In the office, in Paris, today. Finishing up my taxes and expenses; last minute again. 2 more days, and we head back to China, on Sunday. Suki’s at home, packing. Then we’re doing the usual; driving all afternoon, doing pickups. We’ll be carrying more than we can handle this trip. Should be quite the adventure. I sure hope I’m up for the extra hauling. I should rest up.
Well, it’s been a long 9 months; but I’m finally headed back to Canada. But, it’s weird. As badly as I want to go back, the timing just isn’t right. It’s never right. There’s always something going on; something I’ll be missing; a show, a wedding, a party, a campfire… If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the timing is never good for travel.
But now I’m going back and I’m glad. I’m excited to see my family and friends. There are also a bunch of things I need to take care of.
Finally! It’s been 9 months. Unbelievable.
I had a heated conversation with the sales person of a case building company, in their booth, today, in Guangzhou. I walked into their booth before realizing who they were. Then, I recited the story of the mistakes that were made by them, when we ordered our first 10 pieces.
Now, looking back, I probably should not have had that conversation, in Chinese, in front of their customers. However, I have attempted to have this issue resolved, and they have not made an effort to do so. So, this was the alternative to walking out on them without giving them a second chance.
I’m not one who should refuse to give anyone a second chance.
The fact is, they have some beautiful designs, which I would consider to buy provided they are willing to prove they are willing to give good service.
With each machine, we give tools. They’re as much for the operator to use, as they are for us to use when we visit. Chinese factories do not own tools. This is a fact.
It starts with the customer losing the tools we gave them. They’re imperial size, and China uses metric sizes. So, the search begins. The customer found a local supplier who has a set in stock and placed the order. The tool was to be delivered in the morning from the city (1 hour away from the factory). Perfect, we’re staying in the city, and need a ride to the factory! “Can the driver pick us up and bring us here in the morning?” I asked our contact. “It shouldn’t be a problem”, he replied.
This morning, we woke up as usual, had breakfast, and waited. We waited until 10:30am, at which point, I decided we’d waited long enough. I sent a text message, in Chinese, which if I do say so myself, is a great accomplishment in itself. “If you cannot make arrangements to pick us up, we will get there on our own.” I was implying a little bit of, “If you’re incapable, let me know.” His response, “I don’t have the authority to arrange a car for you.”
And so the day begins…
Our tool was said to be arriving by noon. We agreed that we would arrive at the factory for 1pm. At quarter after 1, we made another phone call to our contact. “Where’s the tool?”, Leon asked. “I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”, he replied. 20 minutes later, “This is metric.”, “No way, they said it is imperial.”, “No, it’s definitely metric, just like this one. We’ve got a cab waiting, we’ll head back to the hotel, now.” He immediately gets on the phone, and makes arrangements to get the new tool delivered (suddenly they have a car). “It will be here in 1 hour.”, he said, (that’s how long it takes to get from the city, to the factory) “You can wait in the office.”
He leads us to room, on the outside of the factory. There was no heater. An empty room, with two empty desks and two chairs. It’s near zero degrees outside. It’s cold.
One hour later, “We are freezing, do you not have a warmer room?”, I wrote via text message. Almost 20 minutes later, and he strolls on in. I’m not too happy, and ask again, “Do you have a warm room? Why did you leave us here for an hour?” While we’re walking to their offices with heaters, which are on the other end of the compound, he asks, “Isn’t Canada cold like it is here?” “Yes, but we Canadians put people in rooms with heat.”
Another hour goes by, finally warming up, we’re thinking, “it only takes one hour to drive from the city. Where are these tools?” Finally our friend comes strolling back in. “Here it is.”
In my hand, I’m holding the very tool which we gave them with the machine. The one that has been missing for 2 days. Am I to believe he just came back from town and bought back the same tool which we sent with the machine? One which says on it, “Manufactured in USA.”?
We did some work on the machine. Tomorrow we’ll be taking our own taxi back to the factory to finish our work and get outta here!
During my brother’s visit to China last night, he left me his headphones. They really are incredible!
I’ve used this type of headphone before, mostly for live sound & studio work. I hadn’t thought much of using them for casual listening. But the fidelity, and detail you hear through good headphones is a nice surprise.
Normally I use middle-grade Shure IEMs for their convenience on the road, but there is no sound like what you hear from over-ear type headphones.
They come in black/red or this classy brown, with a fancy travel case, and include a phone-compatible cable, with microphone.
After 72-years, the aluminum processing plant in Quebec is slated to close. I’m not sure what this says for the wire-industry. Alcan has most recently been bought by the cable-manufacturing giant, General Cable.
Update: Apparently Alcan only sold General Cable their wire division. This plant is not directly associated with the wire-industry, though I would think that a large amount of the aluminum they processed was used to make cable.
Photo by -AX-
I was thinking today, as I played a comedy skit off of Netflix, for my family; there’s something important that’s been lost though new media. What’s missing is, the experience of sharing music, movies, tv shows and other media which you enjoyed, with other people.
When I watch movies with my friends, now-days. The question isn’t what should we watch, it is now, “What is there that none of us have seen yet?”.
I remember growing up, my brother and I could recite scenes from every VHS we owned. We’d seem them all 50 times each. And, every time our friends came by it wasn’t, “Lets see what’s new on Netflix”, or even at Blockbuster (does that place still exhist?).. it was time to browse our shelf of VHS movies for something we’d all seen before, but enjoyed (many times over)!
I had the chance to work on crew with Stringnoize, in Kitchener, on Wednesday. It’s been a long time, and it was great to spend time with old friends (on the job of course).
Finally, home from the office. I turn on our new and awesome, Bose sound system, which my wife picked out. She knew that I’d only be satisfied by the best sound. I crash down on the couch to the beat of Mat Kearney playing real loud!
I’ve been duelling it out with a laser engraving machine all afternoon, and really need to wind down.
We have officially opened Kalmark’s (Kunming) Asia Sales Office. There’s really nothing to see, but it’ll be somewhere for us to get started with. It’s great to be sharing the space with some good friends of mine.
We’ve got some painting and minor renovations to do to make the place a comfortable work-space.
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