Honey Land Farms
I ordered 4 carniolan queens from Garry at Honeyland Farms with instructions to call me on the day he shipped from Florida so that I could make arrangements to stay home from work the following day to receive them. Garry didn't call and when I got home from work Wednesday I found a UPS envelope with four queens. Two were dead. I called Honey Land Farms to inform them of my problem and got their answering machine. No return call. Thursday afternoon I called Garry to inform him of the dead queens. He said that he didn't have time to call his customers to inform them of ship dates. He offered to replace the 2 dead queens and have the replacements sent out on Monday for overnight delivery on Tuesday. I called Monday to make sure that he shipped the queens. Got his answering machine and left the message that I was expecting to receive the queens Tuesday. No return call. I missed work Tuesday waiting for the queens. When the UPS truck drove past my house without stopping on Tuesday I called Garry again only to be told that the queens didn't go out yet but would ship today (Tuesday) for delivery Wednesday or Thursday. As you can imagine, I won't be troubling Garry at Honey Land Farms, Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida, for anything else. :mad:
I think this time of the year I wouldnt blame the queen breeder. It is a very busy time of the year for queen rearing. Getting his answering machine proves this. If he is rearing lots of queens he probably dont have time to call everyone who orders. My guess would be you will run into the same problem with any queen breeder this time of the year. Would it be possible to have the queens delivered to work or to someone who you know will be home. Shipping queens is tough early. You cant hardly nail the shipping date down because of the weather.
Rat, although I agree with the busy part, I think a man should know his business well enough to tell the customer he can't call, at the time of the order, not after shipping and killing queens.
Poor communication and unkept promises have put many businesses under. They should have the common sense to tell the customer what they can't do, rather than promise them the moon and mess up their whole plan.
I agree with Iddee, if you are going to succeed in business you have to excel in all aspects of running a business or you are going to have problems. If they can't get the job done, then they need more help.
I have had all my shipments come to work, there is always someone there and we know the delivery personnel.
I have lost queens in shipping, a long ugly story, but I also run a business and understand that even though a seasonal business is harder to run, you have to have balance. Production is only a part of the queen rearing business, as hard as it is, probably the easiest part of it.
I don't care to deal with customers, but they are a necessary evil if you want to be in business.
Expectations are everything. The supplier needs to do what he promised, if he said that he would call then you then then he should have called, but the opposite is also true.
Queens came in todays mail (priority envelope) and look good. I believe the first shipment with two dead queens were banked too long. The cages were covered with propolis. Today the cages are clean. I've expressed my displeasure. I don't wish ill of anyone but would hope there are lessons learned.
>>>The cages were covered with propolis.<<
Propolis on the cage does not necessarily mean the queen was banked a long time. The cage may have been recycled, having been used several times.
With customer service like that, he won't have to worry about being busy in the future.
Originally Posted by iddee
The truth is you only ordered 4 queens he probably isnt going to take the time to make sure you are happy. You should try Miksa in Groveland he is more knowledgeable and will actually take time to talk to you. He also has a better product, just my opinion.
does not and SHOULD NOT matter if you order one queen or a 1000. You MUST treat customers equally. If not, you will be out of business.
I recently (March 18) ordered 8 queens from Garry. In our discussion he stated that the queens would ship on Monday March 24. I was thrilled to find early queens and Garry has always accomodated me in the past with similar requests.
The queens ended up being delayed in shipment for 2 days and were not shipped out until Wednesday. After having spoken with Garry in the past I believe this was due to the weather. He does not like to jeopardize the queens when shipping them north as in this case to North Carolina.
The queens arrived next day and all were quite healthy as was my experience in the past.
Now we will wait to see how well they lay out. I have had some concerns about the quality of the queens but never the delivery.
Oh yeah... I called him Wednesday, left a message and was called back same day to inform me about new ship date.
A commercial producer will be out of business if they focus too much attention on the one (or only a few at a time) queen buyers. They will spend their precious little time... with those who are paying their bills.
Originally Posted by Chef Isaac
I'm not saying that is the ideal situation... I'm just saying that is reality.
