By Bonnie Wonders-Trent
You can predict that when a customer asks for a full-fledged Poodle “Bikini Clip” on their Cocker Spaniel, the dog will inevitably wind up with a bout of Colitis that necessitates a Veterinary visit. Of course the waiting room will be full of other clients and EVERYBODY will want to know where the lady gets her dog clipped. Naturally this all happens when a touchy Cocker breeder happens to be in the said waiting area. Your name is mud.
You spend two hours painstakingly dematting a big poodle mix and create a beautiful masterpiece out of the dog… (HUGE pat on back of oneself.) However, after customer’s spoiled 12 year old pouts that they wanted the dog naked anyhow, you must redo dog with a #10 strip to keep said child “happy.” Ugh.
You feel sorry for a customer who you think really has a hard time keeping ends met. You throw in a free grooming this week to remind yourself to be thankful for having a good business all these years. Four hours later, you find out that this same customer just inherited 1.2 million six months ago. Talk about hitting the lottery twice… and you never even got a tip.
You congratulate one of your customers whom you heard recently got married. However, it turns out that they actually just found out that their spouse is cheating on them and that their house is listed in the paper for delinquent tax sale. You got them mixed up with another client. (Note to self… have hearing & Alzheimer’s test done… soon.)
You order a new spare set of clippers even though nothing is wrong with the ones you use right now. Two days after the receipt of new clipper the old one dies. Thank God you had the foresight to order that new spare! However, when you plug that new one in it won’t even turn on. Ensue bout of panic, equal to dog with Colitis in example #1.
You know you’re a real pro when your dinner conversations revolve around that “How was your day?” talk. Everybody contributes to their normal headaches of the day and YOUR stimulating contribution to the conversation is about how full that Spitz’s anal glands were. They got away from you and shot right into your hair. You can be sure everyone was listening to you because at that point you are the only one still eating your food. Everyone else has now stopped and they’re just giving a gag reflex look. Yes, you do know how to keep ‘em on the edge of their seats.
You know you’ve made it big when you brag about never having mixed up two different clients’ dogs with each other and giving them the wrong haircuts. You then proceed to give the same clients the wrong dog when they come to pick them up. How fast can you run through the parking lot when you realize what you’ve done? Technically, they should have known their own dogs when they saw them… it’s all shame on them…
Nothing says Professional like when you tell a customer, “Thanks for the tip!” when you think they’ve left you a tidy extra sum. Problem is, you miscounted and they actually gave you nothing extra. Now they think you’re being a smart Alec, calling them out on being cheap. Oops.
You can feel less than perfect when one of your long time customers is apologizing profusely about the horrible matted shape her dog is in when in fact, it is in really good condition. In an effort to prove your point, you tell her about this woman who owns a dog that looks just like hers. The other lady’s dog is ALWAYS in truly horrid shape, they never brush its hair and it’s a nightmare to do. Coincidently, the offender happens to walk in right at that time and you find out that she’s her daughter in law that the customer just adores. Open mouth, insert one large foot.
You reassure a new customer that you haven’t had an accident with a dog for twenty some years. It is of course then that you manage to cut off a major mole on their dog, thus necessitating a quick trip to the vet, your payment for an emergency doggy medical bill, a free grooming and a note to self to purchase some smelling salts for yours truly. Not that it would do you much good if you’re already out cold on the floor.
You are without a doubt a hero when you allow an overly neurotic owner to stand on the other side of your grooming table while you cut their dog’s toenails. When said owner hears the “click” of the first toenail being cut, she immediately proceeds to pass out. You are able to reach across the table, grab at the woman’s sweater to keep her from hitting the floor and in the process, manage to pull her sweater right over her head as her arms go limply into the air. Yes, it happened and I don’t know who was more embarrassed. The dog was fine though, thanks for asking.
You should get a complimentary supply of Prozac when you are able to hold your temper when an owner of a dog that has just nailed you walks in to pick it up. As you stand there with your ‘Oh so valuable’ pointer finger wrapped in a wad of bloody paper towels, secured with electrical tape since you couldn’t get to the real bandaging stuff in time, the owner looks unimpressed. As they say, “Did he get you?” with a big smile, you are ready to choke them. Not only did they not tell you that you are like the eighth groomer they’ve been through, but oh well, “It’s all just a part of your job anyhow,” they remind you. No, of course they don’t offer to tip, apologize, or take you to the ER. They DO however tell you that you did a nice job on Kujo. They’ll be back they assure you. Whew! Job security, lucky you!
You are doing great when a customer constantly complains that you charge too much. Then they go to a ‘Chop Shop’ up the road. After several months go by, they return to you, only to tell you that they are going to give you “Another chance to groom their dog if you will meet the other shop’s price.” You tell them you don’t negotiate on price and that it’s probably best that they go back to the other place. It’s then that they tell you that “You HAVE to fix what that other place did and that the dog looks terrible.” It’s empowering to be able to say, “I’m sorry,” and not mean it…
You know you are a good groomer when you truly have customers who become some of your dearest friends. Like when you sprain your knee, because you tripped over a yard decoration of a horse and buggy and one of your clients come in to help you because you can’t carry a dog while on crutches.
You are a good groomer when an elderly customer says “Love you,” just as she is hanging up with you from making her appointment.
You feel like a good groomer when dozens upon dozens of your customers tell you that their Veterinarian recommends you.
You feel like a good groomer when you can afford to give out freebies to some of your clients when you really know they are having a rough time or just because they’ve always been so good to you.
You know you are a good groomer when you receive those handwritten ‘Thank-you’ letters from people who really appreciate your work.
Lastly, you know you are a good groomer because after 30+ years, you can’t imagine doing anything else, even when you have Carpal Tunnel, pinched nerves, shin splints, tendonitis, and arthritis from your job… ahhh… this is the life for me!