to you -- regardless of the tight deadline -- tells you all you need to know. Lack of pride and professionalism in her work, for whatever reason, means you can't trust her with the quilts you've spent your time, effort, money and creative energies making. It's a shame, because word travels really fast and there are lots of long-armers out there looking for business. Trust is a terrible thing to lose.
Mrs. Goodneedle said…
I believe that you did the correct and proper thing in making contact and explaining the problem. Her response is not an apology but rather a whiney excuse where she attempts to transfer blame; that is neither professional nor acceptable toward receiving any future business.
Anonymous said…
Well, I actually disagree with the previous posters. I can understand her side of this and think that her offer to take out the stitches and redo that section is an appropriate response. I guess I didn't read between the lines to see her response as whiney. I'm sure she is sorry that you are displeased with her and I believe she would like to make it right in order to please you. We all make mistakes and and I think being willing to redo is all she could do.
The quilt is beautiful; you did a wonderful job and I can understand how you would want the back to be as perfect as the front.
*karendianne. said…
Dear Nancy,

I agree you handled it very well and this person just isn't cool. I strongly dislike the way she refuses to take responsiblity for anything.

I feel like I'm about to hop on a soap box. I'll stop.
howdidIgethere said…
I read the response as making excuses masked as an apology. When quality of work is critical, so is a final check to ensure everything is OK. She should have discovered both problems in the final examination. In any case, "out of time" is irrelevant as, I seem to remember that you said that time was NOT of the essence.

WV: famen -- when the only thing available to eat is dried chinese noodles
Tanya said…
That's interesting. It is also interesting how different people interpreted her response. Sometimes no matter what one party or the other says is taken the wrong way...