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A question of ethics

oldusty's picture

      All ,


  I'm a custom cabinet shop with about a 27 year run in the same little town , just completed a very nice Cherry kitchen for the best clients you could ask for .I have done somewhere over 150 kitchens locally , I'm not new .


  This particular kitchen was very elegant with most every whistle and bell , all was well until the granite went in . They missed the main sink center by 1 7/8"  and missed a seam next to the cook top by an inch or so and set the prep sink like 1 1/2" closer to front edge the main sink and the tip out tray will not fit now . The seams really showed a lot , they told the HO that particular type of stone the seams show more after they were in .


The overhang varied from 1" to almost 1 1/2" in one or two spots and was not real straight , there was a curved upper bar top that felt like a child did it .They talked the HO into accepting the job as is with no mention to fix things in any way . To me a real shortcoming was all the granite dust and mess they left over all the surfaces of drawer faces and other surfaces they didn't even try and clean up .


    The Granite folks were hired by the HO not me , the HO refuses to deal with confrontation of any degree and quickly paid them in full .I have seen many jobs from this shop and they were all great so this has me concerned , I want to approach the granite shop owner to make sure he even knew what happened and I am very curious whether he actually went to view the completed job or not . And if it meets his standards is this something he would accept in his own home ?


      Would I be over stepping my boundaries by speaking my concerns , or is there a best way to do it ?


                thanks for your thoughts


                            dusty


 

(post #120018, reply #1 of 58)

I think you should talk to the owner of the granite shop.  The kitchen job could be great, but now the whole job is tainted by the bad granite jwork. It will reflect poorly on you and your work, even though it's was a separate contract. 


Visitors and future prospects will be turned off by the poor workmanship, could end up costing you referrals by "association".  Just my $.02


 


Experienced, but still dangerous!
Experienced, but still dangerous!

(post #120018, reply #2 of 58)

 That's pretty much my feelings , I could say " go look at this kitchen , I had nothing to do with the granite " 


          For me the bottom line is , mistakes happen and one way to measure an individual is how they handle problems on the job . No one involved on the job would ever feel comfortable referring the granite shop again and they don't send me jobs so I have little to lose . On one hand if the tables were turned , as a business owner I think I'd want to know something may be  wrong  that I don't know about .If he blows it off like just a rough deal and that happens now and then , we will see his true colors .


       I even thought they could be going out of business or he could have health problems or worse yet wife problems .


                   regards        dusty


               

(post #120018, reply #15 of 58)

On one hand if the tables were turned , as a business owner I think I'd want to know something may be  wrong  that I don't know about .If he blows it off like just a rough deal and that happens now and then , we will see his true colors .


 


Absolutely. I'd be grateful if something like this happened, and someone brought it to my attention.


Just as your clients didn't want to deal with confronting the granite sub, some(alot) of people have no conflict resolution skills. They'll say everything's great, and then badmouth you(or all trades for that matter) behind your back for years. For this reason(among others), I go to great lengths to ensure customer satisfaction. I continually review every detail with clients, and if I detect the slightest hesitation in their responses, I'll dig deeper. I've even contacted a client long after completion because I heard they had an issue.


 Tell him. If he doesn't care, it's his business -but you'll know to never recommend him again, and steer as many people as you can away from him.

(post #120018, reply #16 of 58)

I had a similar situation with my personal granite job on my own kitchen remodel, but not as bad as your situation.  My granite installation was perfect, but I complained to the owner about the neatness and craftmanship of his crew.  They left cig butts all over my driveway, soda and water bottles left where they ate lunch, granite shards and dust everywhere, in the drawers, on the floor and outside the house.  They were a bunch of pigs installing a high end product inside someones home, a little respect and pride in your work seemed to be too much for these guys.  I would come home from work and have to spend an hour cleaning up their mess, and I was paying them top dollar!  The cement crew doing my driveway and walks were neater and cleaner than the guys working inside my home!


The owner was actually very grateful for the heads up on his crew and promised to take action.  He sent us a nice flower arrangement as a token of appreciation, he didn't have to do that, but he knows his business runs on referals from satisfied customers and I had a legitmate beef.


 


Experienced, but still dangerous!
Experienced, but still dangerous!

(post #120018, reply #17 of 58)

  The dust and lack of concern to leave a clean job was bad , I was trained to never leave a job dirty , always clean up at the end of each session . These HOs told me I was the only one who ever clened up .Even if the work is so so if it's left clean there will be less to complain about.


            dusty

(post #120018, reply #3 of 58)

I have done a lot of work where when I found that the owners or someone else was going to paint I would offer to.  I usually do not paint but will do it to protect the overall look of the job.  I explain to customer why the little things make a differnce.  Many small flaws are not noticable on their own but collectively they give a "not quite right" look.


