Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More On Perspective And Chicken-Chasing

I've disappointed a customer. I don't like disappointing customers. In fact, if I did spend my time trying to disappoint customers, I wouldn't have been in business for 21 years.

This particular customer came over in February with her daughter to order leotards for an Aerobics comp. I spent about an hour with them (because they really didn't know what they wanted) then I made up the costumes and let them know that they were ready. I got a text back saying they couldn't come over that week but they'd let me know when they could make it. A whole month went by and I heard nothing. In this month I get really busy working 45 hour weeks desperately trying to get things done by their deadlines. Then finally I get a call. They want to come over to have the straps fitted. I said fine, but I can't see you until a week after Easter. But that's too late, they reply. I'm left in a really awkward position. Yes, I agreed to take on their job but I have a business to run and I've also agreed to take on other work so I'm prepared to lose one client and the payment for the work I've already done to keep my other clients happy. At the end of the conversation we agreed that I'd post them what I'd done and they'd get someone to sew the straps on.

Yesterday I got a text from the Mum telling me that they were disappointed with my service. What had happened to make someone who had been so nice initially, so rude and uncaring? (You've just got to love a personal attack from someone who's only prepared to text you.) I decided to do the mature thing - not reply and delete the text.

But if I had replied it may have gone something like this. -

 Dear *****

I'm so sorry that you were disappointed with the service. At no time did I refuse to do your work but because I couldn't do it at your convenience (despite you having ample warning) I have become rude and uncaring? What made me this way, you asked? I could blame my husband's depression, having a severely depressed and one-time suicidal son, having a change in my business structure or finding out about a half brother overseas. It could have been my on-going illness and the fact that I've been working ridiculous hours when I should have been resting. I could blame the weather or the economic crisis in Europe. But the truth stands that the only thing that can be blamed is you for leaving it too late. I was never rude but you could be right about the uncaring part because I seriously don't.

kind regards.

It was probably best that I didn't reply.

But it made me think again of perspectives. This woman's perspective was that she had full rights to my time but no responsibility. I had to be at her beck and call. My perspective was that she had had plenty of time to respond to my initial call and that only the looming competition had made her pull her finger out and take action. And although I didn't want an upset client, sometimes you just have to accept that not everyone's going to like you. And the silver lining is that I won't have to deal with her next year.

I had coffee with Coach Chris's assistant the other day. Barry has had a knee replacement and is lining up for his second one. And what he really wants to do when he's fully healed is run again. The conversation gave me a lot more perspective on my own frustration with not running the way I want at the moment. At least I can run. And I know I'll get to a point in the future where I'm back running the distances I want to. It's up to me to enjoy what running I can do at the moment. I have to find my Zen. Acceptance is the path to contentment.

So for the two runs that I've had this week I've been very mindful about this. I've been a lot more laid-back and careful not to push too hard. And I've really enjoyed both runs.

It was back to the acupuncturist yesterday. One of the symptoms of my condition is morning nausea - like morning sickness without the 18 year responsibility. I also get a lot of tightness/tension/ tingling between my shoulder blades. Twenty minutes on his table and it had all gone. And I had a really good day energy-wise. I can't explain how or why it works but it seems to be really helping.

And finally for all of you wanting a video of me chasing chickens in heels - you'll just have to use your imaginations. Yes, I did have to tuck my lovely red dress into my undies to get over the fence. And yes, my left heel momentarily got stuck in the wire and I thought that my carefully applied make-up (who am I kidding - I just whacked some on and tried not to look like a clown) was going to smudge when I hit the ground. There may have been some arm flapping like I was trying to take off and a lot of silly noises which the hens chose to ignore. So if you can combine all those elements in your head I'm sure you'll have as much of a laugh as the neighbours did.


  1. You tucked your dress into your undies!? Oh my, I'm laughing so hard right now that I am crying! That is simply too funny, Char! Ha ha ha!

    Anyway, I'm so sorry about the disgruntled client. It is so hard when people act unreasonably, especially when you are trying very hard to please them. It seems that often my most demanding clients are also the ones who generally complain about everyone around them not giving them enough. I've learned just to do what I can, and let it be.

    Keep your chin up! And don't chase anymore chickens!

  2. Oh man no video?

    That client is a good loss. How ridiculous. I can tell you teachers get blamed for a lot that just isn't our fault. When it is I try to accept it but I can't stand being blamed for others' mistakes.

  3. It's tough trying to please folks who probably won't ever be satisfied! My parents own a retail store and believe me, they have heard it allll.

  4. Sorry about the problem with your client - people can be so unreasonable sometimes! Like you said it all has to do with perspective - and it sure helps when we try to put ourself in someone else's shoes from time to time. You certainly did the right thing by not responding - in my experience that never helps anyway.

    Glad to hear the needles are helping!

  5. Keeping everyone happy can be a huge challenge. You handled it much better than most people would.
    I have a great imagination but somehow battle to stretch it that far..:)

  6. It's hard to keep everyone happy all the time that's for sure! I find that too often myself...too many balls in the air. I think you handled it great!

  7. Indeed - an emergency (especially through lack of plannng and follow through) on her part does not constitute an emergency on your part.

  8. sometimes people think that they're the centre of the unreasonable! you handled it great.

  9. I don't have clients but operators and ship-owners. No easy persons.
    Sorry about your problems.


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