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Heating wholesalers are a unique breed

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited March 2017 in THE MAIN WALL
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Heating wholesalers are a unique breed

Read the full story here


John Mills_5kcopp

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  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    In the end all that is left of us are the memories other people have of us. You can tell a lot about a person by how they are remembered.
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    Jackmartin
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Amen, Bob.
    Retired and loving it.
  • TomShannon
    TomShannon Member Posts: 4
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    What will we ever do without your insight, a good story, we all know an Uncle Tony
    Jackmartin
  • Jahweh99
    Jahweh99 Member Posts: 1
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    Thank you for sharing, miss the good old days. Our youth are missing out on life lessons that the internet cannot teach, unless of course they are reading your Blogs.
    Jackmartin
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Michael Dilling
    Michael Dilling Member Posts: 10
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    I have been in Uncle Tony's position, listening to some technician rattle on exposing ever more deeply why he should not have accepted a particular repair job. There does come a point when you can hardly resist reaching over the counter and render a huge "dope slap". So you do what it takes to get the guy the right information and out of your store.
    Sadly, the technical ability of counter people in many areas is deeply lacking. I heard one counter guy tell a contractor, "I don't know that stuff! My job is to sell you the equipment and parts you tell me you want, not design the job for you!" As was expected it was a long time before that contractor came back. The internet and manufacturers websites have replaced the need for actual knowledge and experience.
    To me, it's just more of the attitude of no respect for the heating and plumbing professionals, the attitude that "anyone can do that". "So why pay a professional when I can get Billy Bob down the street who has a pipe wrench to do it for a lot less? The professionals need to ponder and find answers to that question.
    Maybe the answer lies in knowing when and when not to bring donuts?
    Jackmartin
  • PaulCaesar
    PaulCaesar Member Posts: 1
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    Great story! I remember counter men kike Tony.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,246
    edited March 2017
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    Canadians are sensitive to the almighty donut also.

    I always scope out the nearest Tim Hortons when I make calls north of the border

    Tim-bits. or Tim-nuts as I call them are popular. Less Calories
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Jackmartin
  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
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    Well I am Canadian and yes we like donuts and we also line up for soft icecream when it 15 degrees out never too cold for ice cream! We had an Uncle Tony here in Winnipeg that worked at Wolsley until he was now get this 85 years old. He kept trying to retire but since he was the only one who knew what the hell he was doing Wosley or should I say Westburne at that time just kept upping the wages they paid him so back he came. Steve was ,and very few people knew, a journeyman boiler maker and he had a terriable injury to both his hands so the boiler making trades lose was our gain. I remember going. and asking him questions that now I am an old fart seem so stupid. Steve never made fun of you or was ever crtical unless you broke the cardinal rule : you tried to argue that he was not correct. Then you not only never got anymore help he refused to recognize you any longer you were to Steve effectively invisable. Rest in peace Steve Marowski we still miss you and no one has come along to replace your knowledge ethier. Jack Martin




  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    A fine telling, Jack. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    Early in my career I learned to always listen respectfully when somebody older than me offered advice, you do get the occasional blowhard but a lot of those duffers knew their stuff. it's just amazing what you can learn by just listening. It's also amazing how little you learn by arguing.

    And now I'm the old duffer.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Me, too, Bob.
    Retired and loving it.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
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    Being a technician;
    1. I have learned that you can not learn anything if your mouth is moving.
    2. Listen to everything the customer is saying, even if it sounds ridiculous. Sort it out later to what "could" happen.
    3. Always believe there is another problem other than what you think it should be. Then you won't be surprised.
    Picked up these tidbits over the years listening to others. My grandfather in-law was a caerer plumber who I was hoping to get quite a bit of advice from when I got in to the business, but he passed away before he was able to move up here and be around for questions. I really miss him. He had some funny stories.
    My father in-law was a 30 year union plumber, but when he retired, he was done and didn't want anything to do with it, so didn't get much info from him.
    Unfortunately, we do not have any old timers around here to chat with, so I get most of my tricks on these sites. Social media you know!
    There is one customer of mine who used to do guided bear hunts who has a been around here for his entire life. He can tel some great stories, and has written a book with his life telling them. Being mostly a city boy, I have tried talking him in to writing another one just on the basics of outdoor life. How to survive when camping for 3 months, what is the best all around rifle round, things like that. I would love to see that book. Unfortunately, at his age, he is not up for it. Will be a big loss.
    I think we should have a spot on here for us to put together tricks of the trade info, then Dan can compile it and make another Holohan classic! Seriously, it would be nice to have a spot archived just for that.
    Slightly off post.... but...an idea.
    Rick
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    I moved back to my home town in 1977.
    There were 2 other electricians, who were also in plumbing & HVAC. (Both WW2 vets self educated in a variety of trades)