I have done a lot of work for churches and their parsonages.  When the pastor offers to finish part or paint I tactfully recommend against it.


I think I would go to the owner and ask him to go look at it if he has not been there.


For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.


Edited 12/3/2008 11:44 pm ET by rasconc

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #120018, reply #4 of 58)

My take is that your bounds are limited by who paid the granite guy. If I was the granite man, while you were I would probably be thinking to myself "and who is this guy again? I've never worked with him".

The situation you have is one of the risks of not keeping control of the whole job. Especially with granite, there seem to be new shops popping up weekly with neon colored signs on the road side advertising their SF prices. If the HO made a bad decision, it's theirs to live with.

Are you primarily concerned about those who may see the kitchen and think that you messed it up, or about your inability to use this kitchen as a "showroom"?

I know it stinks, but I am inclined to say that's just the way it goes.

 


Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #120018, reply #5 of 58)

   Jon ,


          I was hired as a sub to do cabinet work only , I had no opportunity or obligation  to keep control of this job or the subs they hired unless they asked me for names as they did for the painter / finisher .


   They had already seen the slabs and talked to the granite shop before they contacted me , my involvement came much later in the process then normal but lets face it who of us is in the position to turn down a good job ?


  They asked me about the granite shop and I said they did a good job ,every job I have ever seen has been good , even though they are not the shop I would have used .


   By not reworking the mistakes it reflects a lack of integrity which imho is un ethical when we are dealing with the high end products as in this case the folks are paying for top notch work .


    The HO spent around $100,000 on a kitchen / laundry room redo , so what the main sink is off center by about 2" and the granite guys charged about $14,000 for screwed up tops . Your right it's just the way it goes .


  I don't know about any of you guy's but 27 years in business for me did not happen from doing business like the granite shop has .


       sorry for the rant


                        dusty

(post #120018, reply #7 of 58)

Maybe it's just me but I feel I have an "unwritten" obligation to the person I'm working with to let them know they have been screwed, sometimes people in general just don't "see it" as they don't have the knowledge. If your working in someone's home and you see someone working there stealing something "Say Something", in essence this was the same thing.

(post #120018, reply #29 of 58)

"Maybe it's just me but I feel I have an "unwritten" obligation to the person I'm working with to let them know they have been screwed, sometimes people in general just don't "see it" as they don't have the knowledge."

Believe me, I have no problem speaking my mind (which probably explains why I post here) when it's called for. However, I try to be careful to not offer my opinion when my opinion was not requested.

From what it sounds like to me, you feel that if a certain element is not up to your standards, then it will be a problem for the actual client.

How do you know this?

I don't think having a sink cut-out 2" off is good workmanship, not at all. But there are some people out there who won't be bothered by it. Isn't it their right to enjoy the product that they paid for without your "help"?

"If your working in someone's home and you see someone working there stealing something "Say Something", in essence this was the same thing."

I think you've made a pretty big leap to compare someone who is complicit to a crime with someone who lets some poor workmanship go. After all, we're talking about a countertop, not a felony.

 


Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #120018, reply #37 of 58)

I speak up all the time!!!! If I KNOW that something has not been done properly, I tell the guy doing the work or the client (home-owner). Get yourself a new man cause he's screwing you, weather he know's it or not. Just maybe the world would be a better place if more people did speak up (ie. Wash. DC would be a great place to start). What about the concrete testing co. from Ossining NY that was screwing with the PSI rate at the new Yankee Stadium and the new foundation at the new World Trade Center site. Someone should have blown the whistle. Let's say YOUR going in for surgery, wouldn't YOU want to know the surgeon YOU have chosen sucks. People in general can't be expected to know everything, and I help weather they ask for it or not, if I see them getting hurt. Nobody's kicked my #### yet...And by the way at the cost of that granite top, it would make it a felony., and that lack of quality WAS a crime in MY book.

(post #120018, reply #39 of 58)

Hey, if it works for you, I have no comlaints.

I do think there's quite a distinction between the examples you mentioned and a sub-par granite job, but that's fine.

 


Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #120018, reply #40 of 58)

What's the story on the concrete psi at the stadium?

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

(post #120018, reply #42 of 58)

A company from Ossining, NY, certified testers, in some cases didn't test the concrete at all, or lied about the concrete meeting the required psi rateing for the footings and foundation. The two most prominate sites were Yankee Stadium and the New World Trade Center site. The story was in the NY papers, and the local evening news.

