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Experience with Elderly Instruments

Related threads:
Elderly Catalog (15)
Elderly and Charlotte's Web's 30thAnniv. (1)
ELDERLY'S.COM (25)
My weekly Elderly check (11)


Banjer 25 Nov 02 - 08:28 PM
Steve Latimer 25 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
Sorcha 25 Nov 02 - 08:34 PM
Alice 25 Nov 02 - 08:37 PM
GUEST 25 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM
Banjer 25 Nov 02 - 09:11 PM
Big Mick 25 Nov 02 - 09:13 PM
NicoleC 25 Nov 02 - 09:14 PM
Justa Picker 25 Nov 02 - 09:35 PM
Jeri 25 Nov 02 - 10:10 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Nov 02 - 10:38 PM
Banjer 26 Nov 02 - 06:19 AM
Steve Latimer 26 Nov 02 - 06:43 AM
Tiger 26 Nov 02 - 06:56 AM
Banjer 26 Nov 02 - 07:31 AM
Big Mick 26 Nov 02 - 07:37 AM
bigchuck 26 Nov 02 - 07:50 AM
catspaw49 26 Nov 02 - 07:50 AM
mooman 26 Nov 02 - 08:37 AM
JedMarum 26 Nov 02 - 09:05 AM
GUEST 26 Nov 02 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Chip A. 26 Nov 02 - 09:39 AM
Steve Latimer 26 Nov 02 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 26 Nov 02 - 09:59 AM
Burke 26 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM
NicoleC 26 Nov 02 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 09:56 AM
RichM 27 Nov 02 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 10:47 AM
Charley Noble 27 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM
Leadfingers 27 Nov 02 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Wesley S 27 Nov 02 - 01:34 PM
denise:^) 27 Nov 02 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 03:38 PM
Banjer 27 Nov 02 - 03:51 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 03:55 PM
DonMeixner 27 Nov 02 - 06:43 PM
Guy Wolff 27 Nov 02 - 07:01 PM
NicoleC 27 Nov 02 - 07:16 PM
Alice 27 Nov 02 - 07:54 PM
Banjer 27 Nov 02 - 08:08 PM
JedMarum 27 Nov 02 - 08:46 PM
JedMarum 27 Nov 02 - 08:48 PM
Coyote Breath 28 Nov 02 - 01:59 AM
Banjer 28 Nov 02 - 05:38 AM
Charley Noble 28 Nov 02 - 08:53 AM
JedMarum 28 Nov 02 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 28 Nov 02 - 10:01 AM
Greycap 28 Nov 02 - 10:01 AM
Banjer 28 Nov 02 - 10:59 AM
GUEST 28 Nov 02 - 11:12 AM
Art Thieme 28 Nov 02 - 04:45 PM
Charley Noble 28 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM
Art Thieme 28 Nov 02 - 10:02 PM
Coyote Breath 29 Nov 02 - 02:04 AM
Banjer 29 Nov 02 - 06:58 PM
Wesley S 05 Dec 02 - 01:22 PM
JedMarum 05 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM
Midchuck 06 Dec 02 - 03:34 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Feb 03 - 11:14 AM
pattyClink 20 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM
Jim Colbert 21 Feb 03 - 11:24 AM
Steve Latimer 27 Feb 03 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 03 - 06:40 PM
Frankham 28 Feb 03 - 08:41 PM
Mark Clark 03 Aug 04 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Stan Werbin 03 Aug 04 - 11:46 PM
Mark Clark 04 Aug 04 - 12:05 AM
Strollin' Johnny 04 Aug 04 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Greycap 04 Aug 04 - 10:10 AM
Kim C 04 Aug 04 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Aug 04 - 10:34 AM
Big Mick 04 Aug 04 - 10:43 AM
Mark Clark 04 Aug 04 - 12:15 PM
Kim C 04 Aug 04 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Jon 04 Aug 04 - 01:19 PM
DonMeixner 04 Aug 04 - 01:37 PM
catspaw49 04 Aug 04 - 01:52 PM
freightdawg 04 Aug 04 - 02:17 PM
Kim C 04 Aug 04 - 02:45 PM
Zhenya 04 Aug 04 - 03:06 PM
Mark Clark 04 Aug 04 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Jon 04 Aug 04 - 05:43 PM
JedMarum 04 Aug 04 - 05:57 PM
MAG 05 Aug 04 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 05 Aug 04 - 10:48 PM
GUEST 19 Jun 10 - 02:26 AM
Amos 19 Aug 12 - 12:51 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Aug 12 - 02:21 PM
Mark Clark 20 Aug 12 - 12:49 PM
Charley Noble 20 Aug 12 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Gibsonboy 21 Aug 12 - 01:26 PM
Big Mick 21 Aug 12 - 03:01 PM
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Subject: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 08:28 PM

I know a lot of you sing high praises to Elderly, but I have had it with them. I used their website Sunday the 17th to place an order for three sets of banjo strings, thinking I may have them by Friday. Most places I have ever ordered from have delivered their products within about five days, some even less than that. My wife ordered an item from the Smithsonian Store on Wednesday of this week and it was at our door Thursday from Tennessee. Anyhow, I get home Friday and instead of finding a package at my door, I received an e-mail that informed that the strings had been sent out on the 22nd, that day. Five days to just process such a simple order is just plain ridiculous. I will NEVER use their services again. There are too many companies that like to take care of their customers to have to put up with incopetence of that magnitude.


Rant off.....


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM

Well, I have to say this is the first complaint that have heard about Elderly.

Now, had you used The Twelfth Fret to order Newtones....


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 08:34 PM

Sorry, Bill, I have always had good luck with them.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Alice
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 08:37 PM

Banjer, I'm in the same boat with you. Still waiting for two sets of guitar strings ordered from Elderly loooonng ago...


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM

It seems purty ridiculous to compare the Smithsonian's online shopping with Elderly. Slight difference in size and magnitude of operations does come to mind. I never fret about anything I've ordered online for at least two weeks. This time of year, even longer.

Alice, how long ago is loooonng?


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:11 PM

It seems purty ridiculous to compare the Smithsonian's online shopping with Elderly.

WHY???? Mail orders are mail orders, whether placed with a large or small company. It still shouldn't take five days to process a simple prepaid order for something as small as instrument strings. They could be put in an envelope and mailed. What's the big deal?? Further more, they don't provide you with an option on their site to contact them by e-mail, probably because they know they'd be innudated with complaints about their lousy service. When I called this morning just to ask why it took so long to process a simple order a very snotty young lady told me it always take 5 to 7 days to ship any order. If the business I work for was that incosiderate of our customers we probably wouldn't be around any more.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:13 PM

Ray, this is totally inconsistent with their policy. I will notify Stan of this immediately. Alice, I will also let him know about yours. I just got an order in three days.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: NicoleC
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:14 PM

I've got an order pending from Elderly as well that is taking an inordinate amount of time for a very basic order. I don't think I'll order from them again if they can't get an order out the door in less than a week. Now UPS has it and and they're being dirt slow, too.

