Dealing with difficult people

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  KYKAT 12 23 10 years, 8 months ago.

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    This is kind of long but I really need to vent before I call this lady back tonight.

    Many of you have read about the psychopath doctor I had to deal with in my quest to see a dentist. I had hoped I was through dealing with impossible people for a while but, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

    I just started feeling well again this weekend and had tried to get in touch with a lady who wanted me to work on her computer. All I got was a ringing phone – no answering machine or anything so I gave up and got all my other business calls caught up with and tried again to get in touch with that lady who had called twice while I had been so sick. She is also one of the customers for our housecleaning service and Teresa had gone there just a week or so ago to clean her house. Teresa had also explained that I was sick with a severe toothache and infection.

    When I couldn’t get in touch with her, I started working on my notes for my classes which I was pretty far behind in. I got most of my notes for two of my classes caught up with and, on Monday, I felt good enough to go back to school without having to carry orajel and a bottle of water with me wherever I went. I was feeling pretty good actually.. almost back to normal. Then I returned home from school to this message:

    “Mary, if you want to work on my printer, fine.. if you want to work on my computer fine… if you still want to clean my house fine… just call and tell me. If I don’t hear from you…” That’s when I stopped the message playback and called the ..b…er..I mean.. lady.

    When she picked up the phone, she had nothing but attitude toward me. I explained that I had been very sick and in a lot of pain over the last two weeks. This still did not change her attitude. Her reply was, “Well, I wish somebody from your company had told me this!”

    First of all, Teresa had told her I was sick. Second, her reason for wanting to get in touch with me was for me to come check her printer and now her computer — for free!! I had already told her a week before I got sick that I wouldn’t charge her for a service call just to come diagnose the problem if I was already up in that area. So, I hadn’t set a date to look at her printer — in fact I had already told her over the phone what to do about the printer but she insisted she wanted me to do it (what is so difficult about looking inside to see if the printer carriage is on its track?) and I was going to do this as a favor — not for a fee! But then I got sick with that tooth infection and Teresa had told her this.

    When I told her I had tried to call her she said (in a very b****, ” There was no message on my answering machine or anything!” I told her that I only got a ringing phone and she said, “Well then your fingers must not have dialed the phone right! But they certainly dialed the phone right today!” I explained that each time I had called I had use my cell phone which has her number programmed into it and she all but called me a liar. Her attitude totally caught me off guard because this is usually a very nice lady and I have helped her out a lot with her computer in the past and she has always been very grateful.

    Still, wanting to keep my housecleaning job, I bit my tongue instead of telling her what I thought of her attitude and asked her about the computer problem. She continued to give me nothing but attitude and I was sorely tempted to hang up on her.

    Finally, I told her I would be up in that area – keep in mind this was going to be a free service call so I am doing the lady a favor and one would think she would dump her attitude in favor of some gratitude (no rhyme intended) but she still kept up the b***** attitude saying, “Well make sure you call first because I don’t just sit around waiting for you to call or show up you know!”

    After thinking about the conversation for much of the day yesterday and some of this morning while waiting for Teresa to get here for work, I decided I really did not want to deal with that lady even if it meant losing a house. I told Teresa what had happened and asked her opinion. She simply asked me how much I was willing to let somebody walk all over me. (Teresa surprises me sometimes by actually having some insight). She also agreed with me that I shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of attitude even if it does mean losing a house.

    After work, I had Teresa call the lady and tell her I was still at school and wouldn’t be able to come up to look at the computer today. The lady just said “Ooookaaayy.” and hung up the phone on Teresa as she was trying to tell her that I would call her later.

    I fully expected a message on my answering machine telling me that she no longer wanted the housecleaning service but, so far, no angry messages or anything.

    I almost feel guilty for backing out after telling the lady I would help her but then again, I did not deserve to be treated the way she treated me. Am I wrong? Should I have gone up to look at her computer? Or was I wrong in the first place by taking the lady’s attitude and not hanging up on her when she gave me the attitude problem?

    I still have to call her back but I really don’t want to talk to her.



