I just spent some time working with a caterer in the NY Metro area, for a dinner party for 30 I am planning. I gave her my price per head for food up front ($90 pp) and told her this budget of course did not include her costs for staff, as she let me know she was still unsure what my job would entail. After visiting the party site she came back to me with a total cost which was a bit more than I had hoped to spend ($142 vs $135 per person), and I asked her if it would be possible to shave things down to my cost, at a difference of $12 pp. I let her know I understood if it was not possible, but wanted to take a shot. I just hadn't been expecting a %57 increase in cost due to staffing issues. More like %50.
SHE FREAKED. Told me she was really upset, that she couldn't talk to me now because she needed to get her bearings...I was stunned, isn't she in a service business and used to people negotiating? Keep in mind I had been very low maintenance before and hadn't asked her about money at all prior to this. I apologized and told her I really didn't mean to upset her, just wanted to see if we could tweak things a bit to fit our budget.
Caterers out there or those with catering experiences--was I wrong to ask? I feel awful now. She made me feel like a real slime ball....
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