I wouldn't mind so much if they clearly posted their turn-around times. This wasn't a rush order, per se, but it looks like I'm not going to see it until after the holiday now, and I'm in the middle of mandolin surgery...


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Justa Picker
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 09:35 PM

You want good string service? order from Just Strings. You'll get better service and they'll cost you less than from just about anywhere else.

(Elderly generally takes about 2 weeks for mail order items. At least that's been my experience with them.)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 10:10 PM

It took me less than a week to get my guitar (shipped UPS) from the 12th Fret, and it had to go through customs!
Newtone Strings took about the same amount of time. I've never ordered anything from Elderly.
BTW, UPS has a page where you can track your parcel if you know the shipping number. (Can get it from the sender.)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 10:38 PM

Hi Banjer. Just out of curiosity, does it make any difference because of how you pay for your order? I haven't a clue....what I DO know is that I've ordered many things from Elderly and the delivery time is highly unpredictable.

Why was the girl you spoke to "snotty"? I think I've always been treated pretty civilly....but then again I haven't phoned with a complaint.

How's people's experience with Stewart MacDonald?

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 06:19 AM

I used a credit card number which can be approved in a matter of seconds. Why was the girl snotty, I don't know. Maybe she was receiving many other complaints as well. I called right after 9 AM Monday morning. She answered and I explained that I had a question concerning their policies. I then explained how I had placed the order on the 17th and was rather surpised that instead of my order arriving on Friday that I received an e-mail telling it had just been sent out! Her reply was very curt and in a tone of voice that I interpret as rude. Sort of an "if you don't like it, tough" attitude.

Mick, maybe because you live closer to them you were able to receieve your order faster. I can understand that it would take longer to ship to Florida, but what irks me is that it took them from Sunday to Friday to even acknowledge the order.

I did some checking and found the Just Strings site that Justa Picker mentioned. They have the same Labella strings for a few cents more than Elderly.

Most of the time I can get strings and accessories from local shops, such as the new Bluegrass Shop here in St Petersburg. He just doesn't have the nylon 5 string that I need. Suprisingly he carries lap dulcimer strings, though. I have told him of my experience with Elderly and he said he would look to see if any of his suppliers have those available and start stocking them.

All I know is there is a very bad taste for Elderly right now.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 06:43 AM

I just bought some books & videos from Banjo Supply. They shipped within three hours on two separate occassions. Despite them having to come from Oklahoma to Canada I received them quickly.

Banjo Supply


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Subject: For Banjer
From: Tiger
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 06:56 AM

I have the same experience, Banjer.

My Elderly orders (by credit card, either phone or web) take about 10 days. They even say that on the phone.

Allow a few days for the mail, even a whole day to pick/pack the order. That leaves about 5 days where the order must sit in a basket somewhere.

They've got me trained now, so I've adjusted to the timing. And I don't ever try rush orders.

It seems incongruous when you consider everything else about them is top notch.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:31 AM

Looks like an excelent site Steve, thanks!!!

Tiger, today will make ten days from the day I placed the order. If they don't show up today, I intend to reorder from someone more reliable.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:37 AM

I dropped Stan Werbin, the owner, a note. He invites any person who has problems of this nature to contact Certainly feel free to suggest that individuals contact directly at swerbin@elderly.com - or to the mail order manager Jerry Spencer (He will be out-of-town on Friday and Saturday this week) with any problems and "we'll make sure they are looked into and responded to." Any customer with a problem is encouraged to do this at anytime.

All I can tell you is that I get service that is far and away better than any other place I have shopped. It is the service that keeps me coming back. I remember when I paid over a thousand bucks for a new Irish bouzouki. About a month later the strap broke on the gig bag, the bouzouki fell to the concrete and completely split the top in three places. These guys had no obligation to me, and the builder who supplied the gig bag with his instrument said he wouldn't stand behind it. Stan put his best luthier (and these guys are some of the best there is) on the bouzouki and repaired it, ordered me another custom bouzouki and let me use the repaired one until it arrived. You don't get that anywhere else.

I don't blame Banjer, he has had an unsatisfactory experience. But I have spent many dollars at many stores during my musical journey. I have never received better, more knowledgeable help than I have gotten from this fine establishment.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: bigchuck
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:50 AM

To answer Rick's question, I have always had excellent (and timely) service from Stewart-Macdonald. I do small orders with them 3-4 times a year, get an immediate email to acknowledge the order and another to let me know the order has been shipped. I usually get the order within 3-4 business days.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:50 AM

Sorry you had a problem Banj. I have always been pretty satisfied with the delivery times....which means I never noticed if it took a long time and that it arrived. I have always been treated pretty couteously with them as well. I think Mick says it well....and I like to notify people I am not satisfied with too. If this is becoming a problem, I think Stan and all would like to know because it has been pretty good in the past.

Rick, Stew-Mac seems to be okay to me, good stock and all in most cases. I have never mail ordered from them as they are only a few miles down the road.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: mooman
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 08:37 AM

I've had good experiences with mail order from Shoreline Music, who've managed to get orders from California to Belgium within a week on several separate occasions for me.

mooman


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 09:05 AM

I never ordered strings from Elderly on-line, but the few other orders I placed there were surprisingly quick and accurate. I never had a problem with the orders, so I don;t know how well they handle complaints. But I can't imagine damning a business based upon a single incident. In the business world; thigs go wrong. Sometimes people who work for you make mistakes, sometimes you have procedures that don;t work well - so you have to fix 'em. That doesn't mean your whole business sucks.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 09:37 AM

Nor would I go damning a small business publicly online, before speaking at least once with the person who owns/manages the place.

Of course, I still don't understand why a turnaround time of 2 weeks for a non-rush order is being considered bad service. Sure, some businesses who build a reputation on speed of their deliveries are able to get orders out the door the same day, and to you in three. Question is, how much farther than that are they willing to go with customer service besides speedy delivery, and how knowledgeable and helpful are they about the products?

How fast an order arrives isn't important to me, so long as it is within the stated timeframe the company gives. To me, two weeks is reasonable. If I absolutely need it delivered ASAP, I bite the bullet, and pay for rush service.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST,Chip A.
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 09:39 AM

I've always been very happy with Elderly. The folks I've spoken with over the phone have been extremely helpful. They have played instruments for me to hear and answered every quetion as if I were the most important customer they had. I always recomend them to others. Yes I think the delivery time may be a little slow but I don't order that much from other sources so I'm not too sure. Courtesy, helpfulness, knowledge, selection and price have always been great. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!
Chip


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 09:56 AM

Banjer,

You're welcome.

I know that The Banjoest has had good luck with First Quality Musical Supplies. I have never used them, but they are very commited to stocking banjo items and their pricing seems very good.

