Author Topic: How to deal with flaky people  (Read 13528 times)

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mrkitty

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How to deal with flaky people
« on: April 13, 2012, 12:29:25 PM »
Someone please help! I need some insight and feedback, please!

A couple of weeks ago, our doorbell rang. It was a gentleman running for congress in our district. We were excited to meet him and give our support, because our current representative, in our opinion, isn't doing much to represent the people of the district. The gentleman asked us for a campaign donation, which we would gladly have given, except I am unemployed and DH is underemployed....we're not in a financial position to make any contributions to anyone at this time, much to our dismay.

However, we did offer to volunteer to help his campaign. We thought since I have some free time right now, perhaps I could help out by making calls or canvassing or something like that. So, the next day I called the campaign and left a message offering to help out.

Several weeks passed. Tuesday night around 8 p.m., the phone rang. It was the candidate, asking if we could give a “surrogate” speech on his behalf at a county party convention in the next door county to us on Saturday afternoon. It’s about thirty miles away from here. We said, sure, we think we can handle that. All we had to do was travel up there tomorrow (Saturday) and give the speech, shake a few hands, talk up the candidate and go.
He emailed me the speech the next night, Wednesday. In the email, all it said was to be there at 8 a.m. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, except we are very tight right now. DH gets paid every Friday, which means that in order to buy food and other basic necessities, we have to float checks beginning on Tuesday. We have paid a lot in $35 NSF fees the past few months – the bank is making a tidy profit off our misfortune, but that is our problem. Unfortunately, we cannot make a check at the supermarket for cash back before 8 a.m. due to their security procedures – they don’t keep cash on hand before that time, not that I blame them. It’s just inconvenient for us.

Needless to say, that was a bit of a headache. I never heard anything from the campaign manager or the candidate on any additional details about the event, so I took it upon myself to contact the party chair to ask about what time we HAVE to be there and the order of events, what’s expected of us, etc. It took me half the day yesterday trading emails with this woman to get basic questions answered. Fortunately, I found out the event doesn’t even start till 10 – so we can get there in plenty of time. Thank goodness I did this, or we would be sitting around for two hours twiddling our thumbs.

Meanwhile, yesterday evening, AFTER I found out everything I needed to know, the campaign manager finally deigned to call me. He then asked me to give remarks after the speech talking about why I personally support the candidate. He also asked me to print out flyers to hand out at the campaign. Fortunately, we still have our Xerox machine from when we had our small business  - that was one lease we managed to pay off.  He said he would email me the PDF of the flyers so I could print them out and then cut/fold them into brochures. He also wanted me to forward the remarks I intended to make on behalf of the candidate so that he could make sure they were consistent with the campaigns messaging strategy.

Within 15 minutes I emailed the remarks. Today is Friday, the day before the event. I still have not received the flyers email, and nobody had followed up on my very brief remarks that I sent over.

But the candidate DID manage to call me when I was in the shower to ask my husband to attend another even happening concurrently in another county because someone else dropped out. That’s a bit of a problem, since we have only the one car.

I emailed back the campaign to let them know, and to inquire about where are the flyers and edited remarks. Still nothing. I’m a annoyed because it makes me nervous to deal with flaky people, and at this point I feel like they’re being flaky.

My husband is frustrated and now doesn’t want to go at all. I’m feeling the same way. We were prepared to eat the extra cost to go up there and take the time to do it. But it’s very annoying that the campaign hasn’t bothered to communicate in a timely manner.

How best to handle this?? Any ideas? I feel stupid for not asking about the details when we first agreed to do this. I personally have reasonably good follow-through. I just don't know how to handle people who ask for favors and then don't cooperate with you when you agree to help them.

I guess I'm really just venting. I think it's kind of rude not to communicate with people whom you've asked to help you. At this point, after replying to said candidate's request to attend the second event and asking about the status of the flyers and remarks, I've heard nothing. So I'm wondering if they even still want us to do this. At what point should one just give up? I've heard nothing back. What should I do, do you think? Should we still go tomorrow if we hear nothing from them?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 12:39:51 PM by mrkitty »
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doodlemor

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 12:55:04 PM »
I don't think that you would be out of line to email these people and tell them why you can no longer do this favor for them tomorrow. 

