I do not enjoy confronting people. I’ll do everything I can to avoid confrontation, if possible. On the other hand, I like to be right and I don’t like to be wronged, but confronting someone — even when I know they are 100% completely positively wrong — is so very hard for me to do.
Right now I must confront two women.
One is via email and not the biggest deal in the world. I don’t know her personally. It’s business. We’ve had an email exchange for about a week, and in her latest one she upped the price from what we had first discussed. Not cool. No reason for this and I have a copy of the original price so it’s not that I misunderstood. In this case I can either confront her, hoping to get her to go back to the original price, or I can say “thanks but no thanks” and find someone else who can do what I need. I could also laugh at her and ask who she thinks she’s dealing with, but in the nicest possible way, of course. Or not.
The second woman I’m having an issue with is local and even though it’s also a business issue, and business is business (isn’t that what they say?), by confronting her I will make her mad and she’ll get defensive and the friends that referred me to her will probably think I’m being mean and they will side with her (they are more her friends than they are mine). I’ll be the bad guy in this, even though I’m not the bad guy in this.
Here’s the short story version: She is wrong. 100% wrong.
The longer story is this: Months and months ago I inquired about hiring her to make something for me — a personalized something. She’s a friend of a friend — barely an acquaintance of mine — and had recently started a business and made items like the ones I had seen online. She wasn’t sure she could do it but said she’d look into it. I told her I’d wait to hear from her and not order the ones online until I heard back. Months later she said it should be possible and would get back to me once she figured out the process. Then weeks later she contacts me again to say not only that she had the equipment and could do it, but she had already made my items. That’s right. Made the personalized items without getting my okay on the design or any of the product details. I assumed she made them exactly like the ones I had seen online, which I had given her the link to months prior. Oh, by the way, the cost would be more than the amount we talked about way back when. 50% more. But hey, she’d give me a 10% break on that. Ummmm…. What????? That’s still a lot more than we agreed on and way more than if I had just ordered the original ones online. But it was too late to not go forward because she had already made the items and they aren’t returnable. And (yes, it gets better), when I finally had them in hand, they were not the same as the ones I had seen online, and it was clear that a bit of information I gave her with a key detail wasn’t followed, so there was a huge problem with the items. This was not a problem due to me giving incorrect information, no, but because she didn’t make them according to my specifications which were clearly stated in an email (I have a copy, of course). So she then made a few attempts trying to fix the biggest problem, with hardly any success. After sitting on this for a week I couldn’t take it anymore and informed her that they weren’t going to work. She suggested trying to fix them again, using a different technique. She said this was the only possible solution (I suggested a few other options that were apparently not possible). Weeks went by. Weeks without any contact. Then an email yesterday saying come pick them up. She’s not going to deliver them to me. Nope. I’m to pick them up at her house and if she’s not there she’ll just leave them in a bag on her front step. Great customer service. She’s assuming they’ll be right and acceptable. I’m pretty sure they’ll still not be right, and due to that anger and frustration I quickly responded to her email saying it would be better if she dropped them off to me. Her response was that she was busy so she couldn’t come to me. Period. No “I’m sorry” or “What works best for you?” or “Let’s make this right.” Nope. None of that. And hello, is she assuming I’m not busy? Is her schedule the only one that matters?
This I know: I shouldn’t have given her the payment when I first got the items. It was clear from the first second that they weren’t right. Afterward I should have put my foot down and demanded my money back when it was obvious they weren’t as expected and her small fixes weren’t helping. I should not have been nice and accommodating and forgiving and patient.
So what if she’s a friend of a friend. So what if she’s just starting her at-home business. So what if I lose friends/acquaintances over this. So what if this hurts her feelings. What about my feelings? What about my money?????? I hate to spend money on something that is useless. I don’t have “extra” money for frivolous things. This purchase was to be a gift to me from my husband and kids. My once-a-year-buy-something-nice-for-yourself-and-say-it’s-from-the-kids gift.
Sigh. I really hate confrontation.
So, I know what I’d tell myself to do, but maybe if I hear it from you it will sink in. Go ahead ladies and gents, tell me what I should do. Tell me what you would do. Not what you would have done — I’m still kicking myself for what I should have done — but what you’d do from this point forward. Thanks.