    You can get other business. You don’t need to be treated like garbage. It sounds as if the lady’s expectations were pretty high, especially for something you were doing as a favor (at no charge). I understand her time is valuable, but so is yours.

    So I’d hope you can politely tell this woman that you will not be working for her anymore. And that will free you up to seek other customers who will be easier to work with, in a polite way with reasonable expectations all around.



    I don’t understand why some people are so wrapped in themselves that they cannot listen to why you were unable to help them. You gave her all very good reasons as to why you were unable to be there. Hey, what does she think..a toothache is a walk in the park? Sheesh! Tell the lady that you are unable to assist her with her computer issues due to the fact that you have been nothing but professional and she has been rude and inconsiderate. Remind her that you were going to do this for free and how much it could now cost her for her behavior. If she cannot be pleasant on the phone with you or act in a professional like behavior, then she isn’t worth your time or efforts. Just be careful she doesn’t start bad mouthing you to potential clients. Some people just need a good tongue lashing in that wonderful English manner where you basically put them in their place without being out right rude. MCW and the other UK ladies can help you there. Hugs and purrs.


    Jo in Blairsville

    Having been self-employed for 35 years, I nip problematic clients in the bud. It’s not worth the aggravation. But there’s a way of doing it that doesn’t offend them.

    I usually say something along these lines….

    “I’ve taken a few moments to give serious thought to your needs. Since I can see you are a very particular person, and since my time is already spread thin with existing obligations, I don’t feel I’m the chef for the job. I would recommend another chef, but I don’t currently know anyone who I think is capable of sharing your vision. I’m going to have to pass this time, but perhaps we’ll do business in the future.” Then under my breath, I mumble, “That is sooooo not happening.”

    Always best to not burn bridges. Good luck!


    Jo, Good advise, and I agree.



    Well, the situation has resolved itself. I waited to call the lady back and, this afternoon, she left a message on my answering machine saying, “I have made other arrangements to get my computer fixed and to have my house cleaned.”

    I called Teresa and told her what had happened and Teresa said she was going to call the lady back just to see what the **** is going on. Basically, Teresa is going to act as if she doesn’t know about the computer situation and just say something to the lady like, “You always seemed so happy with our service, did we do something wrong?”, just to see what the lady says.



    Do..Not..Feel..Guilty..In The..Least,OW!


    Leave a note w/her ONLY if you feel compelled.

    Actually, do leave a note w/her.You don’t want her spreading bad word-of mouth around the community.But do move on to other customers.



    You’re well rid of her. A rude, bullying and manipulative b***h is someone all of us want to avoid. There are people in the world who cannot be pleased. Be happy she is out of your hair.

    Much love,




    I would suggest waiting till you hear from Teresa as to what the issue was and then send her a note stating that unfortunately your plate was full what with your tooth issue, school and your business and to pardon a bit off more than you could chew or something to that fact. At least it shows you are professional and if she bad mouths you to anyone, you can show them that you had sent a note. If she bad mouths you to other people, you might consider getting some written references to cover yourself.


    AZDEBRA 5/27 & crew

    owlwatcher, others have given you good advice. Its sad that some ppl can’t accept that there are situations that overcome their desires. Don’t feel bad about not fixing the woman’s computer, from what I have read and understood in your comments, this was to be a free service; she can go to someone who fixes/repairs computer(s) and pay them, then she has the right to complain if it isn’t done to her satisfaction. Personally I wouldn’t even address that issue with her, I probably would send a letter as suggested regarding the cleaning service(s) and that you were sorry you couldn’t provide the service she required and unfortunately didn’t know who to refer her to at this time (as Jo put it in such better language than I). Please don’t let this stress you out, there will be others, and honestly you can’t please ’em all.


    KYKAT 12 23

    Owlwatcher this kind goes to the Karma thread. Take a calming breath, write a professional note in conjuction with your partner and then forget this woman’s very existance. Her bad attitude will come back on her. If you retain a good and professional attitude and then shrug her from your shoulders and continue on you will be the better. Her hateful attitude is her burden to bear and not yours. Whatever you do, don’t snap back and lower yourself to her level. I am glad the tooth is feeling better. Hope the BP is down as well. hugs.

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