Soon after hanging out my own shingle, I met with the wealthy sister of an existing client for a short term gig. So, yeah, there were two reasons to feel obliged to drive an hour both ways for our breakfast meeting. I ordered coffee. She ordered an egg. One. Egg. OK, whatever.
The food arrives, and what was a actually a decent conversation ground immediately to a halt. Why? The egg wasn’t poached. Not that she requested as much.
She whispered – in retrospect, I would say HISSED — to her partner:
Client: Get the waiter over here.
Waiter: Yes, ma’am?
Client: I can’t eat this. It’s not poached.
Waiter: We don’t make eggs that way here.
Client: WHAT?! What kind of restaurant doesn’t make poached eggs?
Waiter: Ma’am, I’m sorry but…
Client: (through clenched teeth) TAKE. IT. OFF. MY. BILL. AND I WANT TO SPEAK WITH THE MANAGER. NOW.
A single egg was just a dollar Her partner started curling into a sad embarrassed shell of a man. His shoulders very nearly met over his breastbone.
Hilarious when I think back on it. Also instructive, but then hindsight is 20-20 — because I did wind up working for her. I have a multiple choice question for you. Said Mercedes-driving, inheritance-privileged harpy paid my invoice:
B) 90 days later
C) After 22 months, following numerous polite requests, then threats of legal action.
If you guessed C), you’re right. But, please, spare me the “agreement and down payment” tut-tut. I learned my lesson long ago.