Tiny bit of back story here: The first fitter is a rep for the XYZ saddle company. Second fitter is a western fitter with limited knowledge of English saddle fitting.
Second fitter flexes the tree, looks at the customer, and says, "Is this built on a spring tree?" Customer calls me and asks the same question. Yes, I tell her, the Baines saddles are built on spring trees. Customer puts second fitter on the phone with me, and I repeat the info. Second fitter says she suspected as much, but not being completely familiar with English saddles, wanted to be sure. I asked her if the saddle flexed symmetrically, and if there were any noises of an evil nature; she responded with "yes" and "no" respectively. Customer, who now suspects the extent of the XYZ rep's knowledge (and rightly suspects rep is aiming for a sale), decides to box the saddle up and send it to me for flocking, and also decides to send me her saddle for an adjustment as well.
Moral of this story? Well, there are several:
- First: go with an independent fitter if possible - in general, they're more objective.
- Second: brand-certified reps may well try to sell you a saddle - chances are, that's their biggest source of revenue, and in the crappy economic climate we're presently enjoying, it's understandable.
- Third: just because someone is an XYZ certified fitter doesn't necessarily mean they have a comprehensive education (see previous post, "Brand Certified Fitters" section).
- Fourth - and this is to the XYZ rep: You had a chance to make money on two flocking adjustments, and possibly add to your client list. Instead, you just lost a customer and gained a large black mark on your reputation. One unhappy customer will give you a lot more press than 5 happy customers, and you can pretty much bet this woman will be sharing her experience with all of her friends. If you're lucky, she won't be spreading it via online forums, bbs, chat rooms, etc. And remember, the western fitter knows what happened, too. If you honestly felt there was an issue with the saddle tree, please take this as an indication that you need to further your education. And if you were just pushing for a sale, remember this: flocking adjustments are an ongoing source of income. You can work on a wide range of saddles ... or you can just work on the XYZ saddles that you've sold. You do the math.