First Quality Musical Supplies


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 09:59 AM

I have never had a problem with Elderly. Even one time, they sent me the wrong strings, and sent me the right ones right away.

It's nice to get things quickly - but anytime I mail order, I give anyone two weeks.

Retail can be unpredictable. You think you have something in the warehouse, you go to get it, and it ain't there, because someone else beat you to it. You think, well, okay, we have an order in to the supplier and it's supposed to be here tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and goes, you call your supplier, and they don't have your stuff, they're waiting on the materials from THEIR supplier... meanwhile you have customers waiting.

If you really are unhappy, though, do let them know, and then go get your things elsewhere if you need to.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Burke
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 12:52 PM

I placed an order for strings & a gig bag with Elderly last summer. I was under a deadline & knew I was cutting it close, but not that close. All the same, I was surprised to get an e-mail saying "shipped today" several days later & about the time I was looking for my package. UPS was very fast, & I think it arrived later the same day that I left on the vacation.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: NicoleC
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 10:37 PM

Guest, you may not think that 2 weeks is poor turnaround, but why would I order from a business that ships so slowly when I can order strings for the same price from Ifshin Violins and they stick them in the mail the same day? Or from another small shop who ships in a day or two?

Based on what folks are saying here, Elderly is generally kinda slow, and that may be why they don't post any kind of expected timeframe on their site. I've heard enough good stuff about them to consider ordering an instrument or other major purchase from them for the sake of the service or the selection -- it's why I looked them up in the first place -- but not the bread and butter accessories. If they can't handle my order in a timely fashion, they can't. Oh well.

Maybe I should have learned something when I requested a catalog months ago and never got it?


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 AM

Remember back in the old days, though, mail order people used to always say "please allow 4-6 weeks."

I think two weeks is plenty reasonable. If I need something Right Now I can bop over to the local music shop where I get treated like dog poop if I get noticed at all.

Six of one, half dozen of the other. At any rate, there are plenty of establishments for everyone to choose from. :-)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:56 AM

I agree with everything you said KimC. But I do have a problem with people posting damnations of excellent small businesses in public forums like this, just because their assumptions about how fast the delivery of product should be (in their mind) didn't pan out.

To me, the disturbing thing here isn't how long does it take Elderly Music to deliver a set of strings. The disturbing thing to me is someone badmouthing them needlessly and unfairly, at a time of year when they receive the lion's share of their business (Christmas).

I'm not saying we shouldn't share our experiences with sham businesses, when we have verifiable proof of bad service. It doesn't look to me as the original poster to this thread has that in this instance. It looks to me like this poster was angry because his desire for instant gratification wasn't met, so he lashed out publicly at the business, hoping to do them harm by badmouthing them "to get back at them" for not operating the business the way he assumed it *should* operate. So essentially, he is badmouthing a reputable business that does a great service to the music community, because his unrealistic expectations weren't met.

Is that fair to Elderly Music?


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: RichM
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 10:08 AM

Dear Guest, you can be the judge of comments that are "needless and unfair"---just as each of us can--

Any business should expect that customers will have opinions about its service. And it should expect that in a public forum like this, each reader can judge for themselves, as I do.

I always expect Elderly to be slow, it's my experience with them after years of ordering from them. Other mail order businesses I deal with are two to three times faster in service time.
In any case, it probably is too late to order NOW from them , for delivery by Christmas.

And no, I don't think it's unfair to offer a criticism at Christmas time, or any other time.. It's part of doing business--any kind of business.


Rich McCarthy


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 10:47 AM

Can someone please point out to me where on the Elderly Music website they say that you will receive your order within three days time? Can someone please point out to me where on the Elderly Music website they say that you will receive your order within five days time?

It is one thing to have verifiable proof of bad service. As this thread shows, there are some people who will define bad service as anything that doesn't meet their assumptions and experience with other businesses, ie within three to five days time. Then there are some people, like myself and some others posting to this thread, who believe that unless there is a published timeline for delivery stating the product will arrive within 3 to 5 days (or they inform you of a timeline by phone, email, etc), one can reasonably expect mail order service to take approximately two weeks, possibly longer during the Christmas holiday season.

I think we can all agree that with the information provided by Banjer in this thread, that Banjer is one of the former types of people, who assumes that anything that doesn't arrive at his door mail ordered within 3 - 5 days is bad service, hence his complaint. Then there are others like myself who, based upon the information provided by Banjer, assumes there isn't a problem with service, as it hadn't yet been two weeks since he ordered.

I agree that criticising a business is fair at any time of the year, if the criticism is legitimate. I say, Banjer's criticism wasn't legitimate for a number of reasons. First, it appeared to me from reading what he said in this thread that he assumed he would receive his strings within 3 - 5 day, but wasn't actually told that by anyone who works at Elderly. If I misinterpreted Banjer's posts in this regard, I'm sure he'll correct me. Second, he tells us he called to complain after receiving email notification that his order had been shipped five days after the order was placed, and was treated badly on the phone.

Well, I'm old school, and believe the customer is always right, even when it is obvious the customer is really wrong. However, I am also guessing that if Banjer had an angry tone in his voice when calling to complain that his order wasn't being filled fast enough, that first thing on a Monday, he may have caught the phone representative off guard, and caused a defensive reaction. We aren't privy to what the Elderly phone representative actually said. Banjer only tells us "Her reply was very curt and in a tone of voice that I interpret as rude. Sort of an "if you don't like it, tough" attitude."

We have no way of knowing if her tone of voice was rude, or whether she has a "if you don't like, tough" attitude. We only know that Banjer interpreted his conversation with this person that way.

Banjer did not share with us whether he made a formal complaint about slow delivery to the company or not. Banjer did not share with us what the Elderly representative actually told him on the phone. Banjer did not share with us whether or not he had contacted someone in a position to do something about the delivery times at Elderly, to share their concerns in a way that might help Elderly improve it's customer service. Rather, Banjer went into an online music forum where he knew a number of happy and satisfied customers, as well as potential future customers regularly participated, and complained to us.

Now, what can users of this forum do about Elderly's service? Well, one Elderly customer actually did what Banjer himself would have likely been better served for having done himself, which was contact the business owner. Small businesses survive based upon word of mouth referrals as their bread and butter. When we publicly bitch about the small businesses that serve our music communities, and don't deal with the business in questions, we do a disservice not only to that business, but to ourselves. There just aren't that many small businesses out there serving the acoustic music community. For thousands of people involved in this music, they do not have the luxury of running down to a local shop to pick up hard to find products.

It seems to me there is a productive way of dealing with customer service complaints in the acoustic music business world, and unproductive ways of doing it. This strikes me as being one of the unproductive ones.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM

Well, in my opinion "sucks" is a rather negatively charged word to describe slower than expected shipping service and less than polite customer complaint response.

Usually, when I'm disappointed with what I'm hearing back from a service representative I ask to speak with their supervisor if I'm still not satisfied.

