I received a phone call this afternoon that was unusual.
It was from one of the regulars on FAOL and he had a
bit of a problem. He had purchased a package of fly tying
material (ok, a small animal hide worth about twenty bucks)
from his local fly shop which he needed to fill an order of flies
right away. He knew they had it as he has been a regular and
frequent customer. His problem? He was really unhappy with
the quality of the stuff and now had no options.
First off, he wanted to find out if the company who supplied
the material to his fly shop was, is, or might ever be a sponsor.
How darn nice of him to be thinking that far ahead.
Anyway, he really was jammed up. The stuff did not make
up the 'normal' number of flies it has in the past for him and
he just is not going to be able to fill the order on time.
How could this possibly happen? Far too easily. I know;
been there, done that, got the hat. When material comes
in anywhere I have worked, the biggest thing is to see if it
is on the invoice and what did this stuff cost us. Then check
it off and unpack the rest of the mysteries in the shipment.
My hats off to any of you fly shop owners who can or do
take the time to check the quality of each and every bag,
box or hunk of merchandise.
This stuff does vary in quality and it may be hard if not
nearly impossible to tell about the quality, even looking
through a package. My friend who called me had not. He
selected it, took it to the register, paid for it, got it home,
unwrapped it and started tying with it. Then he noticed it
would only produce about half (really!) of the flies he
regularly gets out of one.
So how can we or anyone hold the shop responsible, or
even the supplier, or even the guys who supply the suppliers.
Materials are not always the same. Take a hide for instance.
Northern or southern? Spring or fall? Would just that make
a difference? Sure could.
How about our dearly beloved chicken feathers, hackle.
One year old? Two, three, four? Splits, breaks, falls off the
shaft? How long did the supplier have it before he shipped
it to your fly shop. Did it sit in a showcase, in the sun? Part
of a 'close out' sale? Who knows. The point is do not always
expect the same quality of everything. So, what to do?
When ordering from the web, find out everything you can
before you order. Can you return it if it is not what 'you'
expect it to be. Information is always ammunition. You may
need it. At your shop, take the time to really examine your
choices. Talk to the clerk about it and why you are so fussy.
Your dollar is worth a hundred cents, his materials should be
up to snuff too.
Do not be afraid to take something back. Actually you might
very well be doing them a favor. They sure don't want to sell
off quality materials. They paid the going rate for it. They will
want to know about anything wrong. Treat them nice, but fairly.
You will be the winner by so doing. ~ James Castwell