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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Carol in ME
Date: 01-30-2007, 07:37 PM (1 of 13)
I need your opinions here. I work right now for a dry cleaner, doing alterations. A customer has approached me twice to do part of a project for her. I get the feeling that it is a craft project she's trying to make money on, and she wants the work done for next to nothing. (She doesn't own any sewing equipment.)

I feel mean saying no, and in fact, I don't want to turn down something that is easy and possibly profitable for the store, but I get a bad feeling from this woman. The second time she approached me with this she was actually in the store, and gave me a sob story (Husband left, amputee, neuralgia, the lady who used to do this for her only charged her 25 cents, how could we charge so much) The more she talked, the more I felt manipulated, instead of feeling empathy for her.

I'm going to time out the one item I have for her...but I feel icky about the whole thing. I feel bad 'cause I don't feel especially bad for her. Am I a cold-hearted wench?
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: lendube
Date: 01-30-2007, 07:52 PM (2 of 13)
I think two things.

#1 You are just the opposite of being a cold witch.
#2 You already know what to do and you're looking for support.

As the old saying goes: You can't be taken advantage of without your permission. I think this lady is out to get a bargain and doesn't care if she takes advantage of you.

You can always tell her that you ran it by your boss and he/she doesn't want you taking in the work for whatever reason.

You're a nice person and to be honest it's easier for me to dish out the advise than to actually carry it out. I'm more like you are.

Good luck, Lennie
User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: lizzybugsmommy
Date: 01-30-2007, 08:02 PM (3 of 13)
Ok you are not a winch she is. She is heartless if she is only paying someone 25 cents to do somthing for her. I would ask her what she needs done and give her a fair price and tell her take it or leave it. I cant stand it when people think they can get somthing for nothing. You have to use you time and energy to do it she should pay you a fair amount for it. DO NOT let this woman take advantage of you. If you feel that you cannot do the job after she tells you what it is tell her. I greatly dislike confrontation but I will not let anyone run over me either.
Good luck
Lots of love
Catherine lb_pml&cb=PW

Husbands gone fishing..... I've gone fabric shopping
User: lizzybugsmommy
Member since: 05-20-2006
Total posts: 207
From: Carol in ME
Date: 01-30-2007, 10:10 PM (4 of 13)
You're right. I think the gut-check was right in the first place and I'm just over-thinking this. The lowest price we have for any repair at this operation is five dollars (the only exception is buttons.)

All the seamstresses are meeting with Boss tomorrow, in fact. He's already frustrated that some of the staff's wages are 60-80% of the billable work they do in a day - he's not making a profit at that rate.

It's hard to explain this to people who aren't business-minded, (heaven knows I'm not, just have a feel for it since I've done this forever) but the price has to reflect the customer coming in, the consultation, the paperwork, retrieving it for her when she comes in to pick up, the upkeep of the property and such.

I think what frustrated me is that she seems intent on convincing me to do this (a sure way to get me to dig my heels in) and the accompanying helplessness, (I can't use a sewing machine, I can't use a computer, the woman who used to do this for me broke up my marriage,)
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: paroper
Date: 01-30-2007, 11:39 PM (5 of 13)
She thinks she can take you...hold fast. Just tell her that you don't set the prices and (whether true or not), as long as you are employed there, any business that is taken in must go through the store's cash register, which is technically shouldn't make arrangements to do outside work on company time. Even if you owned the place, you couldn't afford to set prices from one individual to another.

If she is really selling these, she knows that the more she can keep prices down the more she can make. Tell her too that it is doubtful that she will get anyone to do the work for the price she want to pay (remember we're talking about the lady who USED to do it...and you don't know how true that story even might be). If she really wants to turn a profit she needs to invest in the equipment and learn to do it herself.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: PaulineG
Date: 01-31-2007, 12:33 AM (6 of 13)
Danger! Danger! Danger! I agree with all those above. She is definitely trying to con you. Stick to your guns. If her sob stories are true that's terrible but not your responsibility to resolve. There is caring for your fellow man (or woman) and then there's letting yourself be a doormat.

