Friday, January 25, 2008

Just business...

This is one of my new musical discoveries, Jesca Hoop, isn't she fun?

Those of you who know me, which I think is most everyone reading, know that I look for personal connections with just about everyone I meet. Lately this has come back to haunt me in several ways.

Soon after our store opened I helped a nice gal who seemed about my age and enjoyed the store very much. As I was ringing up her purchase I noticed the shopping bag she was carrying had the logo of a store across the street at the mall that I had just had a really pleasant visit to. I asked what she had bought and she told me she was the manager! And we've basically carried on something of a friendship ever since. A week ago (a Friday evening) she came in and coyly told me she and her fellow were there to look at wedding invitations! How exciting! It was so nice to work with someone I was really happy for. It turns out her wedding is quite soon and I was concerned about the turn around time on letterpressed cards for her. But she insisted that everyone already knew about the wedding, they knew who was coming, it was merely a formality because she wanted them. I encouraged her to get her order finalized by Sunday evening, a few nights later, so it would get processed as soon as possible (this would be the next time the invitations department would even be open). I spent at least an hour with her, and went on my lunch break quite a bit later than scheduled, but we settled on a design and I sent her off to work on text before Sunday. She signed off on the terms and conditions, I rung her up, she asked for a hug before leaving (!) and we went on our merry ways. Sunday she emailed in text, and I sent in her order so it was processed first thing Monday morning.

And then she called the store shortly after I left on Monday. She wanted to cancel her order because she had decided that it was too expensive. When informed that this was no longer a possibility she threw me under the bus and apparently accused me of rushing her into it. I was really upset to hear this. I thought I was helping a friend get what she wanted in time for her big day. And instead it looks like our little friendship has fallen apart. I had been considering making a purchase from her store and now I feel uncomfortable with the idea of seeing her there.

Another example: I got a Christmas card from the gal who has been doing my brow waxes. I was very brow-phobic till I went to her, she works at my old hair salon in Palo Alto. It's been a bit of a pain to drive all the way down there just to drive all the way back and hide out at home while I wait for the redness to go away. And she's also expensive. But I liked the awesome work she did and I liked that she remembered so much about me every time I saw her, which was only for about fifteen minutes, every other month! The personal connection really held me. Well, like I said, she sent me a card, so I sent her one of our New Year's cards. A couple days ago I called the salon and made an appointment for the following morning. A couple hours later I got a call on my cellphone (the number I had given the salon for appointment confirmations) from a number I didn't know. She was calling me for a personal favor, did I mind coming in later for my appointment? I was her only scheduled morning appointment and her boyfriend was leaving for the airport and she really wanted to be able to take him. I told her I couldn't come in later because I had to go to work, but that of course we could reschedule!

This is the part where it gets really sticky. I decided to try this more local small-business place, two sisters that run a teeny-tiny "brow bar" with great flare. It's more inexpensive so I could afford to go in more frequently and highly reviewed on Yelp. I went yesterday and I loved it. So now I don't know what to do in the future. It was our personal connection that made her know it was okay to call me... I feel bad leaving her right after that. It isn't like I actually had a problem with her request! And I will miss her (though I loved the sisters too). It's just bad timing. Gah!

And then there's one of my rather expensive habits (the others being travel and chiropractic, though that's covered by insurance now): personal training at the gym. Earlier today I used up my last session with LT and I have to see how many sessions I can buy to get me through the year. I don't want to spend more than I have budgeted, it's her job to get me to buy sessions... it's awkward on a friendship. And we really are friends. I'm checking out my options, training less with her and learning to do more on my own (which I hate, chatting with her distracts me from noticing the weird looks from the meatheads up in the weight room), asking someone I've met through spin class who has become a trainer how much her sessions cost and maybe mixing her in a bit... I don't know how it's going to turn out. But it's personal connection and money butting heads again.

And it's making me tired.

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