About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, December 9, 2013

To Fire, Or Not To Fire....

...that is the question.  lol

Sorry couldn't help myself.
That is about as close to anything Shakespeare that you will hear from me.
Tried to read Shakespeare once and my brain was fried for two days.

Anyway, this post is a small rant about a customer.

I don't write much about some of the interactions that I have with my customers anymore.
Not since one of my long time customers found my blog and read a post that I had written about her dog.
It was not a bad post.
At least I didn't think so, but she took offense to my talking about how long it took us to find a good cut that worked for both me and the customer.
I lost two dogs from that innocent posting.
I really liked both of those dogs, and even though the owner was a little picky about how her dogs where groomed, (that was okay, I would be picky too) I liked her too.

So, I had backed off of my customer stories.
My daughter said that I should start writing them again, because my blog is boring now. lol
Well, I am going to write about one today.

This story happened last week, but I was too pissed to write about it at the time.
I'll most likely get worked up about it again just writing this post.
Or, maybe not. :)

The customer in this story is a very long time customer of mine.
I have been grooming her dogs since I opened my shop.
I groomed her first dog well into its teens before she passed away.
She was a very sweet dog.

Then the owner got two puppies.
Her new puppies were a high maintenance breed.
In my opinion they should have been groomed, at the very least, every 8 weeks.
She gets them groomed, like clock work,  only four times a year.

This customer drops her dogs off at 8 am and does not pick up until we close.
Here in lies the problem.

Let me go back to when I first started grooming this customers dogs.
When I first opened my shop, my hours were 8am to 6pm, sometimes later if I was running behind.
It was not unusual for me to work till 7 or 8pm.
I was not married yet then, and I only lived about 10 minutes from the shop.
I was building my business and did not mind the long hours.

Even after I got married, and had two children, we kept the 8am to 6pm hours.
Then we moved out of our childhood neighborhood, that was no longer a safe place to live and bring up kids.
We moved to the country.
We now had a 40 minute commute back and forth to work each day.
We talked about moving the shop, but I did not want to lose all of the clientele that I had worked so long and hard to get.
We decided instead to reduce our hours to 8am to 5pm.

Most of our customers were fine with the change.
Any customers that always kept their dogs at our shop all day, while they were at work, and could not pick up till 6pm moved to Saturday appointments.
There were a couple of customers that did not get off of work till 5pm and we would stay open an extra 15 or 20 minutes waiting for them to pick up.
No big deal really.
It only happened once in a while.
The customer in this post was one of those customers that we stayed open waiting for her to pick up.

After I had my third child, in 2000, we changed the hours again.
8am to 4pm
An eight hour day of physical labor with no lunch break and no other breaks was long enough.
I wanted to spend time with my kids.

So, as I have explained, we have been closing at 4pm for 13 years.
Now, or course we still stay open for an extra 15 to 30 minutes for a few customers that may have trouble picking up by our closing time, because they also get off work at 4pm.

Because of this 4pm closing time, we have had to listen to the customer I am talking about in this post complain every time she drops her dog off.
Every time she asks what time we are closing.
Every time we tell her 4pm.
Every time she reminds me that we used to be open till 6pm.
Every time she tells me how much trouble it is to leave work.
Every time she tells me how busy her work is.
Every time she calls at 3:30pm to see if her dogs are done, and are we still closing at 4pm.
To top it off, nine times out of ten she walks in after 4pm, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes late.

Yes, I know that I said we do this for some of our customers, BUT that is because they ASK us if it is okay.
This customer does not!
Each time we tell her the 4pm closing time when she drops off, AND when she calls at 3:30pm.
So, we put up with it.
As I said, she is a long time customer and only comes in four times a year.
I always say, it is not worth ruining your day over.

Until last week.
My son is taking a driving course that starts every night at 6pm.
This gives us 2 hours to clean the shop, get home, cook dinner, and get him to class.
That means that we have to be out the door no later than 4pm.

So, when this customer came in last week, I made a point, (when she asked me for the millionth time what time we closed) to tell her that I HAD to close NO LATER than 4pm.
She immediately got upset.
She informed me that my hours were inconvenient.
(We have offered many times for her to move her appointments to Saturday.)
She informed me that she would have to take vacation time to leave work to pick up by 4pm.

13 years!!!!
13 years we have closed at 4pm!
Get over it!

To be honest, I was not surprised at her little rant.
I just smiled and let her rant.
I repeated that I needed to have my son somewhere by a certain time and her dog HAD to be picked up by 4pm.

I groom and babysit her dogs for 8 hours.
I don't charge her a babysitting, or daycare fee.
I don't charge her a late fee when she walks in 30 minutes after her appointment time. (Does not matter if the dog is staying all day, she still has an appointed time to be in by.)
I don't charge her a late pick up fee.

I let her morning drop off rant slide.
I did not get mad about it.
You better believe that I was thinking; 'you better pick up by 4pm.'

Well, we finished all the dogs by 3pm that day.
I had to run to the store real quick before we closed for the day.
While I was gone, you guested it, this customer called at 3:20 to ask if her dog was done, and if we were still closing at 4pm.
She also asked one other question.

When I got back to the shop, the first thing my daughter said to me was; 'Mom, don't get mad.'
'Why, what happened?' I asked.
'Ms. soinso called,' my daughter answered.
'Yeah? She asked if we were still closing at 4pm, right?' it was more of a statement than a question.
'Yes, but she also asked Dad if you were telling the truth when you said that we had to close no later than 4pm,' she told me.
'She asked him if I was telling the truth!?' I repeated. 'So in other words she was asking if I was lying? She was calling me a liar.'

My husband was waiting on another customer when she called, so all he could say was; 'Yes, she was telling the truth.'
Well, it was 3:30 when I got back to the shop.
So I had 30 minutes to do a slow burn, and then try to calm myself down.

Wow, I don't think that I have ever had a customer call me a lair before.
Even if she did do it in a round about way.

It doesn't even matter if I was lying to get her to pick up her dog on time.
We close at 4pm!
We have been closing at 4pm for 13 years!
What is so hard to understand about that.
It is not my fault that the customer will not move her appointments to Saturdays.
It is not my fault that she still chooses to come in on her workdays when we close an hour before she gets off of work.
Four times a year.
She can't make arrangements four times a year to leave work early.
Or, does she just get some kind of thrill from giving me a hard time about my work hours?

So, how did I handle it when she picked up her dog?
Not the way my family wanted me to. lol

She walked in right at 4 on the dot.
I had no time to get into it with her.
I kindly waited on her.
I listened to her rant again about the fact that she had to use two and a half hours of vacation time just to come pick up her dog at my inconvenient closing time.
I recommended strongly that she move her appointments to Saturdays.
I told her that her dog is the only elderly dog that I keep all day. (her other dog has passed away)
I told her that she needed to come on Saturdays so that her dog could be picked up the minute that she was done.
She told me that she would have to think about it.
I also told her that I put in my eight hours a day of work with no lunch break, or any other breaks during the day.
I am a small Mom and Pop shop, and have a family to take care of also.

No, I did not fire this customer.
She can drive me crazy, but we like her dog.
We have been grooming her dog since it was a puppy.
It is not fair for the dog to go to another groomer who knows nothing about her at this time in her life.
So, I bite my tongue and put up with her owners rude comments.
And, I keep telling myself; "it's for the dog, it's for the dog, it's for the dog."

1 comment:

  1. You are too kind Lisa. I would have fired her ages ago! Can't stand rude customers :(