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Am I Wrong to be Upset?

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  • Am I Wrong to be Upset?

    I have a client with a standard poodle puppy that's just starting to go through his coat change. His behavior is typical puppy...silly and wiggly, but not bad or evil. His coat is the most difficult aspect of grooming him.

    The first time I did him I was just dealing with puppy coat. Difficult, but not impossible. Owner wants him in an historically correct Continental. Woo Hoo, try doing that with puppy coat. But it turned out pretty nice, all things considered.

    Last week, he came in for grooming. The coat is now changing, and it's a nightmare. No amount of scissoring would make it look even, even top thinning didn't help much. I noticed a spot where I'd gotten his jacket pattern line a little crooked, so started the repair there...just have to wait for it to grow out. I did the best I could with what I had to work with, and with a silly, wiggly young dog who hasn't learned to stand still yet.

    Owner calls the next day complaining. He's uneven; "Yes, his coat is changing and he's a wiggle pup. I told you this is a work in progress, and it'll take time for his coat to come in, and for him to learn to stand still. I also pointed out where I was starting to fix the mistake I made with his pattern. Next time he comes in, it should be long enough to fix it totally."

    Owner: "Well, it looks like you didn't trim his topknot at all. It looked great when I picked him up, but it fell over last night, and it looks ridiculous now."

    Me:"Yes, it's puppy coat. It won't stand up well until his adult coat comes in, and even then it'll need to be brushed up every day. I can't do anything about the texture, but if you like, I'll re-scissor it shorter, so it'll stay up longer. Just bring him back sometime this week, it'll only take a few minutes."

    She makes an appointment for Saturday morning. Saturday morning comes, it's snowing and kind of icky out. She calls and talks to the receptionist, complaining again, and adding that only one ear was done (NOT possible), and fussing about how unhappy she is. It's snowing, and she's not going out in it, so cancel the appointment, she'll just wait until his next groom. The receptionist told her that we'd groom him next time for free!

    When she told me, I just about lost it. A ten minute re-scissor is now a 2 hour free groom!?!? NOT! I tried to explain the whole situation...and might I add, if I told y'all how much this woman is paying in the first place, you'd ask me if it hurt when they stuck that tube in my ear and sucked out my brain. I told receptionists she's already getting a real deal on the price, and it's absurd to give her a free groom over a something I don't even have any control over; a coat change!

    I am not a happy camper. I've waited this long to post my question, because I was so mad I couldn't even think straight. I thought maybe once I calmed down I'd change my mind. Well, I've calmed down, but I haven't changed my mind. I explained all this the first time she brought the dog in. I explained it the last time she came in. I explained it over the phone. Now I have to comp the groom because our receptionist couldn't take two minutes to talk to me before telling her I'd groom the dog for free.

    I'll do it, because I don't have a choice. But I'm not going to be happy about it, and I'd really like to tell the owner to take the dog somewhere else from now on, and see how she likes the groom she gets. I'm not being a snob, I'm being honest; I don't think there's another groomer around here who even knows what an historically correct Continental is, much less knows how to do one.

    So, what do y'all think? Am I wrong to feel upset, and just a bit put upon?

  • #2
    No, my first reaction would be major attitude, and big time complaining when I got home that night! I think you have every right to feel put upon. Maybe it would be easier if you explained to the owners that poodles aren't supposed to be in the continental until they're a year, for the exact reason that it's very impractical to put puppy coat into such an intricate trim. I really don't know how you did it in the first place. I know 90% of the Std Poo pups I do have such a floppy coat it would NEVER allow me to trim it that way.

    In closing, I don't know if I'd lost the customer, but that's just cause I love grooming Stds. However, if she doesn't recognize that you're the professional and what you're saying has merit, then I wouldn't blame you for asking her to go somewhere else. People need to trust us, otherwise it will never work out. They'll always be second guessing you and it becomes a major headache...I know, I groom one of these!

    Ps. What's a "historically" correct continental?
    No Fur, No Paws, No Service.


    • #3
      You have ever right to be upset. Don't you just love it when the receptionist who gets paid probably by the hour, says no problem we will fix it by giving you a free groom. No money out of her pocket.


      • #4
        I agree a comp'd groom is a bit much. I know how difficult puppy hair is and the topnot can not expected to be perfect the next day, especially for a puppy. I think I would just grin and bear the com'd groom, have a good talking to the receptionist, and then try to mend things once more with the customer. But I would be perfectly clear that they can not expect free grooms in the future so they don't continue to complain for a free groom.


        • #5

          Wow you must have alot of control....I'd be way pass upset at the owner and the receptionist. AAH just one of those small blessing groomers/stylists get to deal with. People that dont listen to what they're told. It always ends up being our fault. doesn't matter if the puppy was impossible for the first groom or the old dog can't stand anymore or one of my personal favs the haircut was to short but it's been a year since Harry the poodle was in. We're mere mortals give us a break LOL.


          • #6
            Afraid I am on your side. I do everything I can to keep from doing any kind of pattern on puppy coat in the first place. It never turns out right. I would be real ticked.


