Friday, March 20, 2009
om...I hate people sometimes...om...
So yesterday I got a phone call from a woman needing help with her dog. Yay! I thought, a job! Unfortunately, she was already a client of the company. Let me backtrack - I own a dog training franchise, so it's a large company and each trainer owns their own franchise territory. We offer a lifetime guarantee, which means a client pays a flat one-time fee and is guaranteed as many follow-up visits as they need for the rest of the dog's life (with some exceptions, but I'll keep this short). That's all well and good - the training techniques are effective and most people don't overly take advantage of the guarantee. If they're doing what I've taught them and truly need my help, I'm happy to go back from time to time and help. One big drawback of this guarantee (for the trainer, that is) is that sometimes a client will move to your territory from someplace else. You, the *insert corporation name here* trainer are now obligated to follow up with them despite the fact that you will not make a cent for your time. It's a bummer but it doesn't happen often. On the rare occasion it has, I haven't minded much. I'm happy to help out and they usually don't try to take advantage. This time, however, was different.
This woman called me yesterday saying she'd moved here from out of state and had been trained by another *insert company name again here* trainer, and needed my help. One of her dogs was having trouble adjusting to the move and was showing aggression toward other dogs in the household. At first she just wanted phone advice and I was glad, because she's in the farthest area of my territory and it's a long drive. I listened to the issues and gave her some good advice, told her to call if she needed further assistance. She called again later, problems had escalated, she decided I did need to come out. So I asked who her former trainer had been so that I could contact them and get some insight, see what issues had been addressed, etc. She was rather vague, couldn't remember, didn't have her paperwork, it was still packed, blah blah. But she of course made sure to schedule a time for me to drive out and help her. Oh, and she also decided I need to sort of "train" the people she's moved in with so they can understand the methods as well.
Today I tracked down her previous trainer, only to find out that the dog she's describing isn't even one of the dogs she had our company train! She didn't even HAVE this dog yet. I also found out she's moved twice since her initial training and made sure to contact trainers in those states and use their services. I talked to one of them and she knew for a fact that the breed of dog she is asking me to come train was not one of the dogs she paid to have trained. She had just gotten it as a puppy a few years AFTER her initial training. So this woman was going to knowingly make me drive to her house, almost an hour away, knowing I wasn't going to be paid and that I'd lose money in gas, and basically steal my services by making me train a different dog. Um.....Idontthinkso. I left her a polite voicemail saying that I'd spoken with two of the trainers she worked with previously and that there seemed to be a discrepency in the information she'd given me. I said I'd be happy to train the dog she is currently having problems with, but would have to charge my training fee, as this dog was not included in her initial training contract with us.
You know....I'll be 39 years old this year, I'm not new...but I'm still always blown away when people do things like this. And man, was she playing to my sympathies...telling me how desperate she is, how upsetting it's been to have her dogs fighting all the sudden after this big move from out of state, and I was all set to run to her rescue. In this freaking economy when small business owners are struggling for every penny they make, she was going to knowingly rip me off. And from what I hear from the previous trainers, she's not shy about asking for follow-up visits, so she would have had me driving out there several times, I'm sure.
Okay..must settle down. I added a new stamp to my shop today - the photo says it all. Om......let it go...om...karma will kick her butt...om....why do people suck sometimes?.....om......