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An Awkward Situation...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Peter B., Dec 5, 2011.

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  1. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    The firewood supplier I've used for a number of years 'failed me' pretty badly this year, bringing me mostly marginal wood. I made some noise and they split the last pickup loads to smaller sizes... and I figured I would just have to make do.

    I stacked the wood and - for the hell of it - measured the stacks... and there appears to be a real shortfall. Five truckloads should be close to 2.5 cords. If I've got 1.5 on hand, it's a stretch. I _might_ have burned as much as a half cord of what they brought me already, but I think that would also be a stretch.

    I've trusted these people through the years and _don't_ think they'd deliberately short me. But it appears as if - accidentally - I'm a pickup load shy. Yet I have no way of proving it, and it might make for such bad feeling that they wouldn't supply me anymore... or even make up the <needed> difference in my winter's fuel supply.

    Any suggestions on how to handle this?

    Thanks...

    Peter B.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'd call them on the shortfall. How they deal with it would determine if I were to do business with them again. Everyone makes mistakes, what is done to correct one is what is most important.

    But, if at all possible, I think I'd be making plans to keep a bit further ahead on the wood and just plan on getting marginal wood as being the norm. Time to take seasoning into your own hands.

    pen
  3. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    that is a big difference. If I had a long time customer that was unhappy, I would want to know.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Very well stated! Give them the opportunity to make things right and assume they are still good. If that proves wrong then you know you have to find another supply.
  5. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    So far unanimous, it appears...

    I only discovered the shortfall yesterday, and have been a little too bent out of shape since then to call the supplier.

    I think I'll get out and measure the stacks again tomorrow, 'run the numbers' again and make dam sure I've got things right.

    But I don't think I would have bothered to measure the first time if the total didn't somehow seem light.

    Thanks to all for your 'time and attention'.

    PB

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  6. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Pretty tough to make a case if you call them on it now that you have addmitedly burned some since they have no idea how much you may have burned. Still, I guess you can try.
    So how much do you feel you are short exactly? 1/2 a cord? 1 cord? I'm sure they'll want to know.
  7. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    One of the reasons why I turned into a scrounger, Ill even buy some wood from people on craigslist if the price is right, only problem is you need either a truck or a trailer and have to plan ahead. Good luck with your wood guy, hope he makes things right with you.
  8. maxed_out

    maxed_out New Member

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    Peter, can you post a pic of the newly stacked wood -itmight help us? 5 truckloads do you mean 5 full size pickup loads or something larger? agree sounds off.
  9. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    My neighbor that sells firewood has all his wood in measured stacks. So when you buy you know that you bought a cord per stack. I think most suppliers don't go that extra mile. They just have an idea that the delivery truck holds X amount throwed on. It can vary from load to load that way unless they figure in extra to account for it. Either way if you just call up to have a load delivered I figure its your mercy as to what they will actually dump in your yard.
  10. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    Photos of the stacks - on the porch and out back - wouldn't 'do justice', I don't think.

    Here's what I came up with today:

    Stack 1 - 120" x 44" x 14" - 73,920 cu in - 42.77 cu ft - .333 cord

    Stack 2 - 84" x 64" x 14" - 75,264 cu in - 43.55 cu ft - .340 cord

    Stack 3 - 84" x 48" x 28" - 112,896 cu in - 65.33 cu ft - .509 cord

    Anyone care to check the math, I'd appreciate it.

    But again, I'm going to do it all again tomorrow.

    These dimensions are 'conservatiive', and I should try to be a little more exacting.

    PB

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  11. schortie

    schortie Member

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    I say kudos to you for not blowing your stack. In situations like this I would have called the guy at the height of my frustration and probably would have been left shorted on wood and with no wood supplier. It's something I've been trying to work on. Thankfully for me (and wood sellers) I scrounge my own wood.

    You might want to try this handy site for calculating the volume of your stacks. http://www.maine.gov/ag/firewood.html
  12. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    It is a buyer's market. Call your guy and explain it to him. If he cooperates then keep giving him your business. If not, I am sure you could easily find a supplier to fill that void. I scrounge wood mostly because I know you will not get what you are paying for. Seems like people are always getting shorted by the firewood folks. Might be better of buying logs.
  13. onetracker

    onetracker Minister of Fire

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    i've got a full size pickup and, if i'm not mistaken, i think a 1/2 cord per load would be pushing it. the last cord i pulled outta the woods took 3 truckloads
    (i think)

    so ....

    5 loads x 1/3 cord/per = 1 2/3 cord

    you short about .8 cord.

    each of his loads was equally light.

    he should know this.
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Were you there when they dropped off the wood? Was this a chevy s-10 or ford ranger or something? A full sized truck w/ 6 foot box will hold pretty near exactly 1/3 of a cord nicely in it's bed so long as it's not completely loosely thrown in.

    I have an f150 w/ 8 foot box and loaded up so that the springs are about 1.5 inches from the bump stops it will hold a 1/2 cord of wood w/out much sticking up over the bed rails.

    I just am absolutely surprised that they could bring 5 truck loads and have that little w/out the trucks looking obviously light.

    Maybe call them up and ask if the person who delivered is a new guy? Or if the driver didn't realize you bought and paid for 2.5 cords since you only received about 1/2 that much? I'd make it sound like you aren't angry with them but phrase it as if you are surprised that there is a misunderstanding, simple mistake, new guy-itis on their part, etc, etc.

    If they have been good to you in the past, there must be something going on to be that far off.

    At the end of the day, if you are paying full price per cord for 1/2 as much as you should be getting, then you'd be better off purchasing manufactured logs that you wouldn't have to worry about being seasoned or not.

    pen
  15. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    Full size Dodge Ram. Same man, wife, son team as previous years. Three different delivery days. I was there to see three loads dropped off, a fourth arrived when I wasn't home. Again, I don't know if there was a fifth.