            • #7
              I would be upset. Do you own the shop? I would call the customer and explain that the receptionist mis-spoke and there will be a charge for the next grooming, give the customer the chance to decide if she wants to come back. She sounds like a PITA anyway, just think it's only the beginning, the dog is still a puppy, how many years are you willing to put up with this womans attitude. I would not charge less than $80 for a continential. You may want to tell her that as the dog grows , so does the price.
              Tell your receptionist next time she makes a mistake like that it's coming out of her check!


              • #8
                You're not wrong. I'd be upset to. I do 2 poodle in a continental. They are getting a steal of a price and one is a puppy. If I had someone that told those owners I'd do their dog for free I'd flip my wig. That's way to much work to be doing for free.

                Heck a Poodle is just to much work to do for free, no matter the cut. I say take the price out of your receptionists pay.


                • #9
                  Just reading this made my blood pressure go up! NOOOOOOO You are NOT wrong!!! That receptionist had NO right! We all have to swallow this stuff sometimes but it does not make it right!
                  I work at Petsomething and we get new bathers and groomers all the time plus our mgr is a piece of work. So I need to be aware all the time about my bookings and check in and outs. And who says what to clients. It feels some days I spend alot of time with damage control instead of grooming.

                  You have every right to be VERY angry and you need to set that receptionist straight and tell her never to tell anybody anything with consulting you first!


                  • #10
                    I'd be mad too. Does the receptionist have that kind of authority to give away services for free? If I'm not mistaken you work at a vet clinic right. Well maybe the boss should be let in on this. Sounds like this will be a long term PITA, especially since your brain was temporarily removed and you gave her a deal in the first place lol. After all if this is only the second time the dog has been groomed, and she complained about something which is out of your control, she will learn to complain about something everytime and so she can get a free groom. NOT, nip this right now, talk to the boss. Apparently, the receptionists brain had been removed too. Stuff her brain back in her head and let her know that YOU are the GROOMER, and YOU decide who gets a freebie not HER!! If you do end up having to do it for free, make sure your brain is intact and then the next groom charge her what it is worth, plus the PITA fee!! You have every right to be pissed. Let us know how it goes.

                    Hang in there-

                    PS-Here is another option, you could send her to me I will give her a Continental, charge her double send half to you. One thing I know for sure when I got through with the Continetal clip she would gladly go back to you and never complain about the groom or the price. The fanciest poodle clip I have done is a dutch, turned out pretty good, I think, owner didn't complain and they came a few times before they moved.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by baddog View Post
                      I would be upset. Do you own the shop? I would call the customer and explain that the receptionist mis-spoke and there will be a charge for the next grooming, give the customer the chance to decide if she wants to come back. She sounds like a PITA anyway, just think it's only the beginning, the dog is still a puppy, how many years are you willing to put up with this womans attitude. I would not charge less than $80 for a continential. You may want to tell her that as the dog grows , so does the price.
                      Tell your receptionist next time she makes a mistake like that it's coming out of her check!

                      I second that, I think that the receptionist was way out of line and the customer.....
                      "Whoever Said That Money Can't Buy Happiness Forgot About Puppies"


                      • #12
                        This totally sucks. But, it is done. Don't waste your time stewing on it. Do the next groom for free, then up her price to an appropriate one. Talk to the receptionist or powers that be to take care of how to handle future situations. Make it an example. If she doesn't like it, she can go somewhere else!


                        • #13

                          How long have you been grooming?These kind of things happen and you have every right to be upset.You still need to talk to this customer and tactfully let her know that the reseptionist was trying to make her happy but she really needed to talk to you because you know that you worked very hard and it is only right to charge what the groom is worth.If it were me I woul call to tell her to bring the dog back as soon as possible then bathe and brush it out do maybe a face feet and tail and some scissoring.She should pay and if she doesnt like it maybe she will choose to go elsewhere.If she does then maybe she will learn to appreciate what she actually has.I remember doing a difficult dog years ago and explaining to a customer that it was nearly impossible to do and that maybe with time it would get better.I am way cheap also.Anyway not long after I saw her husband at the convenience store and he told me that they had taken the dog to another groomer who refused to do the dog unless it was sedated which they did not want to do.I had known these people for quite a while long before I started grooming and I really dont think they took me seriously as agroomer.It has been 5 years now and that crazy dog is a regular no one else will do it .I have avery stong feeling that the same thing will happen with this customer of yours and she will really appreciate you services more.We have feelings and it is important to let oeople know how we feel.You will live longer and be happier


                          • #14
                            oh boy, i would be beyond mad. i would just tell her in a polite voice, that since she was so unhappy, maybe she would be happier somewhere else, but, i would let her know that if she stays, as the pup grows, so does the price of the groom. if she does go somewhere else, i'll bet she comes scurrying back.


                            • #15
                              I would be mad, too

                              Are you only upset ? If I were you, I would be on fire already. Do those " classical standard Poodle lover " have any sense about poodles' coat ? If they like to show off their dog that much, they should learn from how to keep their yuppi wiggi puppy stays still.