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Rio Grande and Us

I have been just as annoyed with Rio Grande as the rest of ya. But
something occurred to me last night. We helped cause this. Right
here. On the internet.

The representative from Rio Grande says the sudden increase in
business was completely unexpected and caught them unprepared. I can
see that. The economy is sluggish, you’re moving in to the slowest
time of the year. You aren’t running some huge ad campaign, or doing
anything new and different to get new customers.

Then suddenly you have a really good month for no reason you can
figure out. Oh wow, wasn’t that nice? Then another. Only the most
optimistic of us would expect the trend to continue. The rest of us
would be grateful that we’ve had a good quarter and beg everybody to
work more overtime. Who wants to hire someone, spend the money to
train them, and turn around and lay them off next month? At what
point do you realize it’s not just a fluke?

So what does that have to do with us? Well, here’s my theory. (And
it’s just a theory, if you don’t like it please don’t yell at me!) I
was looking (on another forum) for a message I posted last winter so
I could paste the to someone else with a similar
question. Going through every message I’d posted there, I noticed how
many times I had replied to a supply query with: ‘Try Rio Grande’. Or
’Rio Grande has those’. Or, ‘I think that’s in the Rio catalog’. It
was quite a lot, especially considering I don’t post anywhere very
often because I type all day, so after work I’d rather just lurk and
read messages.

Since some things on the internet archive forever, these notes stay
out there and they don’t just add up, they multiply! How many people
who are just starting out with beadwork or wirewrapping or a
silversmithing class and might not have found Rio Grande (or any
other supplier) for months or even years when they got around to
writing for a catalog from a supplier list in a book or class? And
how many people in the business for years have given some supply
company a second look because a message on a list somewhere said you
can get that from . Now we get that kind of
in an instant! I bet if they surveyed every new customer
they gotten this year, 90% of them would say they heard about them on
the internet.

As for the computer problems, ouch! I’m sure they had this change
scheduled for a long time. And to their credit, they made the change
when they expected business to be slumping for the summer. Of course
it’s bad planning on their part, but it’s also just plain bad luck
(for them AND us) it all went kablooey at the same time.

So I’ll stick with Rio Grande. They’ll get past this. No where else
has the diversity of stuff I need/want all in one place. Now, I just
wish I had a product with that kind of word of mouth help.


You might like to try the Swest company. They are starting to go
towards the customer who is interested in the beads and wirewrapping
industry. They have come out with a new silver catalog and are
carrying a large selection of beads and the items you need to work
with them at this time.

Andy "The Tool Guy’’ Kroungold
Sales/ Tools/Specialist
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 4194-4191
Fax 337-262-7791

I resisted contributing to this thread, but can do so no longer. Some
of the messages read as though Rio Grande is deliberately screwing
up their customer service as some personal affront. They do want
your business. I’ve been dealing with them since Saul Bell worked
the gold counter and have met many of the family members. All have
been extrmely helpful.

I would like to suggest a scenario. I don’t know this to be the
case, but here goes. It has to do with computer software. An
analogy: My wife managed the computer store for a university in San
Francisco. They bought a POS (point of sale) program to facilitate
things. The store paid something like $180,000 for the software. It
failed and then the software company wanted another $85,00 to correct
the failures of the system they sold to the university. This is not
an isolated situation; every library which converted from a card
catalog to a computer based catalog likely has a comparable horror

The point of this is that, I’m assuming Rio Grande, is doing this to
improve their customer service not to cause their customers more
agravation. Give them some slack. KPK


You pose an interesting theory…wish there was some way to
document it more fully. Bet there are lots of PR execs out there who
would pay dearly for such I too have bought from and
recommended Rio many times to new students/hobbiests/professionals
alike. Recently I have begun to diversify my purchasing habits a bit
and so haven’t had a specific reason to contact or purchase from
them. But, in the 15 or so years I have purchased from Rio, I cannot
remember a bad experience. I agree with you…they are too big and
well organized (well, WERE organized) not to get things back on
track. Hopefully that will be soon and we can all settle down
again. Just a happy customer!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where it remains
pretty warm but no hurricanes as yet and where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry! @coralnut1

  I have been just as annoyed with Rio Grande as the rest of ya.
But something occurred to me last night. We helped cause this. Right
here. On the internet. The representative from Rio Grande says the
sudden increase in business was completely unexpected and caught
them unprepared. 

Hi Laura; It’s an interesting theory, and it might be right, but I’m
wondering if the scale of response could have been adequate to create
the problem. If you can find a book called “the Fifth Discipline” a
book on management, there’s an example of what is called in business
school “the beer game” about a beer distribution network. It’s too
complex to go into here, but it might be a good explanation of what
happened with Rio. That book is a good work to learn about how
typical managment problems arise as a result of traditional
management methods.

David L. Huffman