Look after yourself.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: esrun3
Date: 01-31-2007, 11:05 PM (7 of 13)
Send her packing! If you feel you are being manipulated you probably are!! stick to your guns.
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
From: MaryW
Date: 02-01-2007, 07:59 AM (8 of 13)
Always go with your gut feeling. It has never let me down.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Patty22
Date: 02-01-2007, 05:30 PM (9 of 13)
the lady who used to do this for her only charged her 25 cents

bwhahahahaha........and that's why she isn't doing it anymore....... bwhahahahahahaha

Your instincts are your protection; don't be afraid to listen to them.
User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: Carol in ME
Date: 02-01-2007, 06:23 PM (10 of 13)
I did buttonholes for a quarter 1967. It may have been worth more than that, but I think Mom thought that was an "appropriate" amount for a twelve-year-old to make from neighbors who purchased cheap machines that didn't perform well.

Mom isn't much of a capitalist...If she was, she'd have charged me for depreciation on her machine, and had Dad bill me for the electricity.

Fortunately, we had a meeting with Boss-man yesterday. He's very into making the department productive, getting us the tools and resources we need. And he not only understands the prices have to come up, he believes unless about twenty per cent of customers walk away, they're not high enough. He has proposed an incentive plan to increase productivity.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stitchers are on a tear, whining "We'll lose customers" (as if cheapskates are worth hanging onto) "I don't want to turn out lousy work, I have my reputation." He told me when he hired me that this was coming, but the rest of the ladies feel put-upon. One of them is absolutely certain that if her wages for the shift are $80, and her work bills for $81, she's made the company a profit.

We did discuss, too, that there must be some kind of minimum, for a seamstress to handle something once and the clerks to handle it twice...more than this lady will be willing to pay, for sure.

As a side note, the story goes, the lady who used to do this for her helped break up her marriage, or so she says.
She claimed she sent a letter to the woman, sarcastically "thanking" her for helping to ruin her relationship with her husband. I enjoy dark humor as well as the next person, but as I think on the situation, that's not the sort of person I'd want to associate with.

It's kind of sad, in a way. Clearly, she needs friends and help, but being pushy and needy will only alienate the people she meets.
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: Linda in Colorado
Date: 02-03-2007, 12:20 PM (11 of 13)
Whooooeeee! Red flags went up all over the place on this one! Send her packing. Soon! Before she has more time to do any more damagage.

About your boss raising the store's prices -- you know the old saying -- if you have too much business, raise your rates. If you DON'T have enough business, raise your rates!
User: Linda in Colorado
Member since: 03-27-2000
Total posts: 102
From: VenusElaine
Date: 03-31-2007, 07:11 PM (12 of 13)
I have been perusing these posts and considering my reply.
I do custom alterations, specializing in bridal/formal. I also own and operate a home-based custom fabrication business.
Too many people presently believe that "anyone can sew" even if they do not.
I have heard every rationalization. "I can do this, but don't have the time; This is really easy, simple, etc. .."
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, they can or they can't, and if they come to me, they can't.
I am not apologetic or ashamed to charge the prices I charge ($1.00 per MINUTE) It is a skill, it is a talent, it is an art. And not one you get a college degree in.
I live in Morgantown, WV. WVU is in my hometown. I love my University, but they cannot teach what I know. I have been sewing since I was five years old.
I no longer work for the "designers" in Morgantown because they will not pay my prices for fabrication of window treatments, bedding, or slipcovers. I have quit these things entirely because of this.
I have ceased fabrication of most wedding gowns, formal gowns, pageant, performance or fantasy gowns, bcause the client expects it for less than retail.
A custom fabricated and fit gown costs as much a designer gown, plus alterations!
NEVER undersell yourself! You are gifted.
"Always put as much effort into your marriage as you do into your wedding."
User: VenusElaine
Member since: 10-22-2005
Total posts: 126
From: jessie s
Date: 03-31-2007, 11:33 PM (13 of 13)
Stick to your guns. Smile a lot but walk away. Are you guys getting any business from this broad or is she just there to give you a sob story. If no business then smile and gradually walk away. jessie s
User: jessie s
Member since: 02-26-2007
Total posts: 46
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