We deal with a diverse range of clients at work. There has to be a good relationship between the client and the builder as a project can take up to two years to complete so you are going to have to get on well if you want to keep them happy.
Some clients, usually the women I am sorry to say, are just a nightmare. Pain in the bum, ignorant, incapable of making any decisions and then change their mind frequently. Each change they make costs them money and then they complain. Generally I never have to speak to them and they deal with either the project manager directly or communicate via an Architect.
Other clients are a dream to work with. One thing we have learnt is this. The uglier the house, the worse the client is inclined to be.
We also have repeat clients. They just do up a house, sell it, buy another and start again. I just love those clients.
For a past few years we have done three jobs for a particular client and his wife. They are the nicest people you could ever meet – most of the time. I have spoken to the husband many times on the phone and finally met his wife a few months ago.
He is very high up in a well known blue chip company and she stays at home and keeps the home running well. They have two young daughters. He is a perfectionist and likes things done his way. His wife used to be a chef and they entertain a great deal. Each day, before he comes home from work, she has to clean the house top to toe. And when I say clean, I mean clean. Bathrooms, toilets, mop floors, vacuum, iron everything etc etc etc. She is always stressed the hour before he arrives home from work just in case she missed something.
When he is annoyed about something, he will send either myself or my boss the most vitriolic emails that you could imagine. Full of spite and nastiness that actually goes way beyond offending me and actually give me great pleasure in reading out aloud. And I have never actually met him personally so I cannot imagine what a complete shit he would be then. One time he actually said to me “I never want you to ring me again, I never want to hear your voice on the end of my mobile phone”. Okay…….
He is apparently a big man (about 6’4” tall) and very thick set. His wife is petite, gentle and has pale skin with freckles. She has an intelligent demeanour and is very interesting to speak to. Always friendly, kind and welcoming whenever I have spoken to her. She makes light hearted apologies for her husband saying that he is a perfectionist, likes things a certain way and can sometimes be a bit difficult. I say, no big deal, he is not my husband so it is not my problem.
A couple of years ago they invited my boss and his wife to a party. When they turned up at the house the door was answered by a topless waitress in a g-string. Upon entering the house, my boss noticed that there was an atmosphere in the room that was one of discomfort. Everyone was staring into their glass of wine and mumbling away. He ignored it and starting munching away at the food whilst admiring the semi naked waitress. Eventually things perked up and the night went on. Then some people started jumping in the pool naked and my boss and his wife decided that it was a bit risqué for them and went home.
It was not until two days later that a friend, who had also been at the party, informed my boss that, just prior to his arrival at the party, our client and his wife had “outed” themselves as Swingers. My boss could not believe it. He is a born gossip and related the entire story to me in great detail.
Now, I truly do not care what people do or don’t do for sexual thrills unless I am somehow in the picture (one on one thanks very much), if you know what I mean. The old rule applies “if it is between consenting adults” it is fine by me. But, I don’t need to know. You want to allude to liking a shag, that is okay, but spare me the juicy details because I have a personality type that will visualise everything each and every time you speak to me from that time on. Not that I mind, but you might.
Since then, whenever I have spoken to the client all I can think of is what they do. It is very juvenile of me. One time I had to drop in there to pick up a cheque and she was telling me they were having a big party the next night and the theme was “Shagadelic” that Austin Powers thing. I just went “oh, okay, that sounds like lots of fun”. Then she said they held lots of parties as her husband liked them and I am thinking “okay, fine, whatever, don’t care and by the way I cannot believe you bang lotsa guys on the weekend”, which is sooooo childish of me.
I must have the maturity of a 16 year old because I think it is funny and am almost laughing about the whole thing right now.
These clients actually charge a fee for men to attend the parties and will hand out a card to the people they think they would like to invite. They need more women apparently. When they sold their last house, the purchaser became a regular party attendee....
I have never been given a card.
Should I be offended or relieved?