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When should I start worrying about not receiving my Bill Lawrence Wilde pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by phishaholik, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I don't mean to hijack your thread, but could you kindly expound just a bit? Is this because functioning as both the talent and the manager spreads a person too thin in terms of time, energy and attention span? Or is it because the design/production skill set is so different from the business management skill set that it's rare for any one person to be highly competent to do both jobs well? Or a combination of the two?

  2. BassGyver


    Jun 29, 2004
    Nobody has read the date on the "in stock" page??? Last update was 10/6/14 ...

    But great news you got in touch with them by phone. I love my P46!
    Clark Dark likes this.
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I find it fascinating the difference between small pickup makers and small pedal makers. We've all read the horror stories about 3-4 different pickup makers here on TB, yet it seems small pedal makers like Darkglass, Fuzzrocious, Wren & Cuff, MojoHand, VFE...etc...seem to bend over backwards to help customers out.
  4. I bought my P46 from them about 10 months ago. I phoned them before I ordered and Becky picked up the phone straight away. She said approx. 2 weeks, and they were with me 2-3 weeks after payment. I was happy. I'm not making excuses for them, but I get the impression that they're more of an old-school company and don't really have a handle on the internet. I'm sure they'd be distressed to know how unhappy you are, but I see it from your point of view. Please keep us updated.

    BTW, if you do choose to wait for the P46, I think you'll ultimately be very pleased!
    Clark Dark likes this.
  5. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    I wouldn't consider this a "horror story" (yet), and don't anticipate one either. It would be nice if they did a better job of keeping the customer informed, but I'll cut some slack for being quaintly old school. Old school prices too, for boutique pups. I'll start to worry, and maybe even check in by phone in a few weeks, if then; not sooner. Much more anxious to get my bass anyway!

    But I do feel the OP's pain.
  6. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego

    Actually, just because of your rant, I'm going to order me some Bill Lawrence pups for the new bass build I'm planning.
    I love when small problems mess with people's sense of entitlement. Thank goodness for Yelp and Talkbass where such people can go cry "waah." You've put a lot of emotional energy into this.

    I say, have a coke and a smile....
    Fleebag, ctmullins and eldoryder like this.
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Meh. If you want to impress me, I'd like to see you order $400 worth of SGD pickups.
  8. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon

    Wow, the arrogance is strong in this one. It's funny how you think you're taking the high road when all you're doing is being a disrespectful Internet tough guy.

    jebmd, fclefgeoff, Chris Hass and 2 others like this.
  9. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Or $1,500 of Dr. Bass Cabinet!
    petrus61 likes this.
  10. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    Some real zingers here! :)
  11. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Make it a diet Coke and a Moon Pie and I'll think about it...

    Seriously, can you explain what part of this post is helpful? Small problems? Entitlement?

    "Oh, but I have every right to respond!!"

    Yeah, sure. Don't we all...
    Chris Hass and Troph like this.
  12. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    Sorry, I missed this before. I would say that it's a mixture of both. The personality attributes that makes someone a good artist seldom transfer over to the business end of the world. I think many artist look at becoming a professional at their art without fully understanding or being trained in the business side of things. Also, there have been so many times I have heard here, "They make fantastic instruments, pickups, etc. but they miss deadlines and are hard to get a hold of. I'm pretty sure that many of the worst names in actually delivering their product in TB had good intentions, but got buried by a business they had no idea how to run.

    Also, many of these builders are either a one man operation or have minimal employees, therefore every minute spent on the business side is time not spent building. If someone breaks down what they are getting for their product to an hourly rate, you realize they are getting paid a lot for the time they are spending being a poor business manager and there is no way to keep the business afloat.

    Mystic Michael likes this.
  13. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    Companies that don't adapt to changing business trends don't generally survive very long. Perhaps that is the fate of a company that doesn't have a handle on this wacky internet thing. Seems a lot of people here want to make excuses for poor customer service. The internet and online ordering, email are here to stay.
    StayLow and fclefgeoff like this.
  14. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    Instant email communication and online package status tracking have spoiled us all. Soon we will expect nothing less than a 24/7 live webcam feed from each product so we can watch its journey from manufacturing through shipping and transit all the way to our doorstep. :)