That reminds me, I still haven't heard back from that used bookseller who was supposed to send me MY f****ing order a month ago!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, whose house fortunately did not burn down this morning in spite of all the smoke alarms from upstairs


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 01:04 PM

I would like to put a plug in for Highly Srung as a source for any mail order business.I have used them for twenty odd years and have never had a problem.e-mail is-- mail@highlystrung.co.uk,or if you are in UK try phoning 01235 762000,and ask for Nigel.(Hes the boss).


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 01:34 PM

I just placed an order with Elderly and was told I could expect 7 to 10 days. Not bad for over a long holiday weekend.

What I haven't seen anyone mention yet is that with an organisation like Elderly it may not take several days to process Banjers one order of a few sets of strings. But it takes time to GET to that order. FIRST they have to process the orders that were called in yesterday - and the day before that, and so on. First come first served is a pretty good process. Especially if there was no communication when the order was placed as to delivery time.

I know that I go to Elderly to get things I can't find in my local Mom and Pop store. I'm happy with the service I've received and will continue to shop there.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: denise:^)
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 01:55 PM

Never had a problem with them, myself, and I've phone-ordered, internet-ordered, and just plain old driven down there (about 2 hours, but I was going that way for something else...).

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. It's never fun to get poor service, but I don't think I'd give up on them after only one problem.

*I* couldn't! They have too much stuff I need...

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 03:38 PM

Banjer, have your strings arrived (we hope) in time for the Thanksgiving holiday?


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 03:51 PM

I say, Banjer's criticism wasn't legitimate for a number of reasons.


At least I am not afraid to put my name on a post. I do not need to hide behind GUEST handles. I still maintain that five days to even process an order is too long. If the order was received on Monday AM, it could have been sent by Wed at the very latest. As fo rthe rest of GUEST's raving lunacy, put a name to it and I will pay attention!


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 03:55 PM

Well Banjer, I can see why you feel mad at me. Nonetheless, I still hope the strings arrived, and that you are enjoying them as we speak. And may you never have another mail order problem as long as you live.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 06:43 PM

My experience with Elderly has been very good as a rule. My one bad experience was buying a long neck banjo case.   The case was great in all aspects but one. The banjo wouldn't fit. The solution was a structural anomoly that required 5 minutes of surgery. Elderly asked if I could repair it myself. They had checked all the other cases for the long neck and found them to be faulty as well. It would take a week to get a new one in checked and shipped. I said I could fix it and did. Unexpectedly a week late I recieved a not from Elderly saying my time was worth something and they passed along a couple sets of banjo strings and a $20.00 store credit for my inconvenience.

The one time I recieved an email saying my purchased was shipped a few day later than my order was because of a backorder problem.

Don


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:01 PM

Hi I just bought a Mike Ramsey Frettles from them .They sent it in time for the trip to England (Very Fast). Very nice people for 30 years.. They dont even mind my drool on instroments if i can find my way to East Lansing and they were one f a handful of cd shops that had some cd's Ive been on.. Almost an inpossability to find!!! .. All the best , Guy


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: NicoleC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:16 PM

Well, I'm glad to hear the good stories about Elderly, too. There are too few quality folk music shops on the web already.

Unfortunately, my order STILL hasn't arrived, but at this point it's in the hands of UPS. I won't see it until Monday at the earliest now, which will make 3 weeks out. Bummer. I was planning to spend my holiday finishing up mando surgery and take it for a spin.


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Subject: Elderly is OK by me
From: Alice
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:54 PM

My two sets of guitar strings showed up this evening. My apologies to Elderly. It was more of a longer than usual transit by UPS than Elderly's processing.

Alice


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:08 PM

Big Mick, in response to your suggestion I just sent an e-mail to your man Stan.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:46 PM

I guess I just wouldn't think of going to Elderly for a quick delivery anyway - not because I thought they might give bad service (as I said earlier my expereince with them has been good) - but because when I want quick service, especially on a quick service item I go to a specialty shop; on-line or 3D.

No dig on Elderly, but that is NOT the kind of thing I'd expect from them, and I suspect for strings (which I buy in bulk) I can get a better deal elsewhere.

I go to Elderly for their unusual, and fine instruments that they might have in stock - and for their knowledgeable and helpful staff. I go there knowing THOSE things are their specialty, and those are things I very appreciate! It's damn hard to walk into their store and not fall in love with several instruments in the first half hour!

If I want quick service on delivery and lowest possible, commodity sort of pricing on items I already know about (like strings) I go to someone that specializes in that sort of thing.

I believe that Elderley has earned a good, solid reputation for good reason - and they have held it for a long time. May that continue! It is true, they cannot be all things to all people - and if they tried to compete with the on-line commodity priced, high speed fulfillment houses - they wuld almost certainly the value they offer to me; great instruments in house, great epxertise on those instruments and good pricing.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:48 PM

... by the way Banjer, I don't mean to blow off your complaint - I know it sucks when your expectations aren't met.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 01:59 AM

In my humble opinion:   any customer who has a beef of any kind with any business has the right, nay, the obligation to vent about it. Businesses are not delicate flowers who need to be protected from the world. If a business isn't willing to bend over backwards for their customers (whether an order for strings or a $26,000 Martin) then they need to get yelled at. Guest, you don't need to protect Elderly from Banjer. and Banjer, of course I don't know your particular location or logistics but why order strings from Elderly in the first place? I live in a small town and can get all my string (banjo) needs met locally. They might be as much as a buck MORE but I have them that day! My problem with Elderly is that they "advertise" instruments that they don't have just yet and don't know when they will get them either. I would love to buy a fretless banjo from them but they have been "on order, delivery date unknown" for MONTHS! (I want the student model Ramsey) or is it Reiter? Well you get the picture.

CB


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:38 AM

CB, the only reason I chose to get the strings at Elderly is because of the three music stores in my area only one has ever heard of nylon banjo strings and he doesn't carry them. One other store I inquired at told me that such a set is not made. (real knowledgeable whizbang there!)

I chose Elderly because I had read here on this forum about their website and decided to try them. I had ordered some strings from them before, some years ago,(by phone, not website) and was impressed with their quick service at that time. Unfortunately this time was just not the same.

I did send an e-mail (as suggested by Big Mick) to Mr Werbin at 7:59 PM on the 27th and already found a reply this morning posted at 1:50 AM on the 28th from him! In the lenghty reply he states that they are working on improving the service and generally apologizes for the slow delivery times. Apparently it is a stumbling block they are trying to overcome. I will accept his explanation and apologies, as I feel they are sincere.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 08:53 AM

Of course, many of the 30 or so Elderly staff people are active musicians, and work on musician's time, and with musician's manners. ;~)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, who's been there


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 09:45 AM

I know that operating a fast, accurate and efficient mail order/on-line business is a very different thing from running a good music store - requires a very different set of skills and procedures. For all of Elderly's attempts to get there; they just may not make it! But as long as I can walk into their shop and play a Santa Cruz baritone - a fretless banjo - a beautiful octave mando - a fine ripping Stelling - etc etc - who cares?


