One of the best compliments I ever received was from a client who purchased something prior to my ownership of the company. A situation happened with that client several years later, after I bought the company which required me to examine the importance of one’s reputation. She taught me a lesson on humility and said I was doing the right thing. Recently, a dealer who I know and respect called me about an issue we both shared and one that requires me, to do the right thing.
Several blogs ago I wrote about my thoughts on the vetting process and my doubts about it as an effective tool to give consumers a feeling of authenticity. While I may think that I know a thing or two about what I look at, what I don’t know would certainly fill the New York City public library. A case in point was in the last International Antiques Show in New York, I wrote about a set of 8 Art Deco sconces. I mentioned this set because I thought that perhaps they were not “right”, as they appeared to me to be possibly altered in some manner. They were in the booth of the dealer who called me this week.
We had a good conversation about the issues both of us and several other dealers had experienced with a similar client and our frustration at how we were all being abused, and treated with disrespect not only as professionals but as businessmen acting in good faith. The other reason he call was concerning my blog post and he recognized my comments on the set of his sconces. When I saw the sconces in his booth, this dealer was not there but if he was, I would have certainly asked him about the set. His call was also to clarify my blog comments on his set.
The dealer explained to me the history of where he found the sconces and the condition that he acquired them. That there were actually 8 additional sconces and that they were in desperate need for restoration when he purchased them in Europe now sounded more plausible. They were apparently from a hotel too, which would explain the quantity. And while the dealer didn’t claim they were by any particular know designer of the period he made an honest attempt to explain the facts about his experience with the sconces. What I had written requires me to acknowledge that perhaps I was incorrect in my assumption that there was an issue on the merit of those sconces.
After my conversation with this dealer, I thought about a way I could make amends for my blog comments. I felt compelled to clarify what I had written, and I hope that making a public statement of apology in this blog format would suffice. Doing the right thing in business and in life sometime requires putting your tail between your legs. It can also be a necessary yet cathartic obligation.