Out of Touch

Out-of-TouchMore and more this past decade I’m finding people having distorted values of the quality in craftsmanship. I find it every time I show a home where buyers are simply looking at the superficials. Again, it’s too much of the comparing that which is familiar around them and settling for the standard cookie cutter creations that likely thousands of the same have been manufactured for the general public.

As for me, I’m finding myself giving crash courses on quality of construction with buyers. It doesn’t take long to understand that either the buyers “get it” or they continue on their paths of wanting something that looks like what they’ve seen on the television. From then on, I conduct myself accordingly. I’ll never forget a comment made by a member of a church that just received as a gift a beautiful grand piano. I happened to see the piano before it was gifted and was touched by the benefactor’s generosity. The member said to me, “I’ll guess that piano must be worth several thousand dollars.” I looked at him with wide-eyed amazement and said, “That piano is likely worth between 30 and 35 thousand dollars!” That was yet another crash course in value.

It comes as absolutely no surprise when I hear of something being sold for likely ten cents on the dollar simply because of the ignorance of the general public. Most of the time I just shake my head and walk away. Several weeks ago I was at a clients home to do some preliminary work on a listing. She had several framed pictures on her table and I asked her if she had just purchased them. She said she happened to find them at a rummage sale and asked how I liked the prints. I took a closer look and instantly discovered that they were not prints, but rather original watercolors. She was delighted to hear it because of the small price she paid for them. Good luck for her but bad luck for whomever sold them. When people don’t know any different, it’s to be expected.

One of my great appreciations is the detail of hand work; be it in construction, painting, woodworking, metalworking, and all the other forms of making something from nearly nothing. When people expect jobs to be finished in short periods of time, consider those lost artisans who spent weeks, months, and even years on just one project. I know too well how easily one can loose interest in a long term project. A key ingredient of staying interested, is to work on the project in smaller sections and blocks of time. Too many look at a large project as a whole and subsequently loose heart. It would be better to dissect the project and work on the smaller sections—interest remains and the project will likely get finished.

I do hope parents begin to encourage their children to explore more fully the arts so that whenever they encounter quality of workmanship they will not be considered out of touch with core values.

Joe Chodur

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