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:01 AM

I find trying to work out customer service problems with businesses I would like to do business with is much preferable to venting at/about them. We aren't talking Wal Mart here, where customer service complaints fall on deaf ears.

That said, I realize that Elderly is often slower than other mail order businesses in the industry. Speed doesn't usually matter to me. When it does, I pay for rush service, and expect the order to arrive when promised.

If the worst thing that can be said about Elderly's customer service is it takes two weeks for routine orders to arrive, I'd say some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Greycap
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:01 AM

Ordered a gigbag for my autoharp and it was at my house in England in five days. I have no complaints with Elderly.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:59 AM

So, GUEST, whoever you may be. Not that I care whit a for your anonymous opinion, but how do you explain Greycap's claim of a gigbag in five days to the UK and ten+ days to Florida, bith shipped from the same stateside location? Still don't see a problem? Don't suppose you would, seems to me if I had told you that the sky is blue you would right now be telling us it is green.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 11:12 AM

The problem may be your expectations and the inconsistency in delivery times Banjer, I agree. And I'm not dissing your disappointed expectations, I'm really not. When you hear that others have received orders from this business faster than you got yours, I do understand that is a disappointment.

Where you and I disagree is in how you chose to respond to the disappointed expectations is all. I think you are doing the right thing by contacting the business owner and trying to work with him. I'm glad the strings arrived. I don't know what to tell you other than that, except maybe if you can successfully adjust your expectations to match the reality of Elderly's delivery system (ie that sometimes you get the orders very quickly, sometimes you don't), you might end up a happy customer with them in the long run. To me, that would be the best case scenario for everyone.

I'm sorry if I've been too harsh on your personally. My real point is this. Two weeks delivery time just doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Perhaps I'm just a patient person when it comes to these sorts of things--I've worked in retail, the restaurant business, and the tourist business, all customer service industries. I know how crazy some people get when their expectations for service aren't met. You have responded reasonably by contacting the owner, and it seems to have calmed you down, which is a good thing. Irate customers (especially the ones who decide to pick up the phone and vent at poorly paid employees with no authority to fix the problems) are never good for business, regardless of whether they are right or wrong about their reasons for being irate.

These aren't easy matters to resolve, but I admire you for following up on it in the way you did. I hope you feel better about it too, even if you never order from Elderly again.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 04:45 PM

Here is one of the best lessons I've ever been forced to learn.

While singing on the Mississippi River we frequently got to a lock and dam right after a double tow started locking through. We had no choice but to wait our turn. That meant possibly a 2 or 3 hour delay. If it was a meal time, we would have a nice leisurely meal. If it was after a meal, I might do an exta hour-long set (or two). I had to learn to develop patience and find ways to enjoy this gift of extra time on the Father of Waters. These were sixteen hour days generally for me---and I had the pleasure of doing them every other day for five solid months for ten years. I learned to slow down and truly observe the river---it's wildlife and it's moods---it's anger and it's solitude and it's serenity.

Elderly Music is a great resource. Having it there ultimately makes things wonderfully available to us. If their being large causes us a few frustrating days, I submit it beats having to get in my car and drive all the way around Lake Michican's South end in order to visit Elderly in person. That's a trip I always tried to tie in with a trip to E. Lansing to do a gig at the Ten Pound Fiddle and to hang out with Dr. Karen and Bob Blackman. ----------- After visiting Elerly, though, I always considered myself to be lucky if I had cash for gasoline left from my Fiddle paycheck.

Stan and Sandy have done a marvelous thing in setting up Elderly Music---and they deserve all the success they've had and ten times more.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM

Nicely put, Art! I'm pleased to learn that Banjer did follow up the suggestion of e-mailing the management, and received a timely response back from Stan himself.

Banjer, you'll probably get more satisfaction from Stan, and Elderly ultimately, than you will from most Mudcat posters, although I'm amazed to see that most of the suggestions have been constructive.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, who wishes he were in North Lansing right now with a fresh credit card


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:02 PM

The Lost World Stringband with Stan Werbin singing lead on their Cajun version of "ROCKY TOP" was always a highpoint of their shows for me whenever we'd cross paths at festivals in the '70s. And Frank Youngman and Dave Roth too----------and Gerald doin' "Angeline The Baker" bottleneck style on a resophonic guitar--------good memories of the Michigan scene. And the BOSOM BUDDIES too. They ladies showed me why there is a dip in the side of a guitar. ***BIG SMILE***

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:04 AM

Banjer I understand now "why Elderly?". I have used two sets of nylon guitar strings in a pinch. 1st through 4th plus the next set's 1st. Not ideal but workable if in dire straits. Keep breaking my frailing fingernail though.

CB


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Banjer
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:58 PM

I thought about using guitar strings but reasoned that if a set was available I would go taht route. Oh, well, I did finally get the strings and that chapter is history. They are on and I am tuned to a tee....Love those Intellitouch tuners!!!


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Wesley S
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 01:22 PM

Just as an update. I gave Elderly an order the day before Thanksgiving and was promised a delivery between 7 to 10 days. It just arrived - that's 8 days over a holiday weekend. I'm pleased with service like that - considering that Elderly is one of the few places that carries the items I purchased.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: JedMarum
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM

Thanks fer the update, Wes!


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 03:34 PM

Another good music store, closer to me - Vintage Fret Shop in Ashland, NH - used to have a sign, relating to their repair service, which said, I don't remember the exact text, but something like:

"We Offer:

1) Quality work

2) Quick service

3) Low prices

Pick Any Two!"

Expecting all three from any business is a little unrealistic. One of them usually has to go.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:14 AM

On Monday I placed my first order with Elderly. It was for a book. I received instant confirmation of my order, and was updated the following day that it had been shipped via International Air. I expect that I will see it tomorrow or Monday. That's pretty good by my standards. Maybe some of the Mudcat feedback paid off.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: pattyClink
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM

For heaven's sake, rename this thread or start a new one. It's crazy to keep adding posts that say 'I got good service' while proclaiming "Elderly's Service Sucks" all over the Forum for another week.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:24 AM

I've always (going back to '85) had good service from elderly as far as accuracy of the order, but to PA I wouldn't say speed is their main virtue. Several years back when I ordered an Ovation (yeah, I know... but at the time it filled a need.) it took almost 3 weeks from the time I phoned my order in until I received it. Admittedly, this was at Christmastime. Normally I get orders in about 10 days, which is acceptable to me. When I ordered a Boss recorder from them also they didn't have one in stock and offered me their floor model at a discount, making sure I knew that the full warranty would apply and that if I was in any way unhappy with the condition to return it.

I have been pretty happy with their customer service overall.

