TalesFromRetail: Cheap Lady
Owner of a small tailor shop here!
This started many weeks ago when I first interacted with Cheap Lady. She phoned up to ask how much it was to hem a dress. I asked a few basic questions about the dress since the price depends on a few factors. From how she answered these questions, it sounded like she had a simple one layered dress that did not have a wide skirt. I said it would be about $10.
She arrived with a bag full of dresses and other things. The first two were wide skirts and had lining. They should have been at least $25, but since I could finish the edges with a “rolled hem” (it looks like the thread that finishes the inside of seams only narrower and the stitches are really close together) and that was an easy type of hem, I decided to let it go and just do it for that price.
The other two dresses required a bit more work, but again, I let it go. I’d rather not get in a “bait and switch fight” with anyone. I told her that these were normally higher in cost, but this time I would let it go. She still seemed to think that her bill was super high (I just looked it up…. $78 for 4 dresses, 2 pants and 1 jacket.) but paid.
When she came to pick up this order, she had another dress with her. This one was the same style as two of the others, just in another color (there were yellow, navy and cream ones) and she wanted it hemmed as well. I sort of felt trapped into doing it at the same price as the other two. She also wanted me to use the cut off material from the dresses to make a little ruffle that went all around the (deep) neckline to hide her old-lady boobs. I managed to get another $10 per dress for this.
She came in again later with a beautiful floor length red jacket that she wanted shortened. It was a super easy $15 job… however two days later, she changed her mind and since I hadn’t done it yet, she took it back and I noted on her file that she had a credit to use at a later time.
She came in last week to use it and had two items. One was a pair of lined pants which used up the credit. The other was a skirt that was too small by about 2.5 inches or so. She wanted me to “open the seam and sew in some elastic” to make it bigger. … I never feel comfortable with that since elastic is rather thick and makes the job look ugly. I said that I’d rather use some material in a similar color and add it in the back in a V shape to add the width.
She nodded her head in agreement and then started saying variations of “How much will it cost?” and answering her own questions with “$5? How about $5?”
Since I knew she was a cheapskate, I said “No, it will be $15,” in a vain attempt to get any money out of her. She acted like this was way too much money and decided that she will just wear the skirt and not zip it up since she wears long tops that will cover the opening.
Okay, whatever lady.
… I just got a call from the dry cleaner that I work with. I take in cleaning for my customers and send it to them, and they likewise take in alterations and send them to me. Sometimes they need to call to ask about prices and such.
The dry cleaner said “I have a lady here that needs her skirt let out a little and says you can probably do it with elastic?” … Well that sounds familiar. I asked if it was a lady with a beige skirt and and accent and she said yes.
I told her that she was in my shop the other week trying to get it for $5… so tell her $25. I probably won’t be seeing this skirt. ;)