Dimitri Musafia

Professionals: are some of your musician clients going crazy too?

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For certain the Covid-19 pandemic has hit hard, and few places harder than in Cremona, Italy, where I live. 1 in 73 people came down with it, and we were forced to close for 2 months. You would expect clients to be understanding and sympathetic, and the vast majority are.

That said, we were called “clowns” for respecting the lockdown and not making shipments; and blamed for logistics delays when we said in advance to expect them. One client slipped on an icy sidewalk, falling on his 15-year-old case and requiring medical assistance, and over four months later (!) blamed us for the damage to his violin demanding money; another, a year after receiving her case, took out a ruler and measured asymmetries under 1mm and sent us a slew of photos citing terrible workmanship. All this week alone.

I can understand that many musicians are in financial difficulty right now, but in my 37 years in this field I’ve never seen such weirdness. Anyone else have similar experiences?

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1 hour ago, Dimitri Musafia said:

For certain the Covid-19 pandemic has hit hard, and few places harder than in Cremona, Italy, where I live. 1 in 73 people came down with it, and we were forced to close for 2 months. You would expect clients to be understanding and sympathetic, and the vast majority are.

That said, we were called “clowns” for respecting the lockdown and not making shipments; and blamed for logistics delays when we said in advance to expect them. One client slipped on an icy sidewalk, falling on his 15-year-old case and requiring medical assistance, and over four months later (!) blamed us for the damage to his violin demanding money; another, a year after receiving her case, took out a ruler and measured asymmetries under 1mm and sent us a slew of photos citing terrible workmanship. All this week alone.

I can understand that many musicians are in financial difficulty right now, but in my 37 years in this field I’ve never seen such weirdness. Anyone else have similar experiences?

Sorry to hear Dimitri... Luckily my clients have all been rather rational and understanding. The worst it seems to get is that I have to remind a client that my shop isn't open yet.

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Cant say anything specific about the music industry but it seems that lots of people are on edge, especially in the last week or so.

I can imagine if a player is stuck at home all day and then a seam pops open on his fiddle,  and then gets an email that fall orchestra season might be cancelled, some frustration might start appearing.

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You have my sympathies!  I imagine everyone is going a little stir-crazy and are not used to having the extra "idle" time on their hands - so their minds focus on "points of interest" to them;  maybe driven by presumed insults,  slights, or a sense of injustice.

However, I had to giggle...

2 hours ago, Dimitri Musafia said:

... another, a year after receiving her case, took out a ruler and measured asymmetries under 1mm and sent us a slew of photos citing terrible workmanship. ...

 

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I agree with David.... 

And I am very concerned about the "new normal"...   The will be no "new normal" for those who have never been normal, and I've been trying this for 57 years now...


 

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That does sound crazy. I don't think the majority of musicians are like that, though I have been wrong about that before... Where I am, musicians are generally grateful for things, and just scared about the future. Anyone without an actual contract, which is all freelancers, is either thinking about a career change, or will be soon.

I've been thinking about your cases Mr. Musafia, I'm about to need a new one. :) Hope you and the others in your business can get back to normalish soon. I keep wondering if there will be a second round of all this, and how bad it will get. Italy sure got it pretty badly the first time around. Crazy times.

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In all walks of life, stress is causing people to dig into their personal trenches: the habits and mental formulas they use to protect their tenderest mental spots.  So there's a real increase in weirdness, but there is also some degree of increased tendency to notice other people's weirdness.

What I find most interesting about that is that where some stressors can leave room for people to introspect and realize their patterns (maybe because the stressor is normal and narrow, i.e. a death in the family), this one seems on the surface anyway to make that less likely (perhaps because it is abnormal and vast in scope).

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15 minutes ago, Andres Sender said:

In all walks of life, stress is causing people to dig into their personal trenches: the habits and mental formulas they use to protect their tenderest mental spots.  So there's a real increase in weirdness, but there is also some degree of increased tendency to notice other people's weirdness.

I remain convinced that everyone is weird, but me. ;)

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2 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I remain convinced that everyone is weird, but me. ;)

Another stable genius among us!

;)

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Well, what is normal? I tell myself I'm the only sane one I know....But I know it can't be true.

Perhaps those with a Disorder or Mental Health issue, given the stress and Idle time due to the circumstances find themselves focused on things they would normally be too occupied to be concerned about. 

The situations with your case clients you describe, would make one wonder if there where pre existing conditions exacerbated by things being as they are. Honestly, every where I look I see really bizarre and "not normal" behavior. May very well be with us for a while I am afraid.

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2 hours ago, cjankowski said:

Well, what is normal? I tell myself I'm the only sane one I know....But I know it can't be true.

 

Ya never know. Sometimes, the freaks of nature end up surviving and (re)producing the best. Hence, the Darwinist theory of evolution which can readily explain why some birds can't fly, but are pretty good swimmers. ;)

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6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

If our musician clients are "going crazy", doesn't that presume that they were once sane? :D

Valid point.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I remain convinced that everyone is weird, but me. ;)

I have the opposite experience: I am convinced that everyone is normal but me. ;)

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2 hours ago, Fossil Ledges said:

Valid point.

I was partly kidding, and partly not. The four best in my area have occasionally asked their most problematic clients to go elsewhere, including semi-famous clients.

On the flip side, there are a few all over the world who have claimed the title of being luthiers or violinmakers , whose main skill-set is kissing up and BSing

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Was the person with the ruler looking for a refund? Sometimes people fall into financial difficulties and start flailing about looking for any possible source of funds. Certainly not fair, but it happens.

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4 hours ago, MarkBouquet said:

Was the person with the ruler looking for a refund? Sometimes people fall into financial difficulties and start flailing about looking for any possible source of funds. Certainly not fair, but it happens.

Well yes, the person is asking for a trade-in with discount, but she's a student (not a professional) and most importantly she bought the case from one of our retailers, not from us. Why take up the issue with us, a year after the purchase?

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

The four best in my area have occasionally asked their most problematic clients to go elsewhere, including semi-famous clients.

You've made it in life when you can afford to do that! :D

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6 hours ago, Dimitri Musafia said:

Why take up the issue with us, a year after the purchase?

Because you offer a lifetime limited warranty?

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2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Because you offer a lifetime limited warranty?

That would make sense, GeorgeH, if the case were in any way defective. Here's one of the pics, if you can find the defect the client claimed I'll buy you a hamburger. (remember, the case was used a year)

IMG_0810.jpg

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To put things into perspective, here is one of my cars. When new it cost as much as a Jag XJ6. Take a look at the spacing between the roof and the rear window. left and right. Yes, they got away with stuff like that.

Gamma.jpg

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