I think that most business start from the premise that you live on repeat customers and referrals. It is the fundamental assumption behind the theory that the customer is always right. You would think that this would especially apply to a shoe/leather repair place located in an office building, on the third floor, with no visable signs on either the street, or the lobby level of the building. Of course, you'd be wrong.
I dropped the shoulder strap for my bag off at a leather repair place. The place is in an old building, and is located on the third floor. When I got to the building, I had no idea there was a retail concourse on three. Nothing tells you this. When I got off on three the retail was one diamond seller, one antique shop without discernable inventory (which is extremely high end, or extremely low end), and a shoe repair place. Very, very old school. I walked into the shoe repair place immediately behind a lady who looked like she had nothing to drop off. How wrong I was.
The woman told the owner that she wanted a hole punched in her watch band between two existing holes. The owner responded, "OK, but that's a stupid idea." The woman was clearly taken aback. She blinked about thirty times and asked him why it was stupid. He responded that it was stupid because it was ill-conceived and would not work. Now she was floored. Her jaw was almost completely slack. She asked him if he thought the idea was bad because it would look bad, or because it would not be functional. He said, "yes." He then proceeded to explain that as a master craftsman he could certainly execute her request, and that if customers were willing to pay, he was willing to execute their stupid ideas. He was not, however, willing to tell them it was a good idea.
Now the woman was getting angry. It was almost like there is a parallel stages of being abused to the stages of mourning or something. First denial, then shock, then anger, or whatever.
Apparently overcome, the woman said that she didn't understand. In the most patronizing tone you can imagine, the owner explained that the human forearm is generally tapered and that this caused watches to slip toward the wrist. Gravity was also not helpful. Therefore, the problem was not that the holes were one-eighth of an inch apart, rather than one-sixteenth. No, the problem was with the shape of the human forearm. The woman looked down, put her watch on, turned on her heel, and stormed out. The owner did not even pause when he smiled at me and asked what he could help me with. Unbelievable.