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Doesn’t the piano have to “play”? A funny story from Joe Hanerfeld of Craftsman Piano Co.

Years ago a colleague of mine made the ill advised decision to purchase six Louis XIV Steinway pianos of various sizes. These are beautiful ornate Steinway pianos, mahogany or walnut, with exquisitely carved French legs. These are beautiful pianos. The problem with them is that they are very hard to sell. Why? Because they are very expensive, they are very ornate, they are not suitable for most households because they over power the rest of the décor.

My friend’s dilemma was that he had six pianos totaling over $300,000.00 in value, and not enough cash to maintain his expenses. Into this equation stepped a chance client of mine. She wanted a Louis XIV mahogany Steinway B. Nothing else would do. My friend shipped the piano to my shop. The client arrived ten minutes after the piano was set up and tuned. She fell in love with the piano immediately. Just as immediately she started to renegotiate the price. My friend had no alternative but to sell the piano so he agreed to her demands. Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief.

The client signed the check and handed it to me. Then she made one more demand. The piano would have to have an electronic Pianomation player unit installed within two days. I told her that would not be possible. She started reaching for her check. In desperation I asked her why she needed the Pianomation. She said that her husband’s company was having a very important party in two days and the piano “has to play, doesn’t it?”.

This was a wealthy sophisticated lady, yet she just didn’t realize that she could hire a pianist to perform at her husband’s party. I was able to recommend a pianist to her. It was the beginning of a relationship that lasted until this client moved away.

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