Some years ago whilst a UK dealer’s Koi show was being held in the midlands, a party of Northern Irish Koi enthusiasts popped into the shop on the way back home from the show en-route to the ferry in Liverpool. I asked how the show had been and they expressed that they were very disappointed as there were no Koi on sale there that met their requirements. One man seemed to be the party leader as they walked around the ponds with my Koi for sale and he stopped at one pond containing around 60 nisai Kohaku all selected from Hasegawa in Ojiya. The price tag on the pond quoted prices from £175.00 to £425.00 which seemed to cause some confusion with the party.
After a few minutes, the leader asked me, very guardedly, which ones were the £175.00 Koi and which were the £425.00 Koi. I asked him to point to the Koi he liked and I would give him a price for each after placing them in a bowl. After a few minutes we had three Koi in the bowl, I pointed to each one separately and gave the prices, two were £175.00 each and one was £295.00 and he seemed even more confused. After a while he asked me to show him two Koi at £425.00 each but I pointed out I only had one but that there were several at £375.00 each. We put the one at £425.00 in the bowl together with one at £375.00 and now had five Kohaku in the bowl.
He asked me to point out why there was such a price differential and so I tried to explain each Koi to him in detail whilst pointing out that it should be the Koi he liked himself rather than base his judgement on end price alone. After this, he asked for a separate bowl to be placed next to the first one in order to see more of the £375.00 examples from the pond. At the end, he selected one £375.00 Koi and the one at £425.00, the two Koi were packed for transportation and they all set off to the ferry port.
I then got a call from the same guy whilst he was waiting to board the ferry and he said to me, and I recall this clearly – ‘I have bought ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ but I need ‘charity’ to complete my purchase’. He then asked me to select one of the other Koi at £375.00 and send it to him after he paid for it by credit card. It was sent the next day and he rang to say it had arrived safely to his home. I did not hear from the man again until two years later when he came up to me at another Koi show where he showed me photographs recently taken of all three Koi with their sizes. He said that ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ had grown significantly and that he was planning to enter all three into a Show in Northern Ireland the next year, he said he was very pleased with his purchases and I congratulated him.
The following February I received a recorded delivery letter from him with colour pictures of two of the Kohaku he’d bought from me. One had a small shimi on one shoulder and one had a shimi on the head, he was not pleased at all although he said the other Koi was ‘fine but had not grown nearly as much as the other two’. He then said he’d had high hopes of taking a major award at the show that year but now ‘they were ruined’ and what was I prepared to do about it ‘before he took legal action’ against me AND send full details to the current Koi periodicals in the UK! He further pointed out to me that, had the Koi been perfect after his significant expertise in his own growing ability, they could well be worth many thousands of pounds instead of now being worthless! In short he demanded compensation from me for supplying Koi of inferior quality.
Waddy got angry! Waddy got even angrier after discovering that this same very man had some significant wealth behind him and had attempted (unsuccessfully) to sue a filter manufacturer who guaranteed crystal-clear water some months earlier. It turned out that his pond had no drains and was working on pump-fed black boxes equipped with inadequate U/V units for the water volume in question!
So Waddy wrote the chap a letter whilst still extremely angry.
The letter asked him to consider that IF the Koi had turned out and realised and IF they had his best expectations by taking the major show awards and IF he had sold them afterwards for £30,000.00 each – would there be instead of his snotty letter, a cheque for me for some £10,000.00 or so for my small part in his achievement?
It then went on to say that I was considering reporting him to his local RSPCA for cruelty to animals and that he was welcome to send a report to any Koi magazine he wished where I would then send in a reply with full details of the open sewer he termed as a high class Koi pond. I further begged him to take legal action against me and then ended the letter with two, short words that are also used in Northern Ireland.
I never heard a peep from him ever again.