I generally buy my strings locally- prices are competitive, but it also gives me a low-buck reason to go poke around the music stores and see what's new, as well as helping support a local business a bit.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 06:37 PM

My book arrived today, I'm happy with that turnaround. It was very well packaged and arrived in perfect condition.

I wish that I could have found it in Canada. I paid $14.20 for book, which was the best price I had seen for it. Postage was $9.00, these amounts are in U.S Dollars. The Canadian dollar is in the dumps these days so exchange cost me approximately 55% more. I then had to pick it up at the post office and was given a bill for $6.50 Canadian. Thank goodness I was familiar with the book and really wanted it. We need a good Bluegrass Shop in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!!!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 06:40 PM

i dunno i got my dulcimer from them in a timely manner after i sent them the check, faster than other services i have used.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Frankham
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 08:41 PM

One of my students is replacing her autoharp bars and sent to Elderly for a replacement kit. They charged her eighty dollars and then cut the felts incorrectly. She is having to deal with them now. I think they did the job of cutting them haphazardly and it makes me wonder whether I want to deal with them in the future. Actually, what they said was they delegated the job to Oscar Schmidt. Well, they got the money and my student got the disatisfaction.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 06:07 PM

I'd seen this thread before but I should have reread it before placing my very first (and now, only) order with Elderly. I've been trying to find (don't ask why) a Dunlop buckle capo and wanted to buy one of the new D'Andrea capos as well so I decided to give them a try; even ordered a set of strings that I could have picked up locally.

That was on July 25, nine days ago. Since then, I've ordered strings from JustStrings.com—I've been wanting to try their private label bulk strings— and a set of four Wegen Bluegrass flatpicks from the Big City String Company. Of course the strings and picks shipped the next business day—I ordered in the middle of the night—but I've heard squat and nada from Elderly. Their website doesn't even have a way to check order status, you have to call them long distance.

I'm thinking it may be worth the price of a call just to cancel the order and reorder from a company that actually wants to do business.

My advice for folks is to avoid doing business with Elderly whenever possible.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: GUEST,Stan Werbin
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 11:46 PM

Mark,

Although we have a number of people named "Mark Clark" in our database, we do not show a recent order for any of them. Please contact me at swerbin@elderly.com with your zip code, what you ordered, and another name, in case "Mark Clark" is not the name you used, and I'll see what I can find out.

Is it possible that you never actually hit the "SUBMIT" button on the order? We have occasionally encountered that problem before.

At the top of our front page is a link for "contacts". That takes you to this page: http://elderly.com/PHONES.htm. On this page you will find contact email information, as well as the toll free number to call us.

Stan Werbin
Owner
Elderly Instruments


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 12:05 AM

Just to tidy up this thread, I'm sending Stan a copy of the automated responce Eldery sent me on July 25 confirming my order.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 09:39 AM

Well guys, I have to differ. I ordered a bottle each of Virtuoso Guitar Cleaner and Polish from Elderly at the beginning of July, and they arrived in less than a week - and I'm in the UK! You can't fault that kind of service.

SJ :0)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 10:10 AM

No it doesn't - I'm in the UK too - get my stuff within a week - I can't fault 'em on anything!!


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 10:28 AM

In the two years that this thread was first posted, I have continued to do business with Elderly, and have yet to have a problem.

Mark, July 25 was only SEVEN BUSINESS DAYS ago. I don't find that unreasonable in the least. Not only that - but the post office has been known to delay things, or even lose them from time to time. The fault may not be Elderly's at all.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 10:34 AM

This is really an unfortunate discourse from my point of view. Stan Werbin and Mark Clark and Frank Hamilton are all old friends from other times in our folk world. I'm sorry this thread has put good people at odds. It's just too public on smallish personal points of contention. Eldedrly is a wonderful organization over there in Lansing. I've had nothing but great dealings with them for close to 30 years.

As long as this thread is out there now and circling the globe, I feel a need to give my thoughts.

Art


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 10:43 AM

I contacted Stan to let him know of this. I am known here as a loyal Elderly customer. But that is only because they are a thoroughly professional shop. Their repair shop is reknowned throughout the industry as the best there is. When I walk into the store, I am met by other pro's who have answers. When I have dealt with them by phone I have never encountered anything but professional and friendly service. This is not to say I have never had a problem, but this company, and Stan, took care of it quickly and efficiently.

Mark, I have respect for you, but I don't understand the nature of your reaction. You indicated that this was your first experience with Elderly, yet you responded as if this had happened before and you were sick of it. Seems to me that instead of posting here, you would have attempted to resolve it with them. Then if you are not satisfied, fire away. My experience with them is that every person from the top down is available to the customer, and eager to resolve problems.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 12:15 PM

I didn't compose the thread title, I just added my honest experience. If no such thread existed, I wouldn't have started one and I surely wouldn't have given it the title it has. I just thought there was enough history in the thread to warrant adding my own experience. I would consider buying an expensive instrument from Elderly, though I'd drive to Lansing to play it and pick it up.

I ordered from Elderly with confidence, partly because they have been in business serving our needs for a long time and partly because of recommendations from Art, Mick and others. Maybe I just need to move to the UK. <g> I order merchandise online fairly often and I'm used to the way these transactions are normally handled. I place the order, print the receipt as instructed, receive a confirmation (usually within a few minutes) via email and await another email informing me that the order has shipped.

Normally, the order ships the next business day. If not, and a couple of days pass, I receive an email note explaining the status. Many online merchants also provide a page on their websites for checking the status of orders. In Elderly's case, I had the receipt I printed and the automated email confirming the order so there was no reason to believe it wouldn't be shipped soon. If Elderly has a policy of holding an order for several business days before processing, I support their right to operate with that policy. If I find there is no more responsive supplier for something I need, I'll probably even use Elderly again. But if an item is available from someone whom I know will ship the next day, I'll probably go there first.

Eight (now) business days might have been acceptable in the days when written orders were sent through the postal system, had to be delevered internally to the order department, manually checked against inventory, typed in triplicate, routed to the manufacturing or shipping departments, etc., etc. But in the electronic age, human delays of this sort have become quite rare.

I sent Stan the documentation of my order and I see he responded at 1:00 AM. That seems like dedication to me and I appreciate his personal interest. He promised to look into the problem today and to see that the order is shipped and I take him at his word.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 12:48 PM

"Eight (now) business days might have been acceptable in the days when written orders were sent through the postal system, had to be delevered internally to the order department, manually checked against inventory, typed in triplicate, routed to the manufacturing or shipping departments, etc., etc. But in the electronic age, human delays of this sort have become quite rare."

Ummmmm... not really. There are plenty of places I do business with online and they advise that with regular, non-expedited shipping, orders may arrive from 7-12 business days later. I'm usually willing to give someone 10 business days (which amounts to 2 weeks) before I start asking questions. Earlier this spring I ordered some videos which the post office (not the vendor) lost. After 10 business days, the vendor sent me a replacement via FedEx, and the original package (shipped via Priority Mail) has never, ever shown up.

