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Disappointment at Batsakes

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Vardeman Sneed, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. This morning I drove from Louisville to Cincinnati to visit Batsakes to have the brim trimmed and a ribbon put on the Stetson Rancher that I planned to convert to a fedora.

    Here is the thread on the planned conversion: http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=27787

    Anyway, upon entering the store, I was greeted by a lady (I did not get her name) who asked if she could help me. I responded that I would like to do two things: 1.) I would like to find out exactly what size hat I wear, and 2.) I would like to have my Rancher's brim trimmed and a ribbon put on it. (So far so good.)

    The lady then walked off to attend to another customer. (Not so good.)

    A couple minutes later, Gus came up to me and asked me if could help me. I responded as before and showed him a picture of what I was trying to accomplish (see the linked thread above). Gus looked at my Rancher and said "7-7/8, the hat is too big." He pulled a fedora out of a stack (a nice gray Borsalino) and told me to put it on. He said that is the size I need, and asked how it fit. I told him that it was way too tight, from front to back. He looked at me like I didn't know what I was talking about. I gave the hat back to him.

    He then addressed the Rancher. He told me that it couldn't be made into a fedora, and that it should be "given away". I told him that I really would like to convert the hat, and that I would like to have the brim trimmed. Next, I received a barrage of reasons why it couldn't be done, mostly that the crown was too tall (he measured it at 6") and that the brim wouldn't look right trimmed from 4" to 2.5".

    Maybe its a personality thing, but I really didn't like the tone that I was receiving. I politely asked if the brim could be trimmed. Gus huffed, told the lady to write up a ticket, told her to put down a 24 ribbon, and walked off. After finding out that they wouldn't have the hat done until Wednesday, I decided not to have the hat done.

    I did mention that I would like to try on a 7-3/4 hat, and the lady found one that I tried it on. It fit much better than the hat Gus had me try on. It did 'hug' a little uncomfortably from front to back and I was able to slide my fingertips in on the sides. The lady said that sometimes they have to stretch the hats.

    As I thought about my somewhat one-way conversation that I just had with Gus, I decided that it was best for me to make a quick exit. Rather than take the interstate back home, I took the long way back. I needed the extra time to calm down before I got home.

    Do I plan to go back to Batsakes? No.

    With a background in working with customers, I feel that customer service means a lot. Today, I didn't feel that I was important. Not only did Batsakes lose my business today, they lost my future business.

    Of the two goals that I went to Cincinnati for, neither one was exactly accomplished. Since no measurements were taken of my head, I really don't know if I'm a 7-3/4, or not. I also don't know if I'm a long oval, or an extra long oval.

    Now I don't know if I should proceed with my conversion, or try to sell the hat.
  2. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Finding your hat size is rather simple, 1st measure your head with a cloth measuring tape, then use this chart. as to long oval or extra long oval, it is as simple as, does your hat pinch your forehead and have gaps on the side. If it does, you most likely are.


    As for your customer service issues, this is the first negative I have heard about Gus.
  3. citRon

    citRon A-List Customer

    Wow that sucks:eusa_doh: . I went to Preslar's Western shop on Fern Valley Road yesterday and got better service than that! I too went in to finally determine once and for all what my hat size was. (having variations of 7 and 7 1/8 and long ovals that fit to differing degrees)
    The lady there made a point to put 7's and 7 1/8's both regular and long ovals from several brands on me. She was very helpful, even going into the storeroom to get different hats for me.
  4. Boris K

    Boris K One of the Regulars


    Sorry to hear about your experience, 60CycleHum. I have been to Batsakes several times and had a much better experience.

    Gus did determine my hat size by trying on hats rather than measuring, but we quickly found the correct size.

    He has a sense of humor and, with the accompaning heavy accent and limited facial expression, it can be difficult to ascertain his meaning at times. Anyone can have a bad day as well. He is definitely old school with customer service, and doesn't really cater to the hobby crowd.

    Again, sorry for your experience. Hopefully you had a relaxing drive on either the north or south bank of the river when heading home.
  5. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    One thing, to keep in mind about hat sizes, IT IS NOT SCIENCE. A 7 1/4 in one brand may fit differently than another brand, or even a different model with the same maker. Vintage Dobbs are always smaller on me than a Stetson. There is a reason why Art uses a conformer when building a custom hat. Few of us have the exact size and shaped head.
  6. metropd

    metropd One Too Many

    Well said. I had a very good experience with Gus and made me one of my favorite hats I ever had. (The one in my avatar) I am sorry that happened and hopefully the hat gets revamped and you work things out.;)
  7. I can appreciate that people can have 'bad hat days'. On odd occasions, even I do. Just ask my kids. ;)

    As an Engineer, it really rubs me the wrong way when someone says that something "can't be done". Sometimes, it cannot. However, finding out why a person wants to do that thing, can often lead to an alternative solution that can be acceptable.

