I believe in graciousness and being polite even when others are not, and I come from the school of thought that the client is always right. However, I’m not so sure the same always applies to rude guests, and, sometimes, it takes all of my self-control not to tell a guest to go to hell.
A little more than a year ago, I did a New York City wedding just as the cherry blossoms were at their most stunning. The bride and her family were thrilled with my spring designs and couldn’t have been sweeter or more excited on the day of the wedding. Unfortunately, the maid of honor was a complete nightmare.
While my team and I were installing our design, she called out to me, “Hey, you.” Now, I thought was a pretty rude way of addressing me, but of course I still acknowledged her. She continued, “Are you the florist?” I replied, in a very restrained tone, “Actually, I’m the designer, but, yes, my company did the flowers.”
“Well,” she said, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Some of these flowers are dead.”
What I was thinking by this point was, “Who the hell is this crazy BLEEP BLEEP?” But what I said was, “Madam, please show me the dead flowers. We have many more fresh flowers and more than enough time to make replacements.”
But she still wasn’t satisfied. “That’s not the point,” she went on. “After all of the money you’ve charged my friend, how dare you show up with dead flowers.”
What really irked me about this, is that I’m obsessed with making sure that every flower in my work is perfect. I do everything possible to make sure that my team and I always give 100%, and I was very upset that this maid of honor would accuse me of anything less.
Unfortunately, this woman’s behavior isn’t rare. Here are three tactics to help you deal with rude guests like her:
1. When this woman voiced a problem with my flowers, I immediately replied that my team and I were prepared to fix it. But this wasn’t enough for her. If a rude guest remains unwilling to find a solution and just wants to be angry, at a certain point, you should just walk away. There is only so much you can do.
2. Sometimes, the best strategy is to simply shrug it off. And remember, whoever is being rude to you is probably dealing with his or her own issues. After the wedding, my lovely bride told me that her maid of honor had been a little jealous, because she wasn’t the one getting married. Her friend’s wedding was hard for her, and, unfortunately, she took that out on me.
3. Of course, you can always tell someone what you really think, too! What I truly wanted to say to that maid of honor was, “First of all, my name is not ‘Hey, you.’ Second of all, you are not my client. Get out of my face. I have work to do.”
I pride myself on giving my clients AND their guests flawless service. I was also raised to turn the other cheek. So, I didn’t do #3, but, boy, was I tempted! What would you have done?
Tomorrow is my Dear Preston column, but on Wednesday I’ll share what happened next. You won’t believe it!