Dealing With Difficult Vendors
“What are you going to do about it?”
My mouth fell agape as his hand slammed against the glass counter. Below, wedding rings rattled. Outrage. Pure, unadulterated outrage. I felt the anger rise in me as I sustained a lengthy stare with the man-child behind the till. Was he serious? Was this previously attentive shop tender taking the Michael?
My partner and I had set out on what was a fairly simple errand. We’d made the journey across the QE2 (paid the extortionate toll) and to the Bluewater shopping centre to pick up my fiancée’s wedding ring that was in need of resizing. We’d considered getting mine re-sized too, but with my knack for losing things (I lost my engagement ring on my stag do), we decided it was probably best that it was a little too tight.
They had already been a little funny with us when we announced we weren’t altogether happy with the rings. They claimed the ring size was exactly the measurement when we first visited.
“Then why doesn’t it fit?”
Eventually they caved.
When we arrived to pick up the ring, they asked us for our receipt. In retrospect we should have seen this coming. We should have known this wouldn’t be easy. We should have been prepared. Nevertheless, we had one of the rings. By our logic, they surely wouldn’t have given us one ring without the other, would they?
The shop we visited was small. Of all the times we had been there, we had only seen three people. An older man, the audacious man-child and on this final occasion, an older woman. It took us some time to realise, but it finally clicked. This was a family business.
My point here is that the older man we were speaking to should’ve known who we were. In fact, we know that he did. We know he knew we had paid and that’s what made this entire situation so ridiculous. So I told them.
“This is ridiculous.”
And this brings us back to where my story started. Clearly offended that I had informed his father that his service wasn’t up to scratch, the young lad had bewildered us with his outburst.
Wedding vendors have a tough job. Day in day out they’re greeted with very particular customers, planning for what has been pre-destined as the biggest day of their life. Any small error they make is a mar on their day. Their big day. And that just won’t do.
It takes a certain type of person to be a wedding vendor. Scratch that. It takes a certain type of person to be a good wedding vendor. You have to be patient. You have to be attentive. You have to be objective. Emotionally charged wedding vendors just won’t do. But you will meet them. And you have to know how to deal with them.
“Are you threatening us?”
This probably isn’t how. Yes, I know it’s your wedding. Yes, I know you’re sensitive about it but emotional reactions are bad. If a wedding vendor is being a dick, don’t let your mother-in-law off the lead just yet. It probably isn’t personal. They’ve probably had a bad day (and if your mother-in-law is anything like mine, they probably don’t deserve it).
In my experience, people aren’t often directly nasty. They tend to be so wrapped up in their own lives that nastiness can just overflow at times and affect the lives of those around them. When it comes to wedding vendors this is no different. They snap at people that don’t deserve it. They make your life hard because you’re a customer. And let’s face it, what customer-related job doesn’t have its I-hate-customers moments?
So why shouldn’t you retort? Well, I did. So as hypocritical as it might be for me to tell you not to, it’s advice from someone who has been there. You shouldn’t do this because it leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Yes, we eventually got our rings. And they fit. And they are beautiful. But there is also a part of us that resents where we got them. There is a part of me that is still angry about how they spoke to us that day and about how I reacted. It’s a bad memory associated to our wedding because I didn’t control my emotions.
Take yourself out of the situation.
Consider this. If you were to step back and look at the situation objectively would it bother you? If it still does, you need to then approach the situation intelligently. If there is a genuine problem that hasn’t been brought on by a mix of overflowing nastiness (on either part) you can approach that situation through logic: what needs fixing, how can it be fixed, who can fix it? If the vendor is unwilling to cooperate once you approach the situation it might be an idea to write a (calm) letter to their superior to explain the conundrum (hate mail is generally frowned upon).
It can take a whole gamut of people to put together a wedding, the chances are there will be at least one vendor you aren’t altogether happy with. So just remember they most likely aren’t out to destroy your dream wedding. If they are, save your emotions, (because they aren’t worth it) and contact their superior or an alternate vendor. But whatever you do, don’t lose your temper. If you lose your temper, it’ll create negative memories. That’s the last thing you want associated with your big day. Nothing has really gone wrong until you lose grip on your emotions.
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