Chef... you are in the restaurant business.
I waited tables in college. Regardless of the ideal... you find as a server that you evaluate the potential of the customers. You look at the table with one person or the table with 6. Table with one is getting soup and salad.... Table six is ordering drinks, appetizers, high dollar items. As a server you are going to do your best to meet the needs of the table with one person. However, you are going to spend any extra time you have trying to exceed the expectations of the table with 6! Why? Because Table with six is your paycheck. If you fail to provide perfect service to Table with one... its not good but not the end of the world. If you fail with Table 6 it greatly impacts your income!
I know that's a simplistic way of looking at it... but the reality is that given only so much time and a choice between the two... one has to make a decision as to the best place to focus the attention.
This is why I prefer to deal with the smaller queen producers. They by necessity are looking to sell to the smaller consumer. They can't mass produce. You get better service and in my opinion better queens because they aren't doing that mass production line. (My opinion with my limited experience)
Minimum order policy
Perhaps the queen breeders who wish only large orders should have a minimum order policy.;)
Originally Posted by Dan Williamson
I see your point about where the money is when waiting tables, but I'm glad that you weren't waiting on my table. Quite often I scoped out restaurants by myself, and if I got good food and service, I would bring one of my employee gatherings or groups of clients out to the restaurant. I figured if I meant a lot to them as an individual, they would care for my continued patronage.
No offense but if you run a restaurant that way you will be out of business quick. You have forgotten SEVERAL key points.
First, a single person at a table ordering soup and salad. Soup is a utilization outlet for left overs from the previous night and therefor cheap as far as cost goes. Salad is as well. So in reality, the profit margin is more on that single person versus the 6.
But it goes deeper then that. Want a customer for life? Treat them well. A server knows to treat guests with the upmost attention. Why? Because the lively hood of a restaurant is at stake.
Check it out, the person who comes in and eats soup and salad is usually a person that comes more often to that restaurant, at least according to the National Restaurant Association. The table of 6 might or might not come back depending on outside cicumstances.
My point is is that with less and less commercial beekeepers and sideliners out there and more and more hobbyests, one would think that they need to treat the single orders as well as the orders for larger amounts.
What is it saying to someone who orders 1 or two queens? that they get shafted because they are not a big enough operation? Come on!!
In an ideal world what you say is so, Chef. In the real world, however, things don't always work out that way.
At any restaurant, in an ideal world, of course, EVERYONE gets perfect service. But in the real world, an unexpected large group (or three!) comes in and the "little guy" suffers through no fault of anyone but poor timing. Or, the little guy gets wonderful service and the large parties suffer. Human resources can only stretch so far. Yeah, hopefully there is a surplus of staff for cases like this but too much extra staff and the restaurant won't stay in business either so management must guess what their needs on a particular night are. Guess wrong and service WILL suffer, no matter the ideal. Extra staffing costs must be passed along, raising costs.
Anyone who runs a business knows the trade offs at work here.
A reasonable person can look around and tell the difference between temporarily overworked staff and poor service. I don't automatically blame a restaurant in cases like this, and certainly not the server who may be running between tables now, trying his/her best. This is assuming there is even enough cook staff to get the food out. I wouldn't trash someone's reputation by complaining on a public forum before I knew it was common practice and not just overwork due to seasonal demands, despite trying their best.
I will give you a personal example. I was recently on the phone with a very nice gentleman who is purchasing 2 colonies from us, to be picked up in a few weeks. We were having a nice chat when the truck delivering our bees pulled in the driveway from California. I had to get off the phone very abruptly. If he WASN'T such a nice gentleman he might get on a forum like this and give us a bad rap for not being attentive enough to his very small order. I know this isn't a good analogy but the point is.....in most operations there are only so many hours in the day. If two (or a dozen) things are happening at once, how do you deal with everything in that particular time frame, short of having expensive human resources on hold for busy times, which are hard to predict? I simply must promise to call folks back. Most understand but it is the few who think the world revolves around them that urk me no end. Some people think everyone sits on our hands waiting for their phone call. (Or the entire restaurant staff is waiting for them) (Or the queen rearers are sitting around waiting for their order.) Etc, etc, etc. These are the few who think they must jump to the front of the line. These few are welcome to do business elsewhere and no one is sorry to see them go.
