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Some Customers Are Their Own Worst Enemies

, , , , , | Legal | July 22, 2022

Reading Not Always Right, I have always been a bit skeptical of people who are willing to destroy their own life over petty entitlement — that is until I actually ran into one.

I’m a lawyer and I had been working with a woman on a very specific court application that almost nobody in my city does, not because it’s hard, but, without going into details, solicitors consider it barrister work, and barristers consider it solicitor work. Importantly, this lady can’t sell her house without first filing this application.

This lady came in with her elderly father who is also on title with her.

The woman had been fine over the phone, but when she came in for a meeting to review the draft application and sign off, she was already huffy and looking for a fight.

The first thing she did was complain that this process was taking so long. It wasn’t. In fact, I had fast-tracked it because I was handling it as a favor to my boss.

Then, she complained that she had had to wait because I was sick and my boss should have been handling it. It had been delayed two days in a months-long process and she had been updated the whole time.

I started the actual meeting by describing how we needed court guidance on the application because it was very unique and each judge has their own way of handling it. She immediately took that to mean that I had no idea what I was doing. She complained that she wasn’t paying for me to get an education and she wanted a competent lawyer, not some moron.

Her dad managed to get her calmed down enough that she would listen to what I was trying to say, but I had to warn her to be more respectful.

Next, her middle name was spelled wrong. It was spelled the way that it was spelled on the documents we were trying to submit as evidence, but she spelled it another way. And I should have known that. Again, she went off shouting that I was totally incompetent and she never wanted to work with me; she wanted to work with my boss. After her screaming fit, she was reminded, much more strongly, that she would behave respectfully or be asked to leave.

Her father pleaded sadly to just get it signed and go, but he looked like a defeated man already.

Next, she got mad that the property address which she had given us as her address was not actually her address — which, again, we should have known. This time, she didn’t stop at the insults and berating. She got up and left, dragging her father out and shouting that she would be calling my boss to complain.

The father shook my hand and apologized before following her out the door.

I told my boss what had happened and he gave me a free hand to bill her for my time and fire her as a client. I will have to see if she calls my boss, but he’s far less patient with entitled people than I am, so I can guarantee it won’t go well for her.

But, coming back to the beginning of my story, this tantrum is going to cause serious problems in this woman’s life. She torpedoed her application at the eleventh hour, after basically all the work had been done. This means that she is not only going to have to pay for the work I did, but she will also have to go out and find another lawyer to do the same work over again. And I wasn’t kidding about very few people doing this kind of application. I can think of maybe two or three other lawyers who would do it. They all have hourly rates at least double mine, and they book six months in advance. She won’t be selling her house for a very long time.

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