Had a strange experience this morning.
It started with a phone call yesterday from my supernaturally organised foreman. A couple were coming in to commission some custom furniture for their new home and they insisted on talking to me. She wasn’t good enough to take the specs, they wanted my presence. Normally I’d say “Tell them to fuck off” and hang up, but we have been damned short on work recently so I quashed my natural bad temper and said OK, I’d meet them this morning at 7.
Get in about 6 AM, check the work orders and the progress on things then start to work on a pulpit we are restoring for a semi local church. Mostly retired from the sharp end of the business now, but I like to keep my hand in from time to time. Besides, it is peaceful.
Tommy, our delivery driver and my foreman’s son is the sweeper and human forklift. He arrives about 6:30 and puts the coffee on. He is a wonderful young man - not exactly all there mentally, we’d have called him slow back in the day - but what he does understand he takes very seriously indeed. There is nothing more serious than making sure I get my coffee in the morning.
7 AM arrives and with it, no clients. Clients are always late, you get used to that fast and don’t let it bother you. The smart ones wait for high tide. We are right on the river and it can get somewhat odorous at low tide. Shrug and carry on working. Vonny (Yvonne to the rest of the world) shows up and starts working out the day’s work schedule. I carry on working on this pulpit.
Finally the clients show up. Normally they ring the bell at the office door and are let in, but these two walked through the open loading door onto the shop floor instead. Tommy greeted them, got my attention, took them through to the office and sorted them with a brew while I cleaned up. All normal. Steve rolled up to start work. Like everyone else, he works a 40 hour week with hours of his choosing.
They looked uncomfortable. There is a lot of small talk involved in doing a design - you design for the people, not what they say. Eventually they stood up and said “We’ll get back to you.” in that tone that you just know you will never see these people again.
I have no idea why. It wasn’t the designs, we had not even got on to that. So it was either the coffee, the work I was doing when they came in, or the people who work there. If it was the coffee, fuck em. Best damned coffee in all of London. If it was me working on a pulpit, fuck em twice as hard. We take commissions from anyone. If it was my staff, I better never see them again.