RESPECT BEGETS RESPECT. The point of this post is not meant to defame or retaliate. I’m sharing a disappointing experience as a way of reminding suppliers that if a client treats you in a condescending or discourteous way, you don’t need to take it sitting down. In fact, you shouldn’t.
WARNING: LONG POST BUT WORTH READING.
One of my contacts launched their family business and needed a host for their event, so I told her I can do the job. Days leading up to the event, I worked with her on the details of the program. On the day of the event, I was feeling under the weather but I still showed up and was well-prepared, as I wanted to honor my commitments.
I was led to a small office while waiting for the event to start. There was another girl in the room with me – I am assuming that she is one of the business owners’ staff.
Suddenly, a woman came in and spoke to the girl in the other room. She then looked at me in a strange way, pointed at me, and asked the other girl in derogatory tone (and loud enough for me to hear) “Sino yan??” (Who’s that??). I found it a bit disrespectful but anyway, I said that I’m the emcee, and she identified herself as the mother of my contact (aka the client).
Minutes later, she came in again, this time looking more irritable than she was earlier. She came up to me and asked me to move to another seat, which was totally okay, except for the way she said it, again in a derogatory tone: “Pwedeng dun ka?!” (Can you stay there?!)
By this time, I was already getting agitated because of how I was being treated. She was talking to me like I was a servant or like I was one of her staff. I transferred to another seat anyway, and while I was moving my seat closer to the table, it was making these loud, scratchy noises, which I think got on her nerves.
After that, she was talking to her staff in a really high-strung and rude way. At that time, I was charging my phone, and she said, “Kanino ‘to?!” (Whose is this?!) so I said it’s mine. Without saying anything, she just pulled the charger out of the socket and then slammed my phone on the table! That was the final straw for me! I said to her – calmly but still making it known that I was ticked off: “Excuse me, can you please not slam my phone on the table?!”
That set her off! She immediately became defensive and said “I did not slam your phone!” We got into this whole heated argument about the phone-slamming incident! It was not an earth-shattering slam and she did not break my phone, but it was still loud and strong enough for me to notice and call her out on it.
I told her that I felt disrespected with how I’m being treated (stating particular incidents), but she tried to turn the story around in a very defensive manner. She then blamed ME for the tension-filled situation!
In her rage, she said, “I’m your client!!!” and I retorted “Yes, you are but you have no right to talk to me like that!” She then yelled her daughter’s name (my contact) and ordered her staff to get the daughter.
When my contact got there, she said, “Paalisin mo nga ‘to!” while pointing at me (Tell this person to leave!), after which, she yelled at me: “Get out!!!” So I got my bag and my sweater to do exactly that. In a way, was a relief because even though I still would have pushed through with hosting, I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing it.
While collecting my things, she then kicked the table (or chair? I don’t remember) forcefully until all the things on top of it went flying around. All this time, she was repeatedly screaming “Get out! Get out! Get out!” And I was like, “I AM leaving!” I tried talking to my contact before I left, but she was yelling “No!!! Don’t talk to my daughter!”
She followed me around until I was finally outside, still while screaming her head off, “Get out!!! Paalisin niyo yan!!!” (Make her leave!!!) There were so many people there, mostly customers, and they could see and hear what was going on. I was getting ready to call a GrabCar at that time, and she still wouldn’t stop. “Get out of my vicinity!!!”
I walked to the nearest gas station to be picked up there. At that point, she was no longer a client to me. She was just… this person who has no problems treating other people – even a pregnant woman – horribly. They haven’t even signed my contract and given me the down payment for my services yet! In my contract, I require a 50% deposit to confirm the booking. I just didn’t ask for it this time since I know and trust my contact enough.
When I arrived at the gas station, I was hot and shaken up, and my head started throbbing. My immediate reaction was, “I hope my baby is okay.” I know that stress can affect the baby negatively, so that was what I was scared of more than anything else.
If you are an event supplier, please remember this: YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL. EXPECT TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE. Yes, clients are important, and they deserve to be dealt with respectfully but SO DO YOU. They are paying you for your service, your expertise, and your time – but you do not work FOR them. You work WITH them. You are not their slaves. You are their PARTNERS. Your job is to help them achieve a successful event. You may need them, but they need you too.
It does not matter which stage you are in at your career. Whether you’re a newbie who’s just starting out and trying to make a name for yourself or you’re a veteran who has been doing the job for years – you deserve to be treated with kindness and politeness. After all, you’re not just a supplier. You’re a PERSON. And you need to be valued, not degraded.
And if you’re not treated or spoken to properly? Speak up!!! Do not tolerate bad behavior! Just before she drove me out of her property, I told her, “I’ve had plenty of clients, but this is the first time this has happened to me!” and she said, “No! YOU’RE different!” In my head, I thought, “Why, yes, I am. I AM different. I’m the one who won’t take your shit.” (Of course, I didn’t say that out loud though!)
Again, the point of this post is not to spark more anger. My well-being is more important for my pregnancy and the baby’s sake.
The truth is, by posting this, I open myself up to possible vulnerability should anyone try to tarnish my reputation as a host, along with certain realizations—#1, it’s just work. This is just a job. It’s not my life. If my job is gone today or tomorrow, it’s not the end of the world. #2, I am confident that a lot of people will back me up – people who have worked with me and people who really know me well. Their opinions are all that matter to me.
I’m not an overly religious person but funny enough, I decided to watch the church service live on Facebook today, and the topic was… ta-dah!! “Love Your Enemies!” Haha!
Okay, that’s going too far. I can’t say that I LOVE that client, but I’m not wishing evil on her. Besides, why waste time and energy on plotting ways to get back on someone? Time and energy are so valuable to just be wasted on undeserving people. 🙂