Saying "No."

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Jun 15, 2011
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I ran into some of the same issues when I first started when making delivery's so I stopped and changed to pick up only. It just wasn't worth the hassle. As for not selling because of health issues and trying to stay safe. Everyone has to make that choice for themselves. However if they will load themselves or leave a trailer I would do that for sure. I ditched the mask after the first week and just keep my distance and so far so good. I'm not taking the jab ether. Something about the jab just isn't right. My BS meter is screaming don't do it. But that my choice. Just do what you think is right.


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Jan 25, 2008
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Mountain View, AR 2-1/2 hours north of Little Rock
Saying no has come up a bit recently. That time of year...
I sell firewood. So I realize there is an expectation that, I actually sell firewood.
Some will ask, "Do you have any firewood left?"
And in the summer, there is an added expectation, that firewood sellers also stack the firewood they sell to customers.

I used to stack at a few rental places that were managed, and they have had a lot of 1/3 cord deliveries for weekly rentals, fire pit burns.
Pretty easy right. Not so fast.
Some of them have broken down wood racks, tipped and tilted, way around back, and 1/3 full of rotten crap and uglies.
Some of them have hills, narrow paths, and stepped terraced yards.
Others wanted wood stacked on porches. Aside from the multiple steps, they had no idea how much a cord of wood is, size wise, or what it weighs.

I love "Doing firewood..."
No so much "Selling firewood." But that's changed. I've changed, seasoned maybe...the bark is loosening.
Now, I having made several foolish sight unseen commitments in the past, it's a blanket no to stacking.
Said more politely, "I no longer offer stacking."

As for selling, I have not sold firewood in a year, due to Covid and my copd.
I could have sold 14 cord this past week.
The answer is no to each person, I wish things were different.
If they don't take no for an answer, I tell them the truth.
I'm on The List, the "Oh Crap list, I have copd, a mild, chronic lung issue. Until I get a vaccine, no sales." (first shot scheduled for this Wednesday)
They offer to load themselves.
They offer to leave their trailer and pick it up later.
Their furnace is broke down.
They have wood but can not access it.
They just need a little.
I live on your road and drive by every day.
All good offers and comments.
But the answer is. "The answer is the same to everyone, and that is, no. I wish it was different."

If I say I'm sorry, then I feel bad... So I don't say I'm sorry anymore.
There is enough other stuff to feel bad about, like half the state of Texas this week without water, without heat. (excluding their politicians).
They say put me on your list and call me when your selling.
I don't do lists, but that's another two track dead end.

What am I actually sorry for?
If you heat with wood, and some still do, then am I didn't plan ahead?
I'm sorry you made other choices when the weather was nicer? What ever those might be...
I'm sorry your furnace broke down. That's unfortunate of course. But you don't have any wood at all for your wood stove for a week?
I'm sorry you did not plan a head for winter? And you may have to buy bundled wood when you get your groceries?
It's 20 degrees out. You want me to go dig around in the snow quick a minute... and help you out?

I finally got the number for someone else on my road that sells firewood. He bought thirty acres and is putting up storage units a few miles from here. The land was cleared last spring. I was walking along the road, and driving by he stopped to talk. He said yes he is selling firewood.
The problem he has is, once the trailer is loaded, they can't pull it out.
They do have heavy equipment however to do so, but a pickup isn't going to do it 600' off road behind where they're working.
Yep, that's a problem. And I could have similar issues with my own new dump trailer. Maybe I should have chosen a gooseneck?
He gave me his number, which should shorten my phone conversations considerably.

And I have other real world excuses.
I wish there was a better word than "excuses".
My pallets will be froze to the ground until the Tulips come up.
Below twenty degrees I really dislike starting the forklifts diesel. There is no plug in, and for twenty minutes run time, it would never warm up. It is just hard on it. The battery doesn't recover well in the cold. I don't think my customers care about that. I'm thinking if I have winter breakdowns, I'll have to pass that cost to the customers. Another dead end.
I can't even see the pallets to find them with the forks. Yes I can dig each one out, but it's still froze down to a clump of dirt 200x the size of the moon.
The industrial tires pack the snow to a glaze. I need two walking sticks just to get to the machine the second day. If there is even a mild slope to the side, that's where I'm going, even with three wheel drive mode. Steering by gravity.
Add more snow, the rear steer wheel also being the primary drive wheel, I can't steer on a flat spot, unless the load on the fork carriage is completely sucked in. And the top tier of pallets needs full extension, plus 6' extension forks to reach. Sucked in with extension forks is not, sucked in. Me, trying to put the seatbelt on with carhartts is sucked in.
Not that anyone really cares about the particulars.

I have always sold out before winter hits, but I have typically seventy cord seasoning for the next year.
So previously, I'm sold out and what you see is not for sale, it's seasoning.
You have wood and it's not for sale? Me, "It's seasoning." That's like saying, "I'm watching... paint dry."
This is probably the same customer three month before wanted nothing short of "at least two year seasoned wood" for the price of raw logs, saying he is going to keep looking.
Who sells that? Really... (He passed on price, but there are those seekers)
In January/February they offer to buy green wood.
I don't sell green wood.
Now some folks just puff up and start crowing about how stupid that is, which is what, a persuasive argument?
Go start your own firewood business. You have some good ideas.... I've got wood to watch.

I'm speaking of the fringe.
95% of the people say, understandable, I've got copd too, good luck, enjoy your day!, I'll get back with you, or some such thing.
Which makes me smile...
The other 5%, just makes me smile...
Well said, man, and no is the best answer. In my tree service work Ihaveeliminate the phrase “I’m sorry” because I am not sorry for someone who did not plan ahead, refused to hire professional help and prefers to live by assumption. That is plainly tough luck.