    Hey, now that I think about it, that sounds pretty cool. Maybe I should get my start-up capital sourced...
    Garret Graves and celticafro like this.
  15. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I wish the best for the business. Bill has had a tremendous influence on electric guitar pickup construction. The reality is that only about 30% of businesses survive the death of the founder, even if run correctly with a good succession plan.
    StayLow and Clark Dark like this.
  16. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    All this argy-bargy over one of the finest pickups you'll ever own? And at THIS price? Jeez, have we really devolved into this much of an instant-gratification society that we are going to rake a 90-year-old widow over the coals for not being as snappy-quick as an Amazon Fulfillment Center serf? I'm sorry, but I don't see the tragedy here. Bill and Becky have been doing this for DECADES. Most of us who have loved these pickups have always understood there's a slight "trade-off" between boutique small business and corporate efficiency. I admit that it probably was not a smart move for them to ever post an "In Stock Ships This Week" notice, since that seems to be the main point of contention here. That raises delivery expectations for new customers, and those unfamiliar with this company.

    I ordered and got my P46 pickup in about 3-1/2 weeks awhile ago, and that was the very weekend that Bill died. I made allowances, and it's still the best pickup decision I ever made. I'm amazed that Becky and the family continue to put out this fine product, and will be saddened when and if they ever decide to stop. Losing Bill would have been enough for me.

    For anyone who just has to have their pickups in 48 hours, Amazon Prime is your friend! You will never be delayed. For some of us though, we'll continue talking on the phone with Becky, and enjoy the personal touch from a small business that still manages to survive in a faceless corporate internet world of commerce.
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    This generally correlates with my own experience and my own observations as well. It's the main reason that, whenever I encounter a new boutique company with a superior product I would like to own, I now make it a rule to try to order what I want & need from them as soon as I can reasonably do so - before they've been in business long enough to begin hitting the limits of their business model.

    gebass6 and phishaholik like this.
  18. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego

    Thank you.
  19. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    "Manages to survive" is a bit disingenuous. Romantic notions of "the old days" notwithstanding, generally speaking, boutique mom and pop manufacturers like this with truly unique products are thriving in the age of web commerce, because web commerce opens up huge marketplaces to them. For a nominal investment, web commerce sites bring in tons of customers who never would have discovered or phoned-in orders in the pre-web days. I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of their revenue is due to web orders, not phone calls.

    I think a more appropriate way to summarize this situation is that this company appears to have created a web presence to accept and bill inbound orders, but has not implemented the other generally accepted e-commerce practices like "up-to-date inventory status" and "automated communication of order status". These steps don't take much effort, and I suspect that even if Mrs. Lawrence herself is not computer-savvy, there are plenty of available resources willing to help her run that side of the business for a reasonable fee.

    Edit: Just to be clear, I don't necessarily have an issue with the apparent turnaround time here, and the value offered in the product appears to be fantastic. However, I see the points made about lack of information not meeting generally accepted e-commerce expectations as valid criticisms. If you're going to take web orders directly, you should do it properly or give up and sell indirectly.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    chiplexic and petrus61 like this.
  20. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I can understand the frustration over buying something that is presumably "in stock", only to find out it isn't and that there will be an undetermined delay in receiving them, but, considering the quality, price and uniqueness of the product, much of that can be forgiven by me if the track record/history is generally positive (after all, it's not like an SGD situation where there's dozens of people complaining about unrecieved pups) I've always made sure I either had no gigs coming up or had a backup on hand in the event that I decided to swap pickups.

    What drives me bonkers is ordering the more ubiquitous stuff, like strings, only to find out they're out of stock after I place the order. For me, strings are a much more time sensitive and personal type of thing. I'll usually spend a couple extra bucks if I know I can expect them in a certain time frame, as opposed to ordering, finding out they're out of stock, calling to find out when they will be in and ultimately either choosing something else or ask for a refund. For things like that, it would be VERY helpful to have a real time inventory status.

    All of this kind of highlights our newfound dependence on the Internet to get us what we want, when we want it. In the good old days, you had to go to a store and have them order it for you, usually for an insane price, and wait it out. Then heaven forbid something wasn't right with the order...you might have what you need three months later! Or, one would have to order from a catalogue or by phone. Now we have a world of merchandise at our fingertips and generally can have anything we are willing to pay for at our doorstep in a few days, and for less than we'd pay from a normal retail store. I guess we're a little spoiled in this regard. So when something does go wrong, just remember what it used to be like!

    First world problems, I know:)
    Mystic Michael and eldoryder like this.

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