I am exhausted. And famished. I haven't even had time to drink my pumpkin spice latte today. Don't worry, I still like it after it's been sitting on the corner of my desk for eight hours. And I'm just so glad to be typing this up because it's the first time all day that I've had a chance to hold my fingers straight for more than 30 seconds.
Yes. I am busy. Busy the way the holidays should be. The way we'd all like to be. The way I haven't been for the last three years. This is the way I remember it, and I am trying very hard not to complain about it because I know, come January, the phone is going to stop ringing and about half of my new business is going to wander off.
But keeping things in perspective does not help at all with the fact that I am too busy to accommodate several would-be new and returning clients in time for the holidays.
Which puts me in the enviable position to be quite snooty right now. As of this moment, I do not have an opening left until after Christmas — possibly till after the end of the year (I don't know. I haven't looked that far ahead yet). So all these people who call me up wanting an appointment this week, are SOL. And all I can do is shake my head while I try to patiently explain to them that when I say I do not have an opening, I mean, I do not have an opening. I'm already working extra hours and days to accommodate the extra business. Anything more and I risk coming home to find the locks have been changed on the doors at home.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from an old client. I haven't seen her in probably three years, but I adored her and I was really excited when I got her voicemail. So I called her back and she explained that she wanted her nails put back on, with some custom nail art for an upcoming special event. I found her a spot in my schedule that worked and she asked for a price quote. I quoted. She got really quiet.
Uh oh, we all know what's coming next, right?
"Ummmm, Maggie? Have you're prices gone up?"
In three years? Hell yeah they have. But not by much. So I said "Have you been on my website? All my prices are listed there." I was really surprised that she seemed so surprised by the price.
Then she says, "Is that because I want rock star?"
"No. You didn't tell me you wanted rock star. That's just a full set with the specialty nail art. If you want rock star it'll be at least another $10."
"Oh. Cuz I used to only pay like $45 to get my nails done even with nail art. I only budgeted $40. I'm going to have to check my finances and call you back."
So we hung up and I spent the next two weeks running over our conversation in my head. Yes, she insists she used to pay me $45 — she probably did. But not for a full set. And yes, she actually did say she budgeted $5 less than what she remembers paying three years ago for a full set now.
The conversation tugged at my heart strings a tad. This is a girl of whom I was very fond. I have really missed her over these past few years. I'd really like to have her back in my regular client roster again. But, then again, this conversation left me feeling a little insulted.
I shrugged it off — no time to dwell on it when I have so many other fabulous clients demanding my time and not arguing my prices.
Then, this morning, I got another message from her: "So, if I get my nails done somewhere else and just have you do the nail art, then what would it cost?" The message continued with a long, drawn-out explanation that although she thinks my price is expensive, she could afford it, but it's high, but she could do it, but ...
But basically, it boils down to this: She doesn't want to spend that much money to get her nails done. So she's trying to haggle me down? This ain't no yard sale.
Doesn't matter at this point anyway. I don't have the opening anymore. Which is highly satisfying to say.
But talk about feeling beat up and slightly betrayed. Kinda nags at my gut. And it kills me that I can't really discuss that side of business with my clients. I've been waiting all day to tell this story here. I knew you'd understand.