OK enough ranting:D We are lucky that our customers are exclusivly great people.
My point is, at the absolute busiest times a business can have, it is common sense and the kind thing to give a little slack. !@#$% happens!
Queen rearers are shipping thousands of queens a day, and it is understandable (I didn't say justified) that a small order phone call slip his mind. He is worried about the 500 queen order he has to have ready for shipment by the time UPS comes at 2pm. These guys are working under their own particular gun at this time of year.
Yes, this queen shipper should have called, he inconvenienced the OP mightily, and I would be angry too, under the circumstances. I would suggest that the shipper's attitude satisfy the OP, ie, if the shipper is sufficiently appalled at the problems he caused the buyer, maybe another chance would be justified. If not, find a queen rearer who is more focused on customer service and smaller orders, but expect to pay more.
I'm not saying its right. I'm just saying that is what happens. So lets take your soup and salad example... Profit margin is higher but only times 1 person. You take less profit per person on the 6 but overall you still make alot more money.
Same with bees. You order 1 or 2 and the profit margin per queen is higher. Let's call it $5/queen. So with 2 Queens the producer makes $10 However, compare that with the guy who is buying 100 queens. The producer is getting say $3/ queen. Bottom line is he made $300 vs $10 profit margin. The results are in the numbers....
Now say he made that one small customer as happy as can be... He's got a customer for life as you say.... Yet at two queens a year... and a profit margin of $5/queen it would take 30 years for the small guy to provide as much income as the big guy did in ONE ORDER.
The problem with using a restaurant as a comparison (my fault) is that we eat all the time. Queens are purchased maybe 1-2 times A YEAR!!!
A point that isn't that important necessarily to this conversation is..... you treat that table of 6 people fantastic and 1 person avg.... you have 6 people out there giving rave word of mouth reviews vs 1.
From a server perspective a single person at a table eating soup and salad is often (but not always) a detriment to their paycheck that day. What's best for the server isn't always what's best for the restaurant. I can give you examples....We could talk about this in PM's if you wish...:D
Anyway.... I understand the commercial economics perspective. That and other reasons are why I try to utilize the smaller players when I can. My restaurant example falls short because of frequency of buying issues. It would take a long time for the small player in the queen rearing business to make up the difference.
Treat the small player like a king and he will tell other small players. Treat the commercial guy like a king and he will likely tell other commercial (big order) guys.
I don't think that the commercial guys intend to treat the small players bad. They just have to make a decision sometimes who to make a priority.
Some do have that policy.
Originally Posted by MapMan
I made good money waiting tables in college. I averaged nearly 20% in tips and to this day always tip 20%+ unless service is horrible. Its a great gig for a college student. My best tip ever was a 100% tip. You get good at reading people after a while. For the record, I ALWAYS tried to give excellent service to everyone. But when you are getting swamped, (do they say "in the weeds"), sometimes you have to make a calculated gamble. Whether you realize it or not, it happens in every restaurant and every business.
How did I take this so off course! :rolleyes:
Dan, I agree with you...if only all of us had more time to do it perfect..."
Originally Posted by Dan Williamson
You know I really feel stupid whenever I call a company that does bussiness with larger outfits. I can see them trying to fill an order for say 500 queens, then the phone rings and its me and I want to order 1 or 2 queens. Then I have questions as to how and when they will be shipped. Or maybe even what to do with it when I get it.
Do you really think they want me on the other line??
Bet they would all say yes but I can hear them after they hang up. IMO.
BTW Anyone out there ever work at a place like this and know how some really feel about the smaller guys??
I honestly think they are happy to have your order and want to give you a good product. However, when under the gun and problems arise.... you won't be their priority. Again, I have no doubt they want to provide you with a good product and good service. When stuff hits the fan though... don't expect to be first on the list!
Originally Posted by okb