    And once more, I should really do the 'inventory' again to verify. I don't think I'm far off, but I want to be sure.

    Now being able to visualize a third of a cord stacked on my porch, I _KNOW_ I haven't burned a half cord of what they delivered this year.

    I'll check back in when I've got something more...

    PB

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  16. WoodNStuff

    WoodNStuff Minister of Fire

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    Congrats on being so calm about this. The best approach is the calm, non judgmental approach. Since you're a long time customer, would be better to be honest and say that the load is light. If they value your business, they'll listen with respect and work with you to a mutual resolution.
  17. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    Actually, posting here and getting some empathetic replies has helped me through this evening... I might have busted a gut otherwise.

    Thanks to all of you.

    PB

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  18. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    A brief update, and a request for a second round of opinions...

    I re-measured the wood stacks (using slightly different methods) and came up with a total only .05 cords different than the first estimate - 1.23 as opposed to 1.18.

    If I consider I've burned a full quarter cord since taking delivery of the first pickup load, then I could add .25 cord to that total... which would then be near 1.5 cords delivered.

    Scouring the web, I find 1/2 cord mentioned as often (or moreso) than 1/3 cord as the average 8' bed pickup load.

    So if there really were 5 pickup loads delivered at .5 cord / per, I should have about 2.25 cords remaining.

    But if there were 5 pickup loads delivered at .33 cord / per, I guess what I have left would be in the ball park.

    In the end, I just want to be sure I've got enough wood to get through the winter.

    I've made a call, discussed the situation with the wife, and 'the man' is supposed to call me this evening.

    Any further thoughts here?

    Again, I appreciate the input.

    Thanks...

    Peter B.

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  19. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I'm the owner of a small accounting firm. Mistakes happen, and a good business will be apologetic if they make a mistake such as an error in measuring off the wood. If the guy is inflexible and unreasonable, then he has really lost out. Long term reliable customers are the number one thing that keeps doors open...especially when they refer business. This man should call you within 24 hours given that he knows you have a problem with his service. If he's jerky...move on
  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    You feel you were shorted,
    You measured & with honesty, are sure you were shorted.
    Give the supplier the honest facts,
    See how he responds.
    Then go from there.
    Don't cry before you are hurt, he may agree & bring you what you were shorted. Then all is good.
    You are a valuable good customer now, how he responds will help you decide if you still are afterwards.
    I bet he comes thru :)
  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    that helped himself someone did to your wood, time at a that you were not there, you know this how, Jedi apprentice?
  22. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    I've been burned on firewood, and know how you feel. It's got to be especially frustrating in winter, when you're hoping to burn that wood right away.

    I had one of the situations put right, and the other I'm still working on--I have been calling back on an irregular basis, and I think he'll eventually come through and put this right.

    I've come to the conclusion that if I have to buy wood, I'm better off paying for it cut to length, split, and stacked, if the price is right. That way you know what you've got. A good place to have a moisture meter, too. References are good, too. It might be helpful when you talk to these folks to work in a subtle reminder of your long-standing relationship with them. "I've always known you to be straight shooters--I've been buying wood from you since 1876 and you've always done right by me, so I thought you'd want to know . . . " This establishes from the outset that you're not accusing them of dishonesty.

    Good luck getting your wood in for the winter and beyond.
  23. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I have bought wood only twice...both during my 1st year burning and not being prepared. One was an ole timer and he had the wood stacked and measured when I went to pay him, he was onsessed with measuring to be sure I got an honest cord. The other guy was a referral from a co-worker, delivered the wood on small pallets in shrink wrap(which was taken off immediatly). Once I restacked, the 2 cord delivery came out to under 1.5 cords. This same guy delivers triax loads and I had expressed interest in a load. When I called and stated I was short he was surprised but said would make it good. Weeks went by and one day I get a call from him about the triax load interest, I stated you still have not made good on my 2 cords. Never heard from him again....def rubbing me the wrong way but I let it go as I don't want to lose a friend at work over it. So, call them up and as stated prev here the response dictates if you'll do future business with them.
  24. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    I thought I should update this thread, since a resolution came about this morning.

    The seller maintains he brought me 5 loads of wood. I believe him.

    However, (as described) after carefully measuring the wood on hand, I knew that I neither had enough for the winter, nor did I have what I 'expected' in terms of quantity from 5 pickup loads.

    This morning, I noted that his truck is a 'club cab' model. I looked up specs for the model year, and it looks like the club cab was only available with a 6.5' bed. The truck bed also has a plastic liner.

    I calculated the 'ideal' capacity from specs found online for a 6.5' bed... about .40 cord... perfectly stacked to the top of the bed sides... but of course, it's a 'loose' load, not stacked... and not in excess of the bed sides.

    So, the estimate of a third cord for this particular truck seems about right... and fairly closely jibes with the amount of wood I measured... and had already burned.

    When all is said and done, it appears I paid $90. per face cord... which may not be terribly out of line... though I (obviously) thought I was 'doing better'.

    This morning, the seller brought me another pickup load for free... with no animosity involved. I offered to pay and he refused.

    And I'll likely call him again next year... although - point taken - I really _ought_ to get a year or two ahead.

    Thanks for the wisdom (and what not) offered here...

    Peter B.

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  25. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    That's pricey but having you comfortable at the end of the day is what is most important.

    Around here, split 1/3 cord of wood is 45-55 dollras. Add 10-15 for delivery. Not saying that is the norm or a standard, just saying that's what we see around here.

    Good luck getting next year's wood on hand early!

    pen
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