Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks and Ignorance and Stupidity

07.27.09

Most readers of this Blog will have heard of the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.

Well, interestingly, one of the reasons we entered this business many years ago is that, aside from our joy from and pleasure with dealing with clocks customers and the public at large, we also found satisfying our relationships with people in the profession worldwide to be trustworthy, trouble-free and enjoyable. We work around the globe, and a very significant percentage of our business is outside of North America.

Of the many times we deal with grandfather clocks service centers around the globe, we have by and large been pleased with the quality and integrity in our dealings, and the fact that the starting point, whether it was with wall clocks, mantel clocks, or a grandfather clock, was one of trust and mutual respect.

We have found this to be as true for people who are customers as for those who service the various grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clock models.

Well, everyone we suppose has their weaknesses, not to mention their brighter and dimmer moments. And the current deep recessionary climate has obviously taken its toll across almost all sectors and many millions of individuals. Economic pressure affects different people to different degrees, not even to mention that different industries and companies and individuals are all affected to varying and various degrees.

Now for the $64,000 question, or the BIG question, for those who may be too young to recognize the name of that long-ago television game show whose title became part of the American lexicon. Does this poor economic climate make people meaner? More short-tempered? More cautious? Less thoughtful?

Interestingly, among our customer base, aside from seeing a dramatic increase in the number of those who want to know what their antique grandfather clocks, or weight driven wall clocks, or nested bell chiming mantel clocks are worth, customers are just as nice, and just as respectful. There is no doubt and no surprise grandfather clocks customers of all types are searching for the best deals available, and we would be shocked if that were not the case.

Now clock and watch repair people, of which we are also, seem to be another story. It has been noted by many and is more or less accepted as fact, that clock repair people, also known as clocksmiths, and watch repair people, also known as watchsmiths, are a dying breed — only in the sense they they (we) are dwindling in numbers and the demand for services is decreasing as well. While there has been some resurgence in the collecting of antique clocks, and eBay has helped fuel an increase in pocket watch collecting, the general trends are undeniable, particularly when including the younger generations. It will be quite interesting to see if the iPod and iPhone generation purchase the best watches by Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Vacheron, and Patek, not even to mention Casio or Timex, or whether their wrists will be sporting something else. Even this ignores the unrelenting rise of the quartz movement vs. the mechanical movement, which greatly effects the repairs that might or might not be necessary over the life of any given watch.

But have clocksmiths changed their ways, or are they still on pretty good behavior the way consumers purchasing or shopping for grandfather clocks, atomic clocks, mantel clocks and wall clocks seem to be? Well, we know we have not changed our ways. Most all of those we deal with day in and day out are as great in every way as usual. We notice some concern up-front about the timing of payment, but that is natural given the state of the current economy.

One rather shocking development has been, in our view, how people react to things they are not familiar with or and perhaps ignorant about, when addressing new ways of marketing grandfather clocks. We had proposed an absolute win-win situation for clocksmiths to raise their internet profile, knowing by and large that this group as a whole is not exactly on the leading edge in this arena. Our sense is the economic climate has given many of them more time on their hands to be fretful about things they know little about. We will not comment here on the amazingly irresponsible vitriol from those who perhaps knew least what they were talking about. One can only hope they know more when it comes to grandfather clocks and mantel clocks. Wall clocks and atomic clocks too.

We took some time comfort and read with amusement something that may well apply to the small minority of the most outspoken ignorant individuals regarding grandfather clocks marketing. Read on.

THIS IS PROVIDED WITH HUMILITY and a note of levity, and we feel only might apply to people whose ignorance, whether about grandfather clocks, or wall clocks, or marketing or the internet, lead them to say things and do things that are truly reprehensible by any standard measure of clocks decency.

About “stupid” people. No offense. While they constitute the last category of humanity deemed fair game for name-calling — nitwit, halfwit, dumbass, doofus, dullard, imbecile, simpleton, moron, cretin, boob, dope, nincompoop, dolt, etc. – their stupidity isn’t a moral failing or weakness of character. Their handicap is just an accident of birth. This is excerpted from an article in today’s Advertising Age on another subject entirely.

We love most all of our grandfather clocks colleagues. Every profession has its dregs. Clocks rule!

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