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in Singapore by

Opinion: Was I really a bad client?

Forgive me lord, for I have sinned. I am the client I thought I’d never be. Recently, I had to plan for a family event. Fairly large scale in nature, I had to meet several event companies to discuss ideas and costings.

While I am pretty used to saying no to the slew of press releases that come into my work inbox (and don’t fit our publication’s agenda) on a daily basis, I just could not do it for my own event. I was terrible – absolutely horrific – at saying no. After meeting seven event planners and having an hour-long coffee chat exchanging ideas, I realised saying no was not easy.

I didn’t want to call them and say: “You are not the chosen one.” I delayed and procrastinated the process. Guilty – I know.

So did I finally choose a partner? Yes. Out of the seven planners I met, I liked two equally. And in that instance, I went for the partner whose price tag was within my reach. (Insert guilt here.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go with the partner who was the cheapest. Nor did I make them dance to the tune of reverse auctioning. In fact, the individual I ultimately chose to work with was sincere and had a great reputation in the industry.

Nonetheless, I still do feel guilty for price being a part of the decision making process. I tell myself when you have two options you like equally, it does end up being about the cost – any smart marketer would say that. Right?

But there was one instance in particular I didn’t feel guilty about being a “bad client”. One organiser I met came to the meeting empty handed and empty headed. I asked if he had some examples of his work to share and the conversation went a little like this:

Me: Could I see some of your prior work and executions? Do you maybe have them on your laptop?

Planner: I didn’t bring my laptop. Why don’t you check out my Facebook page?

Me: I did. That’s why I asked you here. But I assumed you wouldn’t put all your work on Facebook.

Planner: Oh, it’s all there.

Me: But there aren’t too many pictures. And honestly, I was hoping you could help me brainstorm some ideas from the brief I gave you.

Planner: Well, I don’t have anything new to share with you. My work is all on my Facebook.

Me: OK … *silently seething* … let me share a few more of my ideas.

Planner: Oh wait, do you have a pen and paper? Also do you have a Wi-Fi password because I am out of data so I can’t show you my work on Facebook with my mobile phone.

That was when I mentally checked off.

While I carried on the conversation in a relatively polite manner, I decided he wasn’t worth the time or the effort. Also for the record, he was an hour late and didn’t send any of the other basic costings he promised to by the end of the week. Maybe out of spite, I didn’t bother following up further.

Yeah. I don’t feel too guilty about that.