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Sharking, and the I'll Take It

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by Fiddleback, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Guys, I have a couple of isues to discuss here about Fiddleback Friday's and Rule of the Sharks.

    1. I have a lot of knives in stock that have been sharked at the Fiddleback Friday posts. In order to determine who needs to pay I have to go back and play Mouse Detective. This takes a lot of time. I literally have 10 un-paid-for knives sitting here with no idea who to contact. When can I re-list them? It is a very complicated situation. If I sell it, then next week the first buyer decides to pay, I'm in a pinch and have risked loosing a customer. Please pay promptly for your knives.

    2. If you post "I'll take Knife A" then it is yours. This is the only way I hold a knife for you that has been listed on Fiddleback Fridays.

    -Sometimes a person might post "I'll take Knife A or Knife B e-mail inbound". This person has not reserved either knife, and either may be sharked away from them. In addition, what you have likely done is discourage anyone else from buying either knife out of courtesy. Generally both knives sit in stock and have to be moved to a dealer. Please don't do this.

    -If you post "I'll take Knife A if..." then you have added a condition, and the knife is not held for you and not reserved for you and is still for sale. Again, very likely it will just sit and not sell because of the courtesy of the other customers. Please refrain from conditionals, as they really hurt my sales.

    If you have a condition, call me. The phone is the best way to handle these situations.

    Thanks for your help here.
  2. russamurai


    Feb 24, 2009
    Andy, I hear you, and as one of your past customers I'd like to make a suggestion. A couple times I've wanted to buy a knife and have to look through 4 pages of posts to see if a knife has sold. Its pretty chaotic. Maybe you should show pics and link to your store. It would alleviate many of your and your customers problems. Just an idear.:)
  3. pizza713man


    Sep 28, 2008

    Frustration on both sides.

    You are definitely being put in a bind by non-payers and waffling, “maybe”, purchasers. I see your concern. Not good for you or your business.

    From a customer's point of view, I am with russamurai. It is frustrating wading through pages of posts to try to determine if a knife is sold (or maybe it is just a waffling buyer).

    When I am perusing the Exchange, the normal protocol is for the seller to mark the item “sold” or “sold pending funds” so customers know the status of the item at that time. Your Friday offerings lack this bit of information and this leads to customer frustration.

    I hope that a solution can be generated that helps both your business and your loyal customers.

    Cheers, TR (Tiger Shark)
  4. w.t. anderson

    w.t. anderson Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    I'm surprised there are those here that haven't honored their word - "I'll take it" means "I'll take it and pay for for it promptly".

    Perhaps you should set a payment deadline - five days, a week, 10 days, whatever, after which it's understood by everyone that the knife goes back up for sale unless some other personal agreement has been made between you and the buyer. Just an idea. . .

    Now, any chance we could see those 10 unpaid-for knives up for grabs soon?
  5. ColtMan


    Aug 5, 2009
    I've been wanting to purchase another knife from you but your postings are very difficult to sort through. I would suggest listing each knife separately as opposed to a group listing like I sometimes see and then following up with comments by each posting - example "SPF", "SOLD" and even "SHIPPED" as this may free up time for you and make buying easier on your customers who do honor their word.

    It's your business so no harm in making conditions to a sale such as payment time and terms. The people who aren't paying should not be allowed to purchase again until the live up to their word. Just one mans opinion.
  6. pveiled


    Apr 26, 2012
    I guess I don't have much to add to this other than what I've learned from my own experience. In the last couple of weeks I have made a couple of those "I'll take this IF..." statements, and I am sorry if this is outside of the protocol or if this has caused anyone grief.

    In my case I am shopping for someone else at the moment and there are conditions that need to be met to make the knife acceptable. A lot of times the information that's listed on the Friday batches doesn't give all of the specs or all relevant information etc. so, because the knives are snapped up SO quick sometimes, when you see something you want it's hard to know what else to do other than say “I’ll take it IF...” For instance I've seen knives go up lately that have a colored liner that's not really visible in the picture and that's not described in the description. Stuff like this matters to me...and I'm sure many others here as well. Maybe a little more description or more thorough pictures in the original post would be helpful?

    That being said, this is your rodeo and you run it as you please, of course. I guess maybe the whole Friday batch format isn’t for the picky, and that’s okay. Normally I have no substantial complaints. It is only during this time when I’ve been looking for something really specific that I find the first come first serve Friday’s format difficult. You wait week by week for the “perfect” knife to show up that when one looks like it fits the bill it’s hard to skip over it without calling dibs, even if there’s questions to be asked. Again, I think maybe the format just isn’t meant for picky people like myself.

    I don’t find the format confusing or anything; it doesn’t take long to skip ahead and read the messages to find out who’s called dibs on what. More so the problem for me is that sometimes it takes a few hours for you (Fiddleback) to respond to questions and in that time the knife you’ve got your eye on may well be scooped.

    As far as people calling dibs and then not paying, that’s not cool. I agree with the post that suggested you have a “pay by” deadline, after which the knife is automatically back up for sale unless you have made other arrangements with the buyer. I would also say it’s fair to “ban” that individual from bidding again unless they have a good reason for their default of payment or whatever. Unfortunately I don’t think I have anything else all that constructive to add to this at the moment.

