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tophat

My attempt to be "giving"

I did something Friday night I can't believe I did. I think it has something to do with this quote that I have on my wall:

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." ~Winston Churchill

I have made an effort this year to be more giving. Because I have had to fend for myself all my life (I had a roof over my head as a child but no responsible parents around to make sure I was cared for or had enough to eat) as a result I am a pretty self centered person. Taking care of myself has always been necessary and has always had to come first. So I'm embarking on this adventure of making sacrifices to give to others.

So Friday night's party was supposed to start at 7:30pm. They called me around 7:20pm to tell me they were just leaving to head to my studio so they would be late. To make matters worse, there was an accident/back up on the bridge because some one had actually driven off the bridge (or so this party told me). So they arrived an hour late.

They are still required to pay full price, late or not. But the problem was their party of 10 had dwindled and only 5 girls showed up. So basically since they split the price 5 ways instead of 10 ways, they had to pay double what they were expecting. Only they somehow misunderstood the pricing and thought they would only have to pay $35 each even with only 5 girls. Imagine their shock and dismay when I had to break it to them that the price on the website still stands and they had to pay full price even with half as many girls and with only an hour left for what was supposed to be a 2-hour party.

I don't know if it was the looks of disappointment on their faces or what. But I felt bad or I felt generous or something and on the spot I offered them $50 off their party. They accepted the compromise and I took the $50 loss even though I was in no way responsible for them leaving late for their own party or them having half their party drop out.

The irony is, I had cut the party before them on Thursday night a $50 break as well. So I'm up to a $100 loss this week for the sake of being generous. I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I should probably feel bad for losing $100 this week. Or I should probably feel good for being so generous to clients. But I feel neither. Maybe I need some more practice at this whole giving thing? At what point does it start feeling good? Or is it supposed to?

Comments

To me business is totally different. I think ofwhat you did as compassionate. Giving to me would be more like you volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Acts of compassion do not really make me feel good - they are just you being understanding and giving your clients a break here and there. If you want to feel good about "giving" then you would probably want to do something where you see someone who really is less fortunate then you are benefit from your charity.
I have volunteered in the past both working with children and at a retirement home. But my current crazy work hours make volunteering impossible, if not detrimental. But I see what you mean.
I have two different friends who came up with the best ideas ever as ways to give back without usng alot of their time since they are in the same boat as you. Maybe these will give you ideas (or get the ideas rolling since you are super creative!). One of my friends does Naked Lady Parties here and there (which I know you love) but all the left over clothing (of which there is a ton!) she donates to a Women's Shelter. Another friend did a game night and required everyone to bring a bag of canned food which she donated all of to the local shelter. You are uber social so maybe doing a gathering of people for the greater good of some kind since it would take a fraction of your time but do a ton for the community and that is something you could feel super about!
I have never been successful at organizing gatherings but I do love this idea. I can use my pole studio as a place to host events.
Or maybe you can do a special deal where they get a certain percentage off of the cost of their lessons/parties if they bring in a certain amount of canned goods. You can have the special run for a few days or a week or something like that. At the end of it, take the food to a shelter or charity. :)

I love it when I can help people out. I take a LOT of pride in my helpfulness, lol. This is why I miss my old customer service job - I could problem-solve and make people happy. It was like a win-win (sans the dumb customers and moronic call center reps!).
Speak to your tax accountant about hosting charity events in your space. Depending on the specific circumstances, it may be tax deductible. My workplace (food manufacturer) donates product that is too old to ship but still okay to eat, and gets a writeoff for it.
When you did this, did you record it regular price, and then record a discount bringing the price down, or just billed them a lower price?
They don't get billed, they pay a deposit to reserve and then pay the balance when they show up. I recorded it in my bookkeeping spreadsheet at the discounted price.
You should talk to your accountant.

I think you should be recording it at the regular price and then showing the discount. From a purely customer service point of view, they see that they got something worth X dollars but only had to pay X minus Y dollars.

From an accounting point of view though, the discount gets counted as a loss against revenue. It is a cost of business.
I don't think it's necessary to feel good about doing good for others - I think we ought to deliberately do good works in our lives, but feeling good about it is optional.

It may be that you would feel better about contributing to a cause that you feel is in actual need, or it may simply be that while you feel it is good business to occasionally extend discounts to clients, it doesn't really feel like doing good works to you.
I agree with this.

Giving a discount to clients who fuck up really isn't charity. I think that would frustrate me. Giving to the less fortunate, helping out a friend or family member . . . those things feel good to me.