My point is, even in the electronic age, humans still operate the electronics. Humans still have to check inventory, and pack the items in a box, and deliver them to you. Internet business is a great thing, but still subject to human foibles.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 01:19 PM

Aye Kim but all other things being equal, I can assure you that I would be dealing with the company that offers me prompt service and in many areas there are plenty that can. I think as time goes on, this will become even more important.

I've only had one fall out with a (UK) music company that I do sometimes see recommended here. It was a long saga over the purchase of a new tenor banjo. I payed for next day delivery, even agreed via a phone call to accept an alternative as what I ordered was not in stock and still after a succession of phone calls, did not get my delivery until a couple of weeks later and when I got it, it was badly set up. I try hard to bite my tongue each time I read thier name and certainly would never deal with them again.

My last fall out was with a supplier of computer equipment. My Internet order would not go through and when I phoned thier sales, they said they couldn't offer me the internet terms via the phone and that I should contact thier webmaster to get my (THIER) problem sorted. Needless to say, I shopped elsewhere and will not bother with them again.

I think in Mark's case here, from what I've read and understood, the issues to me wouldn't so much be that what sounds like a cock up occured but that such a problem when reported is recognised and that every effort is made to resolve the matter as swiftly as possible and are dealt with in a friendly and helpful manner. It sounds like that has happened.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 01:37 PM

My experience with Elderly has always been exceptional. The one problem I had with a case I ordered was dealt with immediately to my satidfaction plus they sent me a 1/2 Doz. banjo string with a "Gee Whiz Don we are sorry" kinda note.

But we all deal with different people when we call. It could be I got one person with a different notion od customer service than someone else. That happens in the best and worse run companies.

Don


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 01:52 PM

As I stated elsewhere in this thread. my experience with Elderly has always been great.....and it still is. I am sure that Mark is aggravated and perhaps he just fell through a crack in the system that happens every now and again in even the most friendly and diligent of companies. I know from experience how that can happen. I am equally happy to see Stan's response here and am sure he will fix whatever has gone wrong so that it doesn't happen again.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: freightdawg
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:17 PM

Just another thought in the mix here....

A lot of mail order companies do not actually carry every single item in their catalog in their store, they use drop shipment services. That is, if I am selling widgets and I feel Elderly can sell more widgets for me than I could myself, I could contract with them to list my widgets in their catalog and when an order is placed they would call me up and say, "Hey, dawgie, ship some widgets to widget picker in Kalamazoo." At that point it would be up to me to ship the widgets promptly, and Elderly's responsibility to make sure at some point later that they were indeed shipped.

I do not know how Elderly works, but if there is a slow down it might not be with Elderly at all, but with one of their suppliers, or drop shippers.

I'm impressed that the owner would respond to this thread. At least he is taking responsibility, and in today's world that is worth a sack of diamonds. Gives me faith to buy from Elderly.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:45 PM

I guess it's just a matter of perception. Ten business days falls within my definition of what's reasonably prompt without paying extra for faster shipping. If I get something quickly, then I'm really impressed.

Let's not forget that back in the old days, mail order could take 4-6 weeks. I think 10 days is a vast improvement. :-)


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Zhenya
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 03:06 PM

RIGHT before opening Mudcat, I just made my LATEST online order from Elderly. (under my non-Mudcat name!) I've been ordering from them for many years, and it has ALWAYS been a great experience. They have a wonderful selection, excellent prices, and great customer service. When I have had a question, I've had no problem getting a prompt response.

Last year (or so) I made an order, and didn't hear anything for a few weeks. So I e-mailed them for the status (I think it was my first online order), and quickly got back a reply explaining they were waiting for one backordered item, which they specified by name, and as soon as it came in, they would ship the whole order. (I had checked off exactly that option on the order page.) Ok, that was fine, as long as I knew what was going on. I waited a few more weeks, and sure enough, the entire order showed up.

I don't have a problem with waiting in a situation like this, as I know not everything is in stock. Lately, I mostly check the "no backorder option" only because I might have the chance to buy the same item at a summer festival or concert within the next few weeks after the order. But If I really want something that's hard to find, I'm willing to wait as long as it takes if they can get it for me, which they generally can.

I once ordered an instrument from them, several years ago, that I decided not to keep and returned. The refund was posted to my charge card unbelievably quickly. I was impressed; I've rarely gotten that quick a response with refunds from other companies.

I for one am a longtime happy customer and will continue to order from Elderly and recommend them to everyone I know.
Zhenya

P.S. I've often found when people complain about something, that they didn't bother to read the instructions, customer service info, or whatever. (I am admittedly, sometimes guilty of this myself!) A lot of questions could be answered, and irritation avoided, if people would take the time to do that.


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 05:10 PM

I just returned home to find that Elderly has shipped the order to me and paid for overnight delivery from their own pocket. I also had a nice note from someone name Ace apologizing for the delay. Evidently the order just got lost somewhere, I'm guessing in the computer systems somewhere.

To those who thought I wasn't patient enough, let me first say that I quite understand delays due to shipping and transit. I didn't require overnight or second day delivery and chose not to pay the extra money for that service. The reason for my impatience had nothing to do with shipping. Elderly's web store had indicated that I would receive an email notification when my order shipped. Since I hadn't received the notification, I knew I wasn't waiting on a carrier. Had I waited "several more weeks" as Zhenya suggested I'd have been no closer to getting my shipment. In several weeks, I could walk to Lansing and back to pick the order in person. In one week, more or less, I could order the merchandise through my local music shops. My reason for going online was speed; that and Elderly was already familiar with the products I wanted and I didn't need to help a local shop figure out how to order them.

It just boggles my mind that people living in civilized areas of the world would wait several weeks and then several more weeks for anything short of the elixir of eternal life. I thought I was a pretty laid back individual but I can see I haven't even started to understand laid back.

But Elderly has now found my order, solved the problem and bent over backwards to make me happy. And I will definately consider them in the future and won't forget the kindness of Stan and Ace (not to mention Mick).

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 05:43 PM

That's good news Mark. Reading your saga from start to here, there is nothing that would put me off dealing with Elderly. In fact I'm quite impressed by the efforts they made to rectify the problem.

On a personal level with orders going wrong, I think the company that impressed me the most was a company called Euronetwork. I'd just put in a small order maybe £15 for some audio leads. I couldn't get the credit card details through for some reason and decided to give up. The next day, I got a phone call from them telling me they noticed that I'd 3/4 placed an order and that they were wondering if there was a problem and if they could help. Matter, including order dealt with in 5 minutes over the phone.

I don't think I will often be buying audio cables again but that one call made the difference to me of probably never trying thier company again or happily reccommending thier services to others. A little old fashioned communication can go a long way!


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Subject: RE: Elderly Music's service sucks!
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 05:57 PM

So this has a happy ending?