    One was very laid back and we got along pretty well.
    The other had a son my age and seemed to hope he would carry on the trades.
    There was a lot of friction between that father and myself.....I am certain I added to this on my own as I was the pro who had learned/knew everything there was from working in the city for about 5 years. Just that alone rubs many rural people wrong.
    Anyway the son moved away. The old vet kept his cards close to his chest most of his life. For example, there was a boiler system with pneumatic controls that was off limits to me for a long time. When I did take over servicing of this system, he did try to explain how it worked........but we both waited to long to bury the small hatchet between us. He was perhaps in his 80's and from talking to him I realized he was having more problems with "senior moments" than most thought. So I had to start basically from scratch.
    I hold those cards now somewhat close mainly to keep things from getting "correctly adjusted" by well meaning individuals. But I hope to pass the torch to someone before the senior moments really kick in.

    It all amounts to learning to maintain communications with the previous generation. Their experiences are invaluable and should be shared. Attitude adjustment should come earlier in life, sometimes the young & dumb stay that way too long.
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,047
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    The role of distribution was not only to train the trade. When I quit working with the tools in '85, I began working with a Rep Agency. To say that I didn't know me a** from my elbow in the business end of the business would be the mildest form of understatement. There were countless distributor folks with whom I sat across a desk, learning how to read upside down who were very patient with me. Ed Quigley and George Dekeon at Bell Simons, Buster at The Portland Group, Charlie Slattery at FW Webb. Oooo, Charlie, he was great, as long as I was prepared. With Charlie, the lesson was when you weren't;) Perhaps the most pleasant experience was with Al Kadden, of Victor Manuf in Hartford. I would go off on a pitch to Al and he would listen patiently and when I would finally take a breathe, Al would just go into hysterics. He was like Buster Keaton in Mary Poppins. When he would come down he would patiently lead me along. Again, there are many meaningful touches in our apprenticeships in any aspect of our industry. It was a different world then. We had no internet, or internet sales. Manufacturers were in control of their channels and there was comfort in the manuf, distributor, dealer, consumer.
    I look back to the mechanics I worked with in the 60's-70's, on to the distributors I worked with in Rep business and all I can say is we keep learning from good people...and it was largely those mechanics in the 60's and 70's who made me successful in my Rep business.
    Dan, keep telling the good stories!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Jack, please keep doing the same. This one really made me smile. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    I remember a gentle man named Mr. Good (seriously). He owned Water Systems, Inc. in Denver. Their warehouse was one of the biggest in Denver. He had fittings that most people have never seen, and he knew exactly where each one was, in his mind. You could ask him if he had a 6 x 4 x 3 threaded cast tee, and he'd stop, lean back, close his eyes for a minute, almost looked like he was taking a nap. Suddenly, he'd open his eyes and say "Isle 22, top shelf, left hand side..." Sure enough, that's where it would be. Amazing fellow and very friendly to all he met. His son Jeff took over the operations, and eventually merged with another company called Rampart Supply. There was always a cold keg of beer in the back for employees and customers. Bar opened at 5:00 PM. They are still there, but they got rid of the beer keg in the back... Too much liability.

    Great place (still) to do business with. And they still have 6 x 4 x 3 cast tees and anything else you might need.

    ME

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    CLamb
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Great story, Mark. I wish I had known Mr. Good.
    Retired and loving it.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,282
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    If I could do it again I'd not only listen better,but also write it down (up?) right away before my dumb brain forgot or mixed it up.