Attack Of The Entitled Mummy

, , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(I work for myself as a children’s entertainer, advertising mostly by word of mouth. I receive an email asking for a quote.)

Customer: “Hi! [Parent I have worked with] gave me your info. I’m looking for a quote for my little princess’s fourth birthday. How much are you?”

Me: “Hello, [Name from email address], thanks for reaching out! I need a few more details to give you an accurate quote:

1) What day and time is your daughter’s party?
2) How many little guests do you expect to be there?
3) Where will the party take place?
4) What services are you interested in? I do balloon twisting, glitter tattoos, face painting, and a limited number of character interactions.

Talk to you soon!”

Customer: “Wow! I didn’t know you’d be so invasive! How did you know my name? I’m not telling you where I live! Just give me a quote!”

(After blinking at my screen for a few minutes I shake my head and try again.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I assumed your email was your name. My apologies for startling you. I need to know generally where the party is to see if mileage charges apply, and when it is to see if I’m already booked. I don’t need your exact address if you’re having the party at your residence; nearby major cross streets would work to get you an accurate quote. Thanks again for the opportunity to make your child’s birthday a little more special!”

Customer: “Main and 1st.”

(My eye is now sporadically twitching, but business slows down in summer due to the crushing heat and I could use the money. After a deep breath, I reply:)

Me: “Fantastic news! You’re well within my standard radius, so no mileage fees will apply. I just need to know the day and time you’re looking to book me, how many kids I’ll be working with, and which of my services you’re most interested in. Just a heads up: if you’ve hired a bounce house, I likely will not be able to face paint, as it’s against the bounce house company’s policy.”

Customer: “Don’t worry about who or what else I’ve hired. You are very unprofessional! I just want a f****** quote and you’re taking forever! I’ve wasted an hour of my life with you now! For f***’s sake! This Saturday at three pm, for an hour. And, you had better give me a discount for this horrid service!”

(I glance at my weather app and see that it’s going to be nearly 115° at that time. My balloons require indoor space under 95°, and most private-at-home birthday parties are backyard events. My suited characters don’t perform in that heat, either.)

Me: “I am available to face paint and/or do glitter tattoos on Saturday! Yay! It’s unfortunately projected to be too hot to offer balloon animals or character meet-and-greets. My minimum booking for just face painting is for two hours at $100 an hour. Usually glitter tattoos are an additional charge, but to make the day extra special I’ll throw in a dozen free glitter tattoos for the birthday girl and eleven of her closest friends. I will need a ten by ten flat space to set up my canopy unless you have shade, table, and chairs provided. If you would like to book me, please fill out and return the attached contract. Once I have received the deposit and signed contract, we’re all set!”

Customer: “I only want an hour. I’m only paying for one hour! And $100 is outrageous! It’s only thirty kids; it shouldn’t take you two hours!”

(I’m now full-on headdesking. Industry average for face painting is twelve to fifteen kids an hour. My rates aren’t the cheapest in the city, but I’m far from the top earners, and my work is solid, I’m insured, and I only use top-quality supplies. This is exactly why I always ask how many kids there are, not how long the parents think I’ll need to get to everyone. Two minutes per kid to pick what they want, sit down, get painted, and admire themselves in the mirror just isn’t reasonable. At this point, I pretty much want to just write her off but, again, I could really use the money. Without much hope, I try again.)

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but my rates and timeframe are both very fair. I average ten to fourteen faces an hour, so getting to all thirty kids in only two hours will be very challenging. I do want to help make your little one’s birthday as special as possible and work with your budget, so I’ll make you a deal. For my usual two-hour rate I’ll guarantee all thirty kids get painted, even if it takes another hour. I’ll bring a sign-in sheet to make sure everyone gets painted while still enjoying the party. I hope this works for you; if not I hope it’s a fun filled day, anyway!”

Customer: “So, if my nieces and nephews show up, too, you won’t paint them?! I can’t believe [Parent I have worked with] recommended such a shady, rude person! I’m going to tell everyone I know that you’re a selfish, horrible person!”

(The next day, the parent who originally referred me reached out and apologized for their friend. The customer showed the complete email chain as evidence of how “rude” I was in a Facebook group, and is apparently now the laughing stock of her mommies group.)

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