Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 13, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 13, 2004 – There is a wonderful old saying and I paraphrase – “If I’m going to be screwed – I at least like to be kissed first” – and last week this did not happen. I was abruptly dismissed by clients because they failed to get a house they wanted in a bidding war. Had they listened to my advice – they would have been the winning buyers. I was angry at their lack of respect for my time and energy and their cavalier attitude in moving forward with another agent, without the courtesy of an honest discussion.
I didn’t know these people well and had no personal history with them, and my existence isn’t threatened by their lack of decency and honesty. Real estate is a tough business. A thick skin becomes mandatory in order to survive in this industry with any degree of grace and good humour.
With that as a backdrop, I was once again “surprised” this morning when I was going through the “hot sheets” (new listings) and saw a property owned by clients of mine, listed for sale with another company. I met with these people numerous times a few weeks ago to price their property – plan the marketing campaign and firm up their plans to move. I was their agent a few years ago when they bought the house and we have enjoyed a very friendly relationship over the years with dinners at our respective homes and week-end coffee. I was at their wedding.
At no time did they indicate that they were interviewing other agents and I was stunned to see their house on the market with someone else. I called to ask if I had offended them in any way and was given the standard – “This all just happened so fast and you did a great job for us when we bought the house and I was going to call you and I feel really awful about this”.
This is all absolute and utter “crap”, I know it and she knows it. I would actually respect someone who said, “Yes – we have just screwed you – but it’s a free world, this is our house and we can do whatever we want with it – so just get over it”. I can hardly wait for next Tuesday to see who is planning to be underhanded with me.
I remember when I first got into real estate sales. I used to listen to seasoned agents talking about their clients and be shocked and dismayed at the things they’d say. Comments about the abysmal lack of respect and dishonesty of people. I used to think how awful it was that they spoke the way they did.
Now I know and appreciate how right they were in their assessment of some people. It’s necessary, but sometimes naive, to trust people. But how else can one function in the world? On occasion there is a price to pay for this trust. It’s not in me to call people every other day to check up on them and see if their word means something.
Are they planning to be dishonest and unkind? I try to accept people at face value and to trust them. Usually I’m rewarded by wonderful, clients who respect my time and professional ability. All people may be created equally, but along the way, many of them learn loathsome behaviour.
When something like this happens, it’s hard not to take it personally, especially when you’ve had a friendly relationship with people, not just a professional one. But at the end of the day these individuals don’t care about me or my history of serving them honestly and well. There are situations where you’re screwed by clients and you almost expect it. In this recent instance, I’d never have anticipated this treatment from a woman I’d always admired, and one I thought possessed great personal integrity.
I don’t like to sound and feel like a shrew. It’s counterproductive and it takes so much energy to carry around resentment. I know I’ll get over this. It just takes awhile to acknowledge a bump on the business highway, process the disappointment, slough it off and carry on. There are better days ahead.