Poll: Should I lie to an inconsiderate Broke Folk?

Last summer, I gave a huge load of feminine products to a woman with a fibroid problem. She just contacted me to restock, and yes, I have plenty she could have. However, she screwed up twice in a way I can’t tolerate.

I work from home, in a business where my clients very reasonably expect a peaceful environment with no interruptions. The first time she came, she was late and I had left bags of goodies for her with the doorman. He told me later that she got a little pushy about getting him to buzz me so we could meet – even though I told her I would be with a client and informed her about the doorman arrangement. She definitely knew this. The doorman knew not to interrupt me and the problem was averted. Then she decided a couple of months later just to stop by and say hi on a Saturday afternoon. We had not been in touch, I thought the doorman had rung the wrong apartment – but no, it was her. I am sooo clear with people about my work/home situation and was pretty pissed.

So now I want to get rid of her. Do I take the cowardly way out and say that I’ve stopped doing those deals? Or do I tell her the truth – that twice she didn’t care about the potential damage to my livelihood and that was two times too many? Because I have (rarely) been interrupted before by stupid things like a neighbor who got off the elevator on the wrong floor and tried to put his key in the lock, or the doorman rings the wrong apartment with a take-out delivery. Those clients NEVER come back, even if I make up for it by adding time to their massage as an apology.

UPDATE:  Decision Made
I decided to go with the lie, but for a different reason than my commenters gave (the woman is weird but not scary). Saying that I don’t do those bargains any longer has no comeback, whereas telling someone you don’t want to deal with them opens the door for the “reasonable” argument for a second chance.

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11 Responses

  1. I can’t decide. If there’s a chance she’s unstable … I’d lie. But it irks me to lie when someone has been inconsiderate – I prefer to be up front about it so they can stop. But then again … I assume you spoke to her about it after each transgression? If so, I’d just lie.

    • No, I didn’t deal with it after the first one because the doorman prevented it and I figured I wouldn’t hear from her again. I mentioned it the second time, but I’m not sure if it sunk in because it was hypothetical (meaning I wasn’t actually with a client).

  2. She needs to learn…but in my experience, people like that are often unable to be taught. I would tell your doorman to not allow this person to buzz your home, and just tell her you have been limiting your deals to food because you’ve teamed up with a local food bank and wish her the best of luck. Don’t get into a confrontation with this potentially unstable person.

  3. You’re helping her out and she can’t listen to your specific instructions. That’s a problem. Cut her off.

    • Oh yes, she’s being cut off. It’s just a matter of how I spin it. And I’m liking NegativeNetworth’s suggestion!

  4. And on another note…I think clients who don’t come back after something that was clearly not your fault are a little uptight and need to get over themselves! I’d come back to you despite a buzzer!

    • Actually, I don’t blame them for this. I’ve had many, many clients tell me stories about past massage therapists who take calls during their session, double-book, answer the door, etc. I can see how having my intercom buzz (and it’s painfully loud) would send up a red flag.

  5. You don’t owe her a lesson in manners. Ge rid of her in whatever way is easiest and get on with your life.

  6. If you don’t think she’d ‘find out’ you lied to her, I would go that route. Also, moving forward, rather than giving your address out, perhaps there’s a better way to meet with the broke folks?

    • That’s how I was doing it in the beginning, but then someone would run late (a 45-min subway ride on a weekday can take twice as long on the weekend, it’s hard to know) and I wasn’t willing to spend that much time and money in Starbucks. Going forward, it shouldn’t be much of an issue since I’m not looking to expand the circle – I’ve got Mom-of-10 (who will only be needing toiletries soon, since her food stamps will restart any day now), two single moms with teen/tween daughters, two other small adult households (total of 5 people), and then that semi-official shelter for when I have large quantities of a single item. Mom-of-10 needs a little lecture about boundaries too, but she’s more manageable.

  7. I second negativenetworth’s comments. I’ve found it’s best not to confront crazy. Crazy usually gets dangerous when it feels cornered.

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