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Please advise on my Big fail on the Drama Triangle

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redrock posted 7/10/2013 13:15 PM


-I am a cleaning lady who works part-time at an office.

I have a client who I knew was going to be getting married in the fall. Starting in January he started cancelling. I have addressed it with him on 2 occasions. Both with him asking to keep the current schedule until marriage. I could have picked up more office hours and should have, but I have had him for years and this is really his first flake off situation.

He recommits for a month(2 cleanings) or so and then goes back to cancelling. I made and effort to set a better boundary and caved on both initial discussions. Why? That is something I will have to look at.

Today he cancelled at the last minute again. 4th time in 3 months(7 total cleanings) And I did not handle it professionally.

Shit happens. To me too. A cancellation here or there is expected and I understand. I was cancelled 2 other times this week by people who typically do not cancel, so I was counting on the $.

What pisses me of is the lack of consideration that this is my INCOME. It is not 'fun money'. I had 2 deposits due for my daughters graduation party that I have to put on a credit card now. Fuck.

I know that I have to call and apologize because no matter how wrong he was I know I should not have reamed his ass on his voicemail.

I don't care to retain his business or think he could make or lose me clients. But I do feel like shit because we worked fine together for years and I am the one put us in the position to end like this.

He is an asshole. And so am I. If I had handled it professionally I could have walked away without all this guilt/shame/victim shit I stepped back into.

tushnurse posted 7/10/2013 13:41 PM

Uh Redrock, I'm not sure what you said, but I think you were in the right.

Hell if he were my client I'd be sending him an invoice for each of his cancellations. If you cancel last minute for anything else you get billed.

He is using your niceness to hurt you financially. F' him. Sorry you are in the money hole now.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 7/10/2013 14:01 PM

Do you have a written contract? If not, you should. Does it have a cancellation policy?

I am self employed and a contract is a must to keep from getting taken advantage of.

Amazonia posted 7/10/2013 14:07 PM

Most contracts for things like this have a cancellation policy - you have to cancel 48 hours in advance, etc.

Can you tell him in writing that from now on if he doesn't give you xx hours notice, he will still be responsible for payment on canceled days?

redrock posted 7/10/2013 14:44 PM

No written contract, other that our agreement to have it done bi-weekly and what it is. I really do not have many clients who flake. They appreciate me and me them.

Mostly I go by common sense(clients do too), I usually cut the cord if it isn't working... If there is a holiday or a kids sick or whatever comes up, I let it go. My kids get sick too. I have some wiggle room, as do my clients. I just let it go on and on here.

I am more disappointed in how I jumped back into the victim role and allowed myself to react emotionally rather than thoughtfully.

You can't have a business and act like that. Also, I had 2 chances to enforce whatever I felt was right. I chose to let it continue.

In the voicemail I stuck with the facts(how often he missed and how many times we have discussed it) and then added that I use this income for 'bills' just like he does and that my daughter is about to leave for college.

It is the last part I regret. and my tone. I was clearly emotional. That is where I went into the triangle. He is not responsible for my bills or daughter. It just feels embarrassing.

I thought about emailing him my apology, but that feels like a cop out. I was going to face it on the phone and apologize and end it there.

I have not called yet. I know he doesn't get home till 6pm.

idk- which is better email or phone? I think I would want to hear it... I do know that I am probably overthinking it. He probably doesn't care.

[This message edited by redrock at 2:49 PM, July 10th (Wednesday)]

Kajem posted 7/10/2013 16:11 PM

If you can be unemotional - then phone.

If not then send your apology via email.

I would not reschedule or mention continuing with him at this point. The fall is right around the corner. He keeps cancelling and it is a problem for you. Apologize, replace him as a client and move on.

Life is too short to be dealing with people who do not respect you or your time.



Sad in AZ posted 7/10/2013 16:23 PM

Frankly, I would just send him a note indicating that you will no longer be providing services for him and leave it at that. Yes, going into personal stuff is unprofessional, but in the grand scheme of things, what you said was not that bad.

The fact that you recognize what you did as wrong is a good omen. Now work on not letting it happen again. Also, you might consider a more professional approach to your business by writing simple contracts as others have suggested. When you present yourself as an amateur, people will treat you as an amateur.

brooke4 posted 7/11/2013 04:03 AM

I don't really understand this. I have a cleaning lady who works for me in the mornings and someone else in the afternoons. Occasionally I cancel her at the last minute for one reason or another, but I pay her regardless.

If she was not planning to work for me during those hours, she would presumably have taken another job. She relies on this income to feed, house and support herself and her son. We don't have a formal agreement, but I essentially feel I have contracted for her time and owe her for it regardless of whether or not I use her.

I'm sorry you feel bad, but I don't think what you did was so awful. He was being seriously inconsiderate. I would, however, recommend that you figure out how long you need to re-book your time if you are cancelled and set terms that the client will agree to abide by - i.e. cancellation must be 48 hours in advance or payment in full is expected.

tushnurse posted 7/11/2013 08:38 AM

^^ This ^^
I would also say in the future you need a contract that says if they don't cancel 24 hours before hand they still pay. You can choose to enforce it or not, but if you have it in writing, and they abuse it, then you can collect.

Don't feel bad, and Don't allow yourself to feel a victim. Learn from it, and protect yourself in the future. OK so that was a mistake, never letting that happen again. Send him a letter via old fashioned mail, be professional, but dismiss him as a client.

You had every right to get upset, and he is hitting you in your pocket book, that hurts. Who knows maybe he will learn from it as well.

lynnm1947 posted 7/11/2013 09:10 AM

You need to apologize...why? You were speaking the truth. He should know that his unprofessionalism is affecting your bottom line. If you do contact him, apologize only for losing your temper.

redrock posted 7/11/2013 11:07 AM

It has never been my policy to ask someone to pay for cancellations.

Because I have had cause to cancel as well. I ask for some consideration and give it as well.

It has never been too much of an issue. Even in this situation, It would not have become a problem if I had enforced some consequences or quit him earlier. I did lay some of the groundwork for it to get here.

Also with the 2 other cancellations(one for vacation, the other was not expected), it ramped up my anger/stress about how I expected to use the funds...

I am upset that "I" gave myself permission to go off on him in an unprofessional way. As someone who has worked hard to stop that kind of immature outburst in life, never mind my professional life, it is embarrassing.

Plus, I have, in the past, spent much time wallowing in victim point on the drama triangle and can now see how I was quick to jump there again. Even when I know better. Sigh.

I sent an email last night. ended it and apologized for my outburst and said it was best that we sever this now.

No response. probably won't get one and I am okay with that. Thanks all for your help.

Pentup posted 7/11/2013 14:56 PM

Just because you have a policy stating you will charge for cancellations, does not mean you have to bill for it every time. In fact, giving someone a "pass" on a cancellation because you understand an emergency will build you professional respect. It happens a second time, you say how sorry you are that they had that happen and invoice them. They will not be surprised. Anyone who gives you a hard time about that repeatedly, you do not want as a client anyway.

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