    I really hope you get things cleared up and find a fair and equitable way to do things Andy. I know that most people here would be happy to accomodate whatever selling method you’d like to operate under, so hopefully something that works for everyone will arise.


    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  7. Shamr0ck


    Mar 30, 2012
    Andy -

    not much to add given the thoughtful comments already in the thread. Personally, I'd expect condition free commitments be kept by those who want a knife and if they can't then they shouldn't be allowed to come play.

    If you would consider some modest changes to your Friday posts, maybe the following could help:

    1) include your paypal coordinates in every post. I know I had to go search them out when I got my first Friday knife

    2) list a payment is due by date in each Friday post. Personally, if you are at a computer to see the knife, then I believe that paypaling the funds should be able to be done at the same time (or by Sunday at the latest)

    3) I'm still learning your product line and materials used, so there have been times I've seen a knife, but can't match it easily to the description provided (this could be all my problem, not yours) but if you'd consider listing the knives from Left to Right (or top to bottom) every time that may help. If each knife starts on a different line, then a SOLD or SPF addition can be made to that post at the end of the line holding the knife's description

    4) If you could standardize the information provided for each knife (model, scale, liner(s), steel w/ thickness, grind, pin details, sheath availability, sheath maker and cost w/o sheath/cost with Sheath) that may help folks make a decision without emailing a contingency

    e.g. Karda Bushcraft, Black Canvas w/ Blue PinStrip, Spalted O1, convex grind, black pins, Heber/RLo Sheath available, Just Knife $250, w/ Heber $280, w/ RLo $280 Sold to Shamr0ck

    5) calling out a variation in a standard knife (swedge, thinner steel, etc)

    In the end, I get the sense that you want to make knives and not play IT guy or WebMaster/eCommerce store manager - I like a single thread, I like not getting URLd to another site to purchase there and honestly, I like the group excitement and comments in the thread. I hope the Friday posts continue and that the suggestions are constructive. Here's to looking forward to tomorrow :)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  8. pveiled


    Apr 26, 2012

    In my admittedly limited and personal opinion, I think making this one change would be enough to avoid all the whole "I'll take it IF..." debacle. If all of the pertinent information is listed in the original description in a standardized format, with mention of any special features, materials etc., then I don't see any reason why anyone would ever need to ask a question before making the "I'll take it" post. If you made the original descriptions more standardized and descriptive then there's nothing anyone would need to contact you about before making a decision, IMO. Pair that with a policy that says you must pay by such and such a date and I'd say that solves most of the issues. IDK, that's just an opinion, but it seems to make sense to me.

    Edited to Add: I re-read my messages in this thread and I just wanted to comment to say sorry if they sound overly pessemistic: I have only been talking about what needs improving and not what's done right. I love the idea of Fiddelback Fridays, I love the excitement of waiting for the batch, I love checking out the pictures as they get loaded and then I really enjoy the back and forth discussions in the thread. That part is a lot of fun to me and first come first serve is completely fair as long as all the information regarding the knife in question is provided up front. I think it is only the information that is lacking. Andy, I have a solid familiarity with all sorts of document drafting and processing and think that, if it were me, I would come up with a spreadsheet that has a spot for each bit of relevant information. That way on Friday you just fill in the blanks for whatever may be relevant and copy/paste that information onto your thread. For the most part I think you would end up leaving most of it "as is" and only changing something when necessary. For instance, if you had a spot that said "Steel Type", that would always default to Spalted O1 unless you change it manually, etc. If this is something that interests you but you aren't that saavy with Excel or whatever it may be, I would be more than happy to offer to help by making something up for you, provided that you can list all the important categories that would need to be covered.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  9. in the flesh

    in the flesh

    Jul 11, 2010
    Andy, from the customer point of view it would be very helpful if the original post is edited to say it is sold. Aunt Yangdu in the HI forum normally does this and it is very helpful. I don't get my hopes up when I see the picture of a knife because I can immediately see it was already sold.

    I can definitely see where the conditional I'll take its can mess up sales. I know I personally didn't grab a knife because of one. It did sell a couple of days later, but I was surprised it was still available at the time. Again, having the posts marked sold would help alleviate this.

    I think not getting a payment by the next Friday should open it up for sale on that next fiddleback Friday.
  10. RyanS


    Nov 20, 2009
    Aside from stating that the knife was sold in the original post, another suggestion would be to limit commenting in the thread to "I'll take X knife." I know that I've guilty of interjecting superfluous comments about a particular knife in the batch that strikes my fancy, but as a previous poster said, when it comes to trying to figure out if a particular knife was sold, it makes it very difficult to read through the thread to seperate the wheat from the chaff and determine if a knife is still available. Heck, I've gone back to some of the past Friday sales and still can't figure out what's been sold or not. Any additional comments, such as "payment sent", etc., could just be edited into the original post.

