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Robing Hood Syndrome.....
#3002624 07/14/20 06:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 300
Duaner Offline OP
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I would like to know your feelings (especially you veteran tech's since you have seen so much over the years) about going into a home to maintain and then tune a piano and not charging for everything you do to improve the piano simply because of the circumstances you see in the family and surroundings. I ran into this probably three times last week and once today.

I mean most people are having a hard time economically coping with this pandemic and it makes me "not charge" for everything I normally would. I mean I'm no good-samaritan, really, and I do have rates and charges for everything I need to do to make the piano better just like you all. BUT, when I see little kids in the house and the general outlook seems bleak for them to me I cave-in and the invoice will show a few extra N/C s across from the repair. Generally, when I see this, I will charge only for the parts at cost to me and no labour.

I seem to experience this a lot and it feels like I'm dipping into somebody's last dollar or something. I mean, yes, there are those who have no problem financially and it shows by their surroundings and so I don't hesitate there but the "little guy" gets to me. That's the "Robin Hood Syndrome" part. I think I'm gone (or going) weak-minded or something but it is a weird feeling when you see, for example, three little kids (this happened last week for instance) and no grown ups working and the piano they've called you to tune needs more repairs than tuning for one thing a mouse got in it and chewed a lot and crapped everywhere....this needed to be cleaned up by taking all the keys out to clean...a lot of extra work....and other things that they did not anticipate.

This obviously has affected me and so If I've been clear at all give me some ideas of what you have done (or do) to combat this and perhaps have found a balance between what you see in the house etc and what you should charge or would charge if you didn't have this weird mind-set to deal with. Some of you must feel this way too and so I'm asking what are your thoughts along these lines?


Duane Graves


"Pushin 70...still haven fun I think..."
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Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3002847 07/15/20 07:09 AM
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Duane-
Generosity is an individual heart-led matter.
Do what feels good to you and be happy you have the freedom to do what you want.


Ed Sutton, RPT
Just a piano tuner!
Durham NC USA
Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3002904 07/15/20 08:53 AM
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Duane,

I try not to make judgements based on what I "see" as this can often be inaccurate. If they hired me to do a job then at least a basic understanding of the costs involved are already decided upon. If things turn out to be more involved than expected I will stop and discuss the situation, make an ESTIMATE of what I think will be involved and ask if they would like me to proceed. If they agree, I assume that they have calculated whether they have the funds to do it or not. If things ultimately go beyond my estimate time wise I have been known to "swallow" some of it, sometimes.

I do have a few clients that just like to nickel and dime me, or extract every last penny if my time. If I'm in the mood...fine...if not, I take a firm stand for my time and talent (depends somewhat on how much coffee I've had at that point...and how good the coffee was...more coffee makes me less negotiable as a rule...VERY good coffee though, makes things better, generally).

I know very wealthy people who are merciless penny pinchers who will gasp at my bill no matter what it is, and I know people of very limited means who are quite generous, and then many in between. In the end you need to decide for yourself and not short change yourself based on what you THINK the situation is. Be up front and honest, and nobody can argue with that.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3002923 07/15/20 09:33 AM
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Trust your gut.

Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003001 07/15/20 12:30 PM
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I don't think performing small acts of kindness and running a profitable business are incompatible activities. I typically do a little extra work as part of any tuning. Think fixing the sticky key, lubing the tight pin, adjusting lost motion. How much I do before I start charging an hourly rate is up to my discretion. So that's kind of a built-in system where I can spend an extra 20 minutes making a significant improvement on the spinet piano being used by an elderly widow or family of six living in the two bedroom house. Kindness and empathy are important for us humans, and while we still need to be fair to ourselves and earn a decent living, I don't think we should beat ourselves up for the occasional bit of free work.


Anthony Willey, RPT
PianoMeter
Willey Piano Tuning
Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003052 07/15/20 03:04 PM
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I think you have the right approach Duaner. I do not support lawfully forced ‘charitable‘ giving via taxes, but I am totally for directly helping others we may think are in need, even when it means personal sacrifice. I do those kinds of things all of the time—charging less, doing extra work, etc. Sometimes I’m taken advantage of but that’s just how it goes. Am I rich? No smile But a cheerful giver is the best kind.

Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003065 07/15/20 03:37 PM
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Duaner,let me say "thank you" for what you're doing,I think it's great.There have been times when I didn't call a tuner because the money was needed elsewhere...when there are young kids in the house there's always some unexpected expense.

Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003099 07/15/20 04:54 PM
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I agree with the comments here. Time given for free to take up lost motion on an older upright, or fix a creaky pedal, or apply Protek CLP to some squeaky jack centres, is appreciated, makes a noticable difference to the piano, and is just a nice professional gesture.

Much better to do some things for free, I think, than to talk about offereing discounts. The psychology of that is all wrong.

Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003119 07/15/20 05:58 PM
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Duaner, you're a gentleman. There's nothing wrong with that.

Re: Robing Hood Syndrome.....
Duaner #3003253 07/16/20 06:38 AM
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I'm not a technician, but here's my perspective on situations like this. What matters for me is the attitude of my heart. It's my attitude about the situation and what's motivating me at the time. I firmly believe that if I perform an act of kindness out of concern and generosity, God will bless me in return at some point in the future. It doesn't matter so much about what's really going on on the receiver's end where I'm concerned. However, if I do an act of kindness begrudgingly with any kind of obligation, resentment, or criticism in my heart, my good deed will not really benefit me at all.

Just my .02! wink


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