(post #120018, reply #41 of 58)

   Yeah , if it was $900 worth of laminate tops they may be expected to be less then perfect but for $14,000 one would think you get what you pay for . My point they charged the full price and not a discounted less quality  sort of price . Maybe for $15,000 you get egg rolls too .


                  dusty

(post #120018, reply #43 of 58)

Two inches in that application may as well be two feet. Do you know if these tops were templated? Would seem they were not.

(post #120018, reply #44 of 58)

  That part is really un acceptable to me as well , yes 2 fellows the head installer and his side kick came out and took several hours to make the templates.


    The story they told was the fabricator in the shop used the wrong mark to center that main sink and it was the first time he ever missed , doh !


    The backsplashes get tiled after the top is in so they had a good margin where the top did not have to touch the back walls , you would think this makes it easier not harder .


              dusty


        

(post #120018, reply #10 of 58)

"They asked me about the granite shop and I said they did a good job ,every job I have ever seen has been good , even though they are not the shop I would have used ."


That gives you your answer right there.


You did not endorse them but in the client's mind they did not hear a negative comment either.


Approach the granite shop owner and explain about quality of the job, if they do not fix it you can in future dismiss them as hacks and definitely feel free to be negative about their work.


A bit painful maybe but a least you then have a clear conscience.


For myself I would want the opportunity to fix anything considered to be substandard .

(post #120018, reply #12 of 58)

sc ,


     This is difficult but since they had already chosen slabs that from the source the designer recommended and seemed to love what they found , I had no reason to think the job would not be as good as any other job I've seen them do .That is why I offered no negative comment , I had none for real .


     Another smaller shop in town is owned by a comrade and pretty good friend who sends me work now and then and that is who I do business with .


   In this case as I said the HO refuses to complain or confront in general his wife told me he won't allow her to squawk about it , she's pod for sure and a realtor that knows everyone .


     Perhaps if I talk to the granite shop owner and let him know up front the Ho does not expect or want them to come back and change anything and does not know I am talking to him but ask him if that meets his standards and did he see it or are his employees pulling the wool over his eyes .


    " how good we are is how good we fix our mistakes "


                         regards      dusty


          

(post #120018, reply #31 of 58)

Dusty,

I just read through the thread again. I must admit that I'm having a slight change of heart.

For some reason, in your original post I had the impression that you were looking for a combative approach, but I think now that I had the wrong impression.

I would let him know of your observations, not as the representative of a dissatisfied customer, but as one business owner to another. Your tone and approach are important because you don't want him to think that you're complaining, just pointing out an issue to help him.

I can tell from your responses that you already know the appropriate approach and aren't just looking for a reason to spread bad-will. Good luck.

 


Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #120018, reply #32 of 58)

I am glad to see you reconsider your POV. Would have hated to get into an argument:)


 

(post #120018, reply #35 of 58)

I am glad to. I would have hated to prove you wrong.

:)

 


Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #120018, reply #38 of 58)

Ooops!!


Looks like Pelipeth decided to argue for me :)

(post #120018, reply #34 of 58)

   Thanks Jon .

(post #120018, reply #19 of 58)

I disagree, Jon,

Telling the granite guy is doing him a favor, so there’s no problem there. Most of us would be grateful for a second chance that we wouldn’t otherwise have gotten.

And oldusty has every right to safeguard his own reputation. He can’t erect an historical signpost to inform everyone of what happened on this spot!

AitchKay

(post #120018, reply #27 of 58)

  As far as  the part about  a sign telling who did what , I like that !


                           regards       dusty

(post #120018, reply #6 of 58)

I would talk directly to the Granite shop owner, if its as bad as you indicate, he should take it out and redo his companys work. If he does not, bad mouth him at EVERY opportunity, as you may save someone else this nite-mare. It sounds as if this may be his standard.

(post #120018, reply #8 of 58)

I agree. I would tell the owner that the clients asked your opinion of his shop and you said they always did good work, but after this you can't say that anymore and he'd be wise to go take a look at the job.

(post #120018, reply #13 of 58)

Eldan ,


         Very wise words indeed , that may be my best tack at this point.


         thanks             dusty

(post #120018, reply #9 of 58)

How well do you know the granite guy - or do you? Is he a "local"?

His work can easily reflect on you, even though you had nothing to do with the granite. The customers friends and aquaintences probably won't say anything, but they will have opinions about the overall job - and those opinions won't be in terms of the cabinet guy, the granite guy, the painter, etc, etc.

I think that I would definitely have a quiet and private chat with him and keep it as non-confrontational as possible. Express your concerns as questions (i.e. "I was surprised by these things and would like to avoid them if we ever work on the same job in the future."), and see what he has to say. There may be good reasons - or the guy may be a hack.