    It's your rodeo and I think that you can set the terms as to how the threads are to be handled. I don't think that deleting extraneous posts would be out of the question in order to clean-up or stream-line the process.
  11. pveiled


    Apr 26, 2012

    As much as I would hate to loose all of the appreciative comments on the batches and all the one off remarks that make the whole process seem so friendly...and I'm very guilty of "off topic" comments myself...I do agree with what RyanS has to say. It is customary that in a sales related thread the comments are supposed to be very focused and limited with the ultimate goal of keeping things clear for interested buyers. For instance questions about the knives in a batch do belong in the sales thread, and of course so do the "I'll take it" and "Payment sent" comments (I agree with the sentiment about merging/editing posts to make things more contained: this should be done more often in general, IMO), but pretty much anything else is technically "off topic", if the main purpose of the thread is a sale and you are therefore interested in keeping things clear and concise. I guess it's a little different here and when I first signed up to Blade Forums one of the things that attracted me so much about Fiddleback was the friendly banter that grows up around Andy's work, but if it is making the actual sales and processing end of things harder then it is ultimately defeating the purpose of those "Fiddleback Friday" threads.
  12. Blaid

    Blaid Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 28, 2008
    I love Fiddleback Friday!
  13. chainring

    chainring KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 20, 2008
    So......if that recent Curley Cue Hunter hasn't been paid for yet, then I volunteer! ;)
  14. swonut

    swonut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2007
    Andy, All great ideas thus far. I especially like the listing of each knife separately with a SOLD after it. To make it easier for you, maybe a text list of the whole batch at the very beginning and then the usual multi picture format. However, my recommendation is NOT to change "Fiddleback Friday." Fart with the listing format, the notes, and all that, but it's quite the highlight of many of our weeks to anticipate and then shark. I know after a year abroad, getting home and seeing the boxes in a stack near the door it was apparent just how much you and the "Fiddleback Friday" were a part of my coping strategy. Thanks for that. BTW, the runts have been noticeably absent here of late-- just saying...
  15. TooQuiet


    May 5, 2011
    As someone who has been lucky enough to see why there is a problem, here is my only suggestion. Put a payment deadline up of one day prior to shipping day. For example, if shipping day is Tuesday your knife(including full shipping address) must be received by the close of business(or whatever time determined by seller) on Monday. If not, then the knife can be relisted on that Friday's Batch. Just my $.02.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  16. Kal-El

    Kal-El Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 30, 2010
    Makes perfect sense. Simply pay for your knife in a timely manner, or call Andy if you have a question. I agree that Andy probably doesn't want or have the time to make very long, detailed posts when setting up the Friday threads.
    The only thing I could suggest from reading what others have written is make one the pics for each knife a spine shot of the handle so it's easy to see the liner colors, etc. Heck, from that perspective you could easily figure out the blade's thickness as well. (Less typing for Andy)
    I'm happy with the current format and have purchased several knives with no problem.
    Good luck with your purchases tomorrow, maybe I can sneak another one past my wife ;-)

  17. pveiled


    Apr 26, 2012
    This is a very valid point. The handle thickness, blade thickness and handle configuration (including liners) would be pretty obvious with spine shots. The blade thickness might be hard to gauge without a comparison shot but a spine shot would be helpful for sure. Again, if it's obvious what the details of the knife are there's really no need for delaying or for questions. Sorry to keep hammering on this point but I know that, for myself at least, the only reason I clutter up the Fiddleback Friday posts with questions is because not every bit of detail is obvious from the current descriptions/pictures and before I spend 200-300 dollars on a knife I feel like I need to know the details. I'm sure the craftsmanship will be above par and always extremely solid, but yeah...things like the details of the handle configuration do matter quite a bit to me personally. I hope this makes sense and sorry if I sound like a broken record... On a much brighter note I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, as usual. Can't wait to see the goodness that is this weeks batch. Peace all.

  18. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    There are a lot of good suggestions in here, and making the thread clearer is definitely a good one. I can't take 3 pics of each knife though. The thread would go on forever, and be hard to understand for y'all and hard to manage for myself. The shorter the sale post (10 pic/post max at BF) the easier it is for y'all to see and me to manage. I take low angle pics so you can get a feel for the handle shape and layer config. My light box, or camera, or photo skills need to improve so you can actually see those details.

    But, easy improvements to my thread will be numbered knives with one knife described per line, rather than burrying it in a paragraph. They will be seperated by model as usual, and I will move right to left in my descriptions at all times.

    I will be once again out of town this weekend at the Trackrock Hammerin, so marking them sold will be hit and miss. BUT, it is a great idea, and I will try to get into that habbit. I should have thought to go and take some notes from Yangdu. Thanks for that one.
  19. grafton


    Aug 28, 2010
    I like it just fine the way it is, the format appears to slow some folks down, causing confusion and hesitation and that is exactly what I am wanting for my competetion on Fiddleback Friday. ;)
  20. schmittie

    schmittie Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    Hang on, all I have to do to get a knife is say 'I'll take it' and THAT'S IT?? I don't even have to pay for it?! Is this how Mark and Erich get all their knives???!!!!

    I had no idea it was that simple.

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