Posted by: Rachel | September 23, 2011

Angry Customers, Skirts, and School

I think it’s time to get out the old pen and paper and do some writing again. Gotta tell all my adoring fans the amazing brilliance that is just filling my noggin.

Satisfied Customers tell Three Friends, Angry Customers tell 3000.

Guess what, I’m not satisfied. This past weekend my husband finally finished all his research and purchased new tires for the minivan. He got them from a local shop close by. They are pretty new, maybe been open about a year or two. New tires are a big chunk of change so he usually shops around for a good price. Imagine his surprise when he notices an ad in the Shopping News on Tuesday advertising the very same tires for $10 less per tire at the very place he just bought them. So Earl wonders if that special was running the week that he bought the tires. Luckily for us, last weeks SN was still in the newspaper basket and so he dug it out and sure enough, there was an advertisement proclaiming that Tire X is on sale for $94. Somehow we paid $104 per tire. $40 dollars more for a set.

Now if you know my husband well, you will also know that he doesn’t like confrontation. But he tore the ad out and stopped in at the Tire Shop the next day to ask why he didn’t get the sale price and to see if the guy would do the right thing and refund some of his money. Mr. Tire Guy says ‘No way, that’s to draw new customers in, and you have to mention the ad.’  I guess the guy was within his rights not to refund the money but it made for an unhappy Earl. Personally, if somebody goes out of their way to come back and ask for the sale price, I think you should give it to them. It was important enough to Earl to take time out of his day to stop in again. Here’s what Mr. Tire Guy probably didn’t think about: Earl is the mechanic at the place he works; therefore he is in charge of maintaining all the trailers which includes putting on new tires. In one year he changes approximately 30-40 trailer tires at $300 a pop. If Earl decides Mr. Tire Guy is a jerk he can take his $9,000-$12,000 per year elsewhere. And that is all I have to say about that, Mr. Tire Guy on Pleasant Valley Road a public road somewhere in Ephrata.

When the Skirts Go Marching In

Today the man in brown brought me 12 huge boxes of skirts. That’s right, I’m a shopaholic. Ok, kidding, they were the skirts for E&R Designs.

Here's a sample of the beautiful skirts

It’s a little scary knowing that we now have something to sell. And that maybe some people won’t like them. And maybe then they will trash talk about my precious skirts like I just trashed Mr. Tire Guy. Of course I want to make sure we always have wonderful customer service so hopefully that won’t be the reason anyone dislikes them. I know there will probably be some ladies (or ach, maybe even some crazy men) who say, ewwww, I don’t like those skirts, they are so ugh. It’s probably gonna hurt my feelings a bit. I slaved over these skirts. We spent much time chasing bunny trails that led nowhere. I called so many people, sent so many emails. I tried on prototypes and sent the pattern designer back to work with more changes. I looked at lots of fabric samples. And when the fabric just didn’t work in the skirt we tried another fabric. I called sewing contractors. I called washing contractors. I became familiar with words like ‘grading’ and ‘green goods’ and ‘marker’, not the kind that Delilah uses to scribble all over her legs. Sometimes I felt like a giant idiot, talking to a contractor about something that really, I was clueless about. I am ever so thankful for the manager at the sewing contractor. Had it not been for his always helpful advice this day might never have arrived.

In a way it feels as if it’s the end. The end of so much work, where we finally get to say, ‘Yes, you can buy our skirts now.’ And yet, it is just the beginning. Now we see if there really is a market for our product. Can we go on from here? How long until we turn a profit? (Probably a LONG time. In case you think we are getting rich, trust me, we are not.) I have learned so much about the garment business in the last few years and I’m sure that I will learn much more in the coming years. It’s an exciting journey and yet, as I said, a little scary. So please, buy yourself a skirt, and love it, and if you don’t love it tell me very gently (as if you were talking to a little child so as to not break my heart) what I could change.

Funny story about the skirts: The other day as I was taking the kiddos to school the conversation turned to the skirts that were scheduled to arrive today. When a certain boy realized that I was going to sell these skirts, he said, “Are you gonna sell them cheap?” And so I asked him if his daddy sells T-walls cheap. “Nope” he said. And I said that, nope, I’m not gonna sell my skirts cheap either. 🙂

School Talk

Speaking of taking the kiddos to school: I stayed there for a bit after I chauffeured the rug rats the other day. I visited both of the girls classrooms and was pleasantly surprised to see that Rhiannon doesn’t wiggle like a mad woman during class. She seemed to listen very well to the teacher although she was a bit distracted with her younger sister.

While visiting the oldest girl’s classroom I was given their visitor’s book. It includes a sheet filled out by each child answering various questions such as ‘what is your favorite food/class/game at recess/color? One question was “what are you afraid of?” And a certain little boy wrote ‘Austin and Caleb,’ who just happen to be two of his classmates. I found this hilariously funny. One reason being that these boys are all good friends. Another reason being the boy that wrote it and the permanent naughty twinkle in his eye.

I had a discussion with Alaina’s teacher and it seems the girl is bored and not enjoying school as much as she did at the beginning of the term. I have decided that she needs a challenge and so have told her that she may do a report on a subject of her choice. She chose to study Bald Eagles and is currently researching them online and writing down interesting facts such as: About half of the world’s 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska. Tomorrow morning she has requested that I wake her up extra early so she can print out pictures for her project. I plan on getting a poster board where she can paste her pictures and a written report. It is working well so far, she is really enjoying it and has already discussed subjects for her next report.

Now I must go get my much needed beauty rest so that I can assist with the Bald Eagle pictures tomorrow morning before the rooster crows.



  1. When and where can I buy a skirt?

    • We will be having an open house on Thursday evening October 6th at 359 E Church Street in Stevens. 6-9pm. Hope to see you there!

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