    For instance, my Rancher - I know that size 7-7/8 is too big, and that a 7-3/4 would be a better fit. I also know that the crown is very tall. However, with a small shim in the back, the hat fits very well from front to back. Also, without the shim, the existing blocked center dent sits on the top of my head with the brim being a finger above the eyebrows and ears.

    If I had a 7-3/4 long oval hat block, I would try to shrink the hat, to bring in the sides. As far as the crown goes, I really cannot go with a shorter crown. If I did, the hat would sit too high on my head, and I would look like a clown.

    Yes, the proportion of the crown to the brim might not look exactly right, but those of us with 'melon heads' have to live with compromises. Maybe a 2-3/4" or 3" brim might be in better proportion. That is what I would expect from a 'professional', finding a solution to my needs, not telling me that "it can't be done".

    Funny thing, I read in these forums that the FL members, who are not hat professionals, have done 'western to fedora' conversions. So, I know it can be done.

  8. I would guess that Gus, from all I've heard about him, is less a professional than a craftsman. A craftsman's loyalty is to the craft over and above the customer. As a result, he often doesn't express himself. He may say something can't be done when what he really thinks is it shouldn't be done, and he may not choose to get into the whys of it.
  9. Limited

    Let's not forget that he is in the business of SELLING hats and probably thought his best bet was to try to sell you a new one over trying to make the conversion.

    From the many conversions we have seen here in this forum we know that it is posible, Gus may not have done such a conversion and as such, a conversion like this does not make sense to his sensibilities.

    It seems to me that Cowboy hat purveyors would be more in line on the brim trimming but less inclined to the ribbon replacement.

    I'd say, stick to someone that is more in tune with our forum such as one of the advertisers that does rrennovations and you are more likely to get done what you want, even if you have to ship it out and wait.
  10. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    I have to side with Gus on this one. To convert a Stetson Rancher into a fedora is a lot of work. It would be easier to convert a homburg into a fedora as these two hats are both dress weight felts. I dont know how much Gus told you it would cost to convert the hat into a snap brim fedora, but it probably would be better to just buy another hat and keep the Rancher as a second hat.
    My grandfather used to do this type of work years ago and gave it up because it never came out 100 percent right . That was in the era when a person bought a hat and it lasted for ten years . Now , everything is disposable.

  11. metropd

    metropd One Too Many

    :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
  12. That's exactly right. Measuring your head only puts you in the ballpark. Just like with shoes, belts and pants manufacturers sizing will vary. If you want to know your size try on a bunch of hats and don't bother with a tape measure.

  13. Lon Goval

    Lon Goval Familiar Face

    I'm finding that some brands seem almost a size off. It could have something to do with me needing a long oval size.

    Are Long Ovals a thing of the past as far as "off the rack" hats? Are custom or vintage the only way to get Long Ovals?

  14. citRon

    citRon A-List Customer

    long ovals seem readily available in the western world. I've never had a problem finding a long oval when I was cowboy hat shopping.
  15. Westerns are more widely recognized as hats to be worn daily. Dress hats nowadays are so dominated by the novelty market, and serious wearers so into custom made, that there is much less demand for good fit.
  16. I don't know why other hatters are so against doing this. It is actually a faily simple process. I guess it comes from working on more western hats then dress hats as I was learning this craft. I will do a canverstion for $80, just like any other renovation. That would include shrinking the crown hieght, cutting brim, resizing, putting in a new sweatband (or reworking the old one if desired), and putting on the desired ribbon.

  17. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here


    Optimo did a bang-up conversion for me & it came in right at $100 to turn this:[​IMG]

    To this:[​IMG]
  18. jimmy the lid

    jimmy the lid I'll Lock Up

    I still can't believe my eyes on that one, Rick. :eusa_clap

  19. Havana

    Havana One of the Regulars

    I'm just an amateur but I believe that just about any quality western hat with enough crown material can be converted into a decent fedora. 6" in the open crown is a bit much but no more than a Akubra Federation. I would say that makes it an excellent candidate for a C-crown. You can't fully trust any salesman no matter what their product is. I am disappointed to hear that their salesmanship was so lacking. You should be able to measure your own head with a sewing tape. Just remember to allow a small bit of room for shrinkage. I think it's always better to have a hat that's slightly too big than too small.
  20. That is a VERY GOOD conversion job!

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