Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Mike, I don’t quite know why you felt it your duty to write all that, but I guess you feel it your civic responsibility. Fine. Maybe there is some animosity towards me, fine. I really don’t know.
What I do know is that if someone google’s my name, they are apt to come across what you wrote. What you wrote can directly affect my ability to earn my measly income.
I’m not saying what you wrote is wrong, in fact from your point of view it is correct and so I place no wrong doing on your part.
You think you know the whole story, but in fact you really know only a part of it, much like rod making.
Before I go any further with this, I want to state clearly and distinctly, that I place the blame for all this squarely on my shoulders. No one else’s.
I was approached by the then owner of SS to provide the “grand prize” to a winning contestant of a writing contest. I considered that an honor. I accepted.
At the time I accepted, there were 20 names ahead of SS’s winner.
Shortly thereafter, SS changed hands.
The new owner, “N”, wrote me and told me he held me to no further obligation as the deal was with the previous owner, and no entries had been offered up as of that time. He was quite gentlemanly about it. I don’t have the letter handy but essentially I told him “a deal was a deal.” I would honor the original agreement.
The original agreement was made quite clear to me. The owner of SS would take no responsibility for making, producing or otherwise providing the prize for the winning contestant. The deal would be between me and him.
So, with 20 (+ at this point) customers I write the winner ( or maybe he wrote me) and let him know the lead time on delivery. He (the winner) seems agreeable. If he wasn’t agreeable there wouldn’t have been much I could do about it other than bump 20 good folks that were ahead of him and I wasn’t about to do that.
So what I have before me is what I consider a golden opportunity!
The chance to make any rod I wanted to my own specs. It doesn’t often happen.
I decided what rod I wanted to make this fellow and down the list was another guy who wanted the same rod.
When I came to that guys name I planed out an extra rod while the forms were set.
Now all things aside…planing out a rod doesn’t take an hour. The culm has to be chosen, cut, flamed (in this case), nodes staggered, strips cut to length, nodes pressed and straightened, nodes scraped and sanded and enamel removed and sanded. THEN I plane the rod out. Then one glues it up, sands it, buys the ferrules and sets them, buys the cork and glues the rings on and then shapes them into some sort of grip.
I had a considerable amount of time and out of pocket cash tied up in the winners rod.
There are still many rods ahead of this good fellow.
When I ran into a lull, I began wrapping the blank. Things picked up again and I went back to work on rods that were ahead of him. The blank half wrapped sat on the bench.
Time marches on as it always does. The blank sat there for a good amount of time.
In the meantime, the winner starts writing other people about not getting his rod. I feel like shit about it.
Then, things get worse. Things go sour at home and I start looking for a new shop and home. That took over a year. Nothing much at all gets done in the shop that year and certainly not on this rod. Nuttin’ got done. Survival kicks in and you just do what you have to, to survive. I hope that none of you who reads this ever has to go through this.
I want whoever reads this to understand…I wasn’t putting off my deal to the winner, I just needed to make sure I would be OK tomorrow. I still am.
Now in all fairness…you, Mike had offered (more than once) to finish out the rod for this good fellow. I flatly refused time and again. NO rod that was coming from me, out of this shop, was going to be finished out by another.
I signed the lease for the new shop in sept 2008. A freaking day later, the insurance companies crashed, banks began falling by the wayside and huge companies laid off or fired millions of workers.
Folks that still had their job and folks who were deathly afraid they were next on the chopping block, thought their job would be next.
Everytime I contacted the next guy on the list they simply cancelled their order.
I lost 5 years of names on my board. I never took a deposit on an order until I actually started the rod. No one coughed up any dough when I needed it. ALL those orders just disappeared and dried up. I lost five years of work practically overnight.
I was hanging on by a thread, a thin damn thread!
Mikey, you know this! You came and fed me more than once!
I was living day by day, hand to mouth and really still am.
Someone pays my rent for a month or keeps my lights on for a month, guess whose rod I’m working on!
So now I have the time to finish the winners rod, but I simply do not have cash in hand to buy the remaining components. Pure and simple.
SS changes hands yet again.
Apparently the winner cries and complains to the new yet old owner.
The owner writes me and tells me that the winner wants him to pick up the blank from me and send it to him. The owner shows up one Saturday (quite some time ago) and picks up the blank and I bid it farewell. I stripped off the wraps I had put on it ( they were dirty and loose after sitting for that length of time) and taped the guides I could find onto a piece of tape. They aren’t the guides I was going to put on. They aren’t snake brand but...at this point I don’t care. I’m no longer giving away 50 bucks worth of premium guides but I think I did throw in a 30 dollar agate. Maybe I didn't. So what…
So anyways…I’m sorry if the winner feels I was putting him off.
I wasn’t, but I’m sure it seemed that way to him. I hope he never suddenly becomes poor overnight. I hope he never gets evicted from his home and place of work, twice, and I hope that he is able to finish out the rod to some sort of fishable condition and hooks a nice one on it.
In the meantime…I’m working brothers!
I’ll work even if I live under one of the two bridges in AZ.
I learned to do things without power and if I have to I can make a freaking rod with zero electricity! I think…
Love to you one and all,
Mike Shay, Bonnie the dog, Callie the cat