I buy some stuff from Elderly. If I had the salarly of an "adult job" I'm sure I'd buy more ... but on a musician's dime, I buy only what I need. I have to say if I need something quick, I'd probably use a mail order business, and check the "quick ship" box on the order ... but I do keep track of every order I've made with Elderly, and have had to wait for a thing or two but never without reason or notice.

Elderly is actaully a great shop, and one of the few that I consider doing any serious business with. They are first a retail store. As Mark says, if you are buying an instrument, chances are you want to hear, touch it, smell it first! So, they're a good place to go and visit more then anything.

When I was playing in Chicago, I left Dallas a day early, just so I could go to Elderly and play the Banjola I bought from them. I did buy it on-line rather then on the spot, because I had other things to consider ... but it was shipped almost right away, and I had the tracking info on my confirmation notice. When they noticed that they didn't have the Hard Shell Case I'd ordered, they asked me if I wanted the instrument shipped right away, and then back order the case (for 2 weeks). I did. They handled all the shipping and the paperwork correctly and shipped me the case, on-time and told me when it shipped. A complication to the original order that couldn't be helped - and it was handled just fine.

Then I bought an LR Baggs magnetic pick up from Elderly (for the Banjola). Great pick up, by the way - but that's another thread. I played with it on my Larrivee (J10) for a few days, and fell in love with the pick-up, but I could not fit it to the Banjola without serious surgury - so I decided to return the pick-up. I called, asked how, was given instructions, and sent it back. No problems.

I know it's frustrating when things fall through the cracks ... but I have to say Elderly is great store, they've got great gear (don't even walk in the store with your credit card) and great staff ... I have been to the store twice - and easily spent 3 hours there each time ... I buy my strings from Just Strings or from Guitar Gallery (because I 6 or 7 sets at a time, and use Newtone Masters - and that's another thread, too).

I'm glad things worked out Mark - I wince every time I see this thread come up, because there just are't that many really stores around!


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: MAG
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 08:48 PM

I now buy my strings a box at a time from juststrings also.

I got stung by someplace in Florida (I don't recommend anything on-line from Fla -- too many fly-by-night outfits there). they sent the box late minus 2 sets, out of a dozen. Phone calls, emails complaining, nada. Know who you're dealing with.


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 10:48 PM

Jed,

I'm sorry I missed your gig in Chicago. I don't drive now and couldn't find a lift into the city from 100 miles out here in Peru, Illinois.

Everyone else,

Please note that my last order fom Elderly was hand delivered to me by Stan Werbin himself. It was the CD called Pete Seeger Sings Fats Domino---the one with the great version of "Ain't That A Shame"---even better than Pat Boone's superlative rendering of that seminal song. Stan had told me by e-mail that the CD doesn't exist. But I was blown away when he showed up at my door with it THE VERY NEXT DAY after flying by jet over to Beacon and having Pete record it for me personally right there in his bathroom because the acoustics are great in there.----- Was I satisfied with Elderly's service??? Hell no !! I was hoping they would've known I always had a crush on Karrie Potter (who works there sometimes) and they might've sent her here with the CD. She did take my order for it on the phone !!

But I guess they're o.k. -- after all.

They did know enough not to send Bob Blackman !!! I give 'em credit for that.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 02:26 AM

I ordered a VERY expensive uke from them about a year ago. It had a bowed neck and the E string had a perpetual buzz. They were very helpful, even offering to reimburse a local luthier to take a look at it (before I knew what the problem was). They paid for me to return it to them after the problem was diagnosed.

The replacement they sent me had a minor cosmetic flaw on the soundboard. I don't know if this was Martin's fault or if this thing got dinged in the show room but either way a $1500 uke should not have a ding on it. I sent this one back too but when I did they charged me for their shipping as well. I didn't think that this was fair because I had paid for a new instrument and I either received a dud from Martin or a shopworn one from Elderly.

I ended up not trying to get a third one only because I was sick of the process and I'm on Tim Laughlin's waiting list for a 3K. I did buy a new Goldtone banjolele from Elderly about 10 months ago or so. It was clearly shopworn. The wooden resonator had scratches on it from being rubbed up against the wall from where it was hanging. When I received it I immediately notified them of the problem and they told me that the best they could do is take $20 off the $300 price. I ended up getting a used banjolele for $280 when I could have gotten a new one for $300.

I have learned an expensive lesson, and I will never buy from them again.


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: Amos
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 12:51 PM

Here's a wonderful, humorous, in-depth video on Elderly--its great people and its mouth-watering array of instruments and other great stuff--with music!

A


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 02:21 PM

Great video, Amos!

Makes me a bit nervous to have such an ancient complaint thread maintained... undoubtedly their online ordering system has undergone a revision or two in the past decade!

A couple of comments...

I got my first vintage banjo from Elderly almost 30 years ago, corresponding by snail-mail from Alaska to get help choosing an instrument for a new player. The service was amazing. In less-complicated (and online) orders since, I've never had any trouble.

I notice a comment above about Ramsey banjos perpetually "on order, delivery date unknown". I just learned from our local banjo dealer (The Folk Shop) that some makers (we were discussing Chuck Lee, particular) have arrangements with Elderly to basically advertise their instruments. These are small shop, custom makers, so the instruments are not necessarily kept in stock at Elderly. Make an inquiry and arrangements will be made -- maybe even a custom instrument for you.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 12:49 PM

I'd forgotten all about this thread and that first experience with Elderly Instruments.

Since those days I've actually been to Elderly's store in Lansing on three occasions—although I didn't walk—because it was on my route to other places. I throughly enjoyed Stan and the entire staff. Elderly is a wonderful store and we'll be back any time we're in the neighborhood. That a store makes expensive instruments available for trial by casual customers is just amazing and they are very knowledgeable and helpful. They even stayed late one time knowing that we had to be back on the road to continue our journey.

I've also ordered online from Elderly several more times and their service has been top notch. I'd recommend Elderly to anyone wanting great service from well informed staff and I will continue to do business with them whenever I can.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 05:35 PM

Happy to see this old thread updated with more positive comments. I first went to Elderly Instruments when they were operating out of a large basement closet on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. I always get reliable service from them. I also appreciate the fact that many fine musicians work at Elderly as their day job. It's a hard job earning enough money from music to survive and at least if they're working at Elderly they have good company.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: GUEST,Gibsonboy
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 01:26 PM

Used them many times and always had good service, bought guitars, strings, capo's books etc no problem, and thats from the UK.


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Subject: RE: Experience with Elderly Instruments
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 03:01 PM

You will not find better luthiers anywhere. Customer service is by folks that know their business inside and out. If you want glitzy showrooms, and grab bag staff, to to Guitar Center. If you are a savvy musician that needs knowledgable staff, top quality product, and professional grade gear for stringed instruments, Elderly is it. The comments about scratched and shopworn equipment are unlike anything I have ever experienced there. They are, quite simply, the standard by which all top notch shops should be judged by.

Mick Lane


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