Many people in the pen community, and in society in general, like to make a direct connection with each other. They want to personally get to know others with their interests. And this is especially true if they are considering sending off their valuable and sentimental pens!
Some time ago, we made the choice to remove our personal contact information from this site. In connection with this, we made arrangements with two excellent pen shops to act as our agents in accepting repairs. It has come to my attention that this choice is confusing to some people, so I thought it might be good to clarify our decisions. There are two main factors at play: one personal, and one which is strictly business.
Business Is Business
First, down to business. Time is money, and none of us have much time. Like the majority of pen repairers, I have to do things other than pen repair in order to pay my bills. I have another full-time job, and several disabled dependents. When interacting with repair clients, time slips away quickly. If I write emails to each customer, or meet them in person to pick up or drop off repairs, it can easily add an hour or two on to a repair which is billed as a half-hour job.
I then have to make a choice: do I triple, or quadruple, my fees to make up for that time spent with a client? Or do I simply consider that time part of doing business, which is essentially taking a 75% pay cut? This is, obviously, a difficult choice. However, there is another, personal, factor in play.
Disability Is Business, Too
I am autistic: I have what used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome. I can’t simply chat with people like so many can. It is like living in a foreign language you barely know; everything has to be translated and figured out as you go, and you feel exhausted afterwards. Usually you say the wrong thing, and people get upset. This includes not only face-to-face conversations, but also email, phone calls, and things like Facebook and forums.
And so, if I publish my email, answer my phone, hang around online forums, and meet with folks in person, I will not be able to save pens. I won’t have enough time, and I won’t have enough energy. There are lots of people who love to chat, and be friends, and enthuse about pens. But there are very few who can look at a pen and know immediately how it is put together, how to take it apart, and why it is not doing what it should; how to make the part it needs; the structure of the components, and what stresses they can withstand.
I have made the choice to spend time doing what I do well: pen repair. I rely on Peter Laywine and Russell Hemsworth, and their amazing teams, to do the talking for me. Unlike me, they are excellent communicators. Our arrangements are not perfect, because we are all people. But it means your questions get answered, and I get to spend my time saving pens. Your pens.
There may come a time when my life’s balances will change, and that might enable me to open up some forms of direct contact. But for now, thanks for your support and understanding.