Poultry people come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, sooner or later you are going to cross paths with a difficult customer. I know first hand about difficult customers because, well, I am one. As difficult as I can be as a consumer, I do my best to remain logical and see both sides of the coin. Then, there are the others, oh man.....
Let us talk about situations that are beyond the control of a farmer: rain, frost, hail, drought, locusts, chicks hatching late etc.. It is a difficult job, compounded by the fact that everything is subject to the whims of nature. Recently we had an event where we set a date for pick-up and needed to cancel due to situations beyond our control. We made every attempt to contact the customer prior to coming to meet up. In most cases this would not be an issue. But she sent us a wrong contact number on her order form. In hindsight the Alberta number she gave us is probably not hers but my resume does not include detective..... When we could not reach her by phone, we also sent her an email the night before asking her to get a hold of us before leaving since we may have to make other arrangements in sending her the chicks. Unfortunately it was met with no reply. I have been thinking about how to respond politely since meeting up with her on Saturday when she bombarded me with profanity, allegations and even denied filling out and sending us her order form. I took full responsibility, and assured her we would remedy the situation. I have quietly taken in all her angry words. I found that the best decision given the strange behaviour was to refund her money. I explained to her that we made every effort to contact her the night before when I checked the hatcher and saw only a few of the chicks were out. I wish I had control over chicks hatching on time and intentions of others. If you are dealing with nature, animals and humans you just never know what you will get. I will continue to advise folks that they should talk to us before meeting up. I know how caught up people can get and it is truly exciting to get chicks. Just like you, I have waited excitedly for that long awaited phone call. Difference is that I don't make the long journey until the US post office confirms my chicks have arrived.
The reason I am writing about this now is late hatches frequently happen. We ask that as adults you refrain from making threats of slander and extortion should we miss your date. We will do our best to make it right.
Shipping chicks is tricky and even challenging at times and adding a demanding customer to the situation will make it even more taxing. Westjet or Hawkair usually have daily flights to the different destinations. But pick-up arrangements are trickier. For our customers with pending orders for pick-up, as usual we do request that you call us prior to leaving your home to make sure that the chicks have all hatched. If you do not hear from us right away do not make assumptions that they are ready.
We ask for understanding and patience from our future buyers as we are carefully tending to your orders. This means we may not be able to get to the phone or computer right away. For current as well as prospective buyers, we do make every effort to accommodate your preferred time frame but please keep in mind that we are not a hatchery, a fast food chain or a 24 hour operation like 7-11. We are a small family farm. Despite being a small operation, we do our best in caring for our chickens and others. We do not under any circumstance guarantee a perfect hatch. We do our best, that is all we can offer. You will come across people that will test you, prod you and bad mouth no matter what you do or offer. All I can say is don't give up! Keep moving forward! Customers like that are the rare exception.
Thanks for dropping by. I'm Matthew Nelson, farmer of Grade Eh Farms. I post on where my love and passion for life intersect with family, farming, food, & chicken for the soul.
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Below are links to websites that gardeners and chicken owners may find helpful and interesting:
Unique chicken coop for a small backyard:
Best source for backyard henhouses in BC. Locally-crafted chicken coops made of repurposed BC cedar:
Useful information on raising healthy, happy free-range hens:
A portion of our ordering policy was stolen from Legbars of Broadway. Thanks Philip. :-)