About a month ago a guy came into my shop with a deerhead. Almost as soon as he was in the door, I smelled something strange. At first I thought it was him! (wasn't body odor). After figuring out the smell was coming from the hide, it took me a minute to determine what the smell was. Diesel fuel.
Without really giving it a lot of thought, (I went with my gut instinct that this was a bad situation) I told the customer "I'm respectfully declining to accept you head". The guy proceeded to pick up the head and say a few choice words and tell me "I don't know why I brought my trophy here anyway, your work &@#$% sucks". I remained cool and as he was leaving I said "Have a good day sir". He screeched out of my driveway. Case closed, or so I thought.
Last week at the store I ran into another taxidermist and as always, "shop talk" started right up. This specific head also came up into the conversation. This customer was at his shop badmouthing me, and my work, etc over all this. I asked if he had accepted the head and his response was "No, because I already reached the limit I take in of heads per year, otherwise I would have".
He said if I didn't want to do the job I should have gave him a excuse, not flat out refused. I don't intentionally lie to anyone and something like this can come back at you. (What if his buddy called to bring in a head the next day and I accepted it?!) I think this may be more damaging than refusing work.
After I talked to the other taxidermist, I wondered if maybe I should have taken in the head and asked for advise on Taxidermy net. I went with my instinct. What do you guys think - was I wrong? How would you have handled this situation.
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I certainly don't think that you did the wrong thing. And I totally agree about not telling one customer one thing and then something else to another. But I am wondering if you discussed the problem with the potential customer. Now that I have read your story I think I would discuss the problem with him. If the facts you got from him leave you fealing like it's a bad idea at that point then I would still tell him no thanks! If the guy was that big of a jerk after talking about your fears with him then he would probably be a jerk no matter what you did. Better to not have him anyway.
I have had deer, bear and other furs come in with that smell.
Usually it is nothing more than fumes on the hair, much like
cigarette smoke clings to your hair when at a bar. I've never
had one come in that was physically soaked or had diesel fuel
on it. The bed of most loggers and excavators trucks smell
that way. I think you were right with your concerns. To be
quite honest, I'm not sure of the effects of diesel fuel on
a skin. If you feel you can handle a particular job for one
reason or another, be honest with the customer, they usually
understand. If they don't, you don't want them as a customer.
WHAT WAS HE GOING TO TELL ALL HIS BUDDIES WHEN THEY CAME TO SEE HIS DEERHEAD AND I SMELLED LIKE FUEL HOW MUCH BUISNESS DO YOU LOOSE THEN IF HE BAD MOUTHS YOUR WORK BECAUSE YOU REFUSED HIS I CAN SEE HIM SAYING "DAMN TAXIDERMIST, GOT MY HEAD BACK AND IT SMELLS LIKE FUEL, DONT TAKE ANYTHING TO HIM HE RUINED MY DEER " YOU DID THE RIGHT THING
YES YOU SMART ASSES I SPELLED IT WRONG
Personally, I don't think the fuel would hurt the hide, after all some taxidermist degrease animals in gas (but not a good idea)I would have been more concerned about a rotting smell...Anyway If the guy reacted that way I sure would'nt want him for a customer, I sure wouldn't worry about it.
I appreciate the input, at least I know now that I wouldn't have been the only one to turn down a skin in this condition. Maybe I should have discussed it with him, but I'm not sure he would have seen it in any other light than his own. None of us needs customers like this guy.