Today my saucy sidekick, Cindy Daniel joined me to run over and appraise a trade for services, pulling up to the house I thought they were having a yard sale! We’ve been in barns, trailers and homes with dirt floors and duct taped windows over the years and on several occasions had second thoughts about getting out of our suv’s.
The truth is that occasionally, we are a little worried about what waits for us behind the front door. Finding a trade of equal value isn’t easy since I often have to refurbish the item and invest time and money to reupholster furniture and appliances. Several times I’ve had a client tell me what the value is rather than the other way around. This argument isn’t new for me since the person trading “wants” their item to be worth far more than it actually is.
Based on the needs of the client- cake & champagne, photography team, film development, travel expenses, officiating the event, etc. I’m aware of the expense involved “to pull it off” and based on the request of the client, keenly aware of what the value of the trade needs to be in order to find the funding necessary.
The truth is that my twin and I both “whip out” our iPhones and research items on the spot so we have a general idea of the value and I can put a pretty good guess on upholstery, labor and staining antiques and furniture after 6 years of flipping items at Texas Twins Treasures.
Many of the items in my storefront looked nothing like they did when I took them in trade. We only get lucky with jewelry, furs or couture clothing for a “quick flip.”
I listed this 1930’s stove on Texas Twins Treasures this morning and shared it on FB and Twitter knowing the value was between $1,500 and 2k. One of my FB friends offered to trade a wedding cake but, the problem was that I had already performed their wedding ceremony and provided photography, champagne and cake. None of my clients who have no money could ever afford a $1500 cake ya all and the only time I provide a cake is when a Texas Twins Events client pays for an elopement package I offer that includes cake and champagne.
My businesses are successful because I know the value of my inventory and our services. Trading a unique item like this cook stove for a cake doesn’t pay the bills around here. The “Pawning Process” is that we are effectively pawning services in exchange for a bartered item and then, selling or flipping the trade in order to recover expenses.
While I often take reasonable offers on items, I don’t “give away” anything because I can’t afford to. Like anyone else, myself and my team of family members enjoy getting paid for their contributions at my events.
Operating one of the most unique and diverse wedding and event services puts me in front of everyone from the rich folks to the hillbillies. Not many people realize that many of my clients are “characters” and a few of them have taken advantage of my kind heart and willingness to go above and beyond. I’ve never met a client who didn’t say they were not “strapped for cash.”
The problem is that the “Demanding Diva’s” who #Cindyism “Pay For A Singer And Expect A Choir” often ask us to run around finding or acquiring things for their event that I don’t have in my loaned inventory and expecting me to pay for them.
After one such “incident” last year, I no longer wait until after the event for payment that never comes. From bounced checks to Bridezillas, when you’ve done over 600 events, you’ve met just about any type of client that exists and it’s fairly hard to surprise me. I’ve been “stiffed” on too many occasions which is why I require a contract and a deposit or trade up front.
Over the past 6 years I’ve met rich folks who expected me to work for pennies when they had plenty of money and ask for complimentary photos when one of my staff members had to be on site working the event and handling photography and I paid for the film development- this has happened so many times that I now ask if you have a venue and how many guests in order to “sum up” what you’re paying for everything else. The truth is that if you can afford everything else, you can afford to pay myself and my team.
When you are paying me $75 (because you couldn’t afford $125) to officiate at your wedding and your rehearsal and want free photography along with printed photos and cd’s, the answer is no. If you have finances to pay for a caterer & venue then you have the have the money to pay my photographers and for film development. Although complimentary photography is offered for Pawning Planners clients, Texas Twins Events clients are expected to pay for services that include photography & film development if they request photography.
No Money- No Problem applies to people that don’t have any money. These clients are in a completely different category because they are broke and truly don’t have any money! However, neither I or my staff work for free when helping struggling clients. These clients may not have money but they have farm equipment, antiques, jewelry, furniture, cars, boats and even old houses to trade and trading items is a requirement for these clients. You see “nothing is free for me and nothing is free for them.” If you want something bad enough-you will find a way to pay for it or barter for it.
Working with people from all walks of life often has some drama because they’ve struggled and sometimes fail to realize that my staff and I are going above and beyond to help them when even friends and family would not. We are the friends of the friendless. Meeting outlaws (the reverse of inlaws) on location has taught me that a few of these loudmouths are the primary reason drama exists! If we are loaning your family a wedding dress, bouquets and boutenniers, etc. A thank you rather than a “where’s this and where’s that” would be appreciated. I’m not a fairy Godmother- I’m a businesswoman who has expenses and am doing for your family what you chose not to do yourself.
I have clauses on Texas Twins Events for outrageous conduct that includes drunkeness and/or abisive behavior to myself and my staff for a reason and that reason is experience. Watching a drunk brother yell during my ceremony and disrupt my staff will only happen once. When I say “outrageous behavior” I’m being serious- I’ve seen it and had to deal with it when I should’ve loaded up our equipment and said Adios. I no longer tolerate that kind of behavior or arguing with me when I tell you what the item is worth- if you can’t agree on reasonable terms then I encourage you to find someone else to help you.
Today was another bum run (we’ve had a few) that left us empty handed but that happens more than you think in this business since we hope for the best but don’t always get lucky.
As I head down to my workroom to finish a table, I’m always reminded of where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and the families we’ve helped but, you can’t please everybody all the time especially if they are unreasonable upon meeting them. Pawning Planners clients are often “a mixed bag of nuts” they’ve been down and out and are struggling to find a way to have an event but sponsored events are solely at my discretion and funded through sales of Pawning Planners Apparel. Due to the number of requests for a sponsored event, it should be noted that I will not commit to an event without an Appraisal Appointment to verify and validate that you are unable to barter or pay for services.
Wendy M Wortham
Comments by Wendy Wortham