If you do want to give them another chance you could email them one more query with a time deadline of later this afternoon.  If you do this, don't respond to any emails after that time.


elephantschild

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 01:47:55 PM »
Yes, to be really honest, I'll probably tell them, "I'm sorry, you haven't communicated with us well at all. We are no longer able to help you." I'd probably have done it earlier, in fact.  :-\   

They're using you. (Which is fine if, well, you want to be used. But I think they at least owe you full and timely information on said usage.)
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
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jedikaiti

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 02:05:00 PM »
Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

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mrkitty

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 02:29:23 PM »
Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?

Excellent question. I've just now heard back from the candidate with profuse apologies and an offer to front us the cash for tomorrow. Pride forces me to decline the cash, but it also forces me to follow through on a commitment...but second thoughts are occurring.
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Coley

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 02:31:11 PM »
When a volunteer is willing to give of his or her time to help a cause, that volunteer's time is as precious as gold. This is one of the cardinal rules of volunteer coordination. If the organization needs volunteers, then the organization must treat the volunteers as if they are valuable and appreciated. Of course you are going to be concerned about the flyers and the edited remarks. You want to do a good job on their behalf.

Yes, it is rude that you didn't receive a more timely response, and it is good that the candidate has acknowledged that. The campaign likely would have any number of reasons to explain why they are not more organized; however, it doesn't matter. You're going out of your way for their candidate, and they need to be more responsive and show better follow through if the job is to be done the way they want it done.

You asked whether you should still go. If it were me, I would go to the event tomorrow and deliver the surrogate speech. That was the original agreement, and because I promised to do it, I would do so. The flyers and the edited personal remarks are secondary, IMO. It is up to the campaign to provide the flyers in a timely manner if they want them distributed. I would not concern myself with the personal remarks because the campaign manager has not yet approved them.

After I returned home, I would e-mail the candidate and the campaign manager and inform them that I attended the event and gave the surrogate speech. Then I would add that I appreciate the opportunity to work on the campaign; however, I will be unable to assist in the future. And that would be that.

floridamom

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 03:00:38 PM »
Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?

You read my mind as well:) 

Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?

Excellent question. I've just now heard back from the candidate with profuse apologies and an offer to front us the cash for tomorrow. Pride forces me to decline the cash, but it also forces me to follow through on a commitment...but second thoughts are occurring.

OP.. I'm not sure of the rules of them giving you cash to help out with your expenses or accepting cash.  But it doesn't sit right with me.  Nothing wrong for your pride:)  I just got a funny feeling about when I read your post.  It just feels hinky to me.

mrkitty

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 03:24:47 PM »
Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?

You read my mind as well:) 

Are you sure you still want to support this candidate?

Excellent question. I've just now heard back from the candidate with profuse apologies and an offer to front us the cash for tomorrow. Pride forces me to decline the cash, but it also forces me to follow through on a commitment...but second thoughts are occurring.

OP.. I'm not sure of the rules of them giving you cash to help out with your expenses or accepting cash.  But it doesn't sit right with me.  Nothing wrong for your pride:)  I just got a funny feeling about when I read your post.  It just feels hinky to me.

I totally see what you mean, definitely. I don't think the idea of fronting cash or reimbursement is a problem, though. Political campaigns can't get everything for free. They hire consultants, buy ads, purchase supplies. Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses to a volunteers for actual services rendered can't possibly be illegal, if the services rendered are legal and legitimate. So, I don't have a problem with that. Nobody is making a profit off it, either.

I can appreciate your point, though, and feeling uneasy about it, given the current criminal trial of a certain ignominious former presidential candidate...however, the services he used campaign funds for could hardly be described as legitimate IMHO.  :o

I think gas reimbursement or fronting cash for just enough gas to represent a candidate at an event is perfectly acceptable, though. But I'm not a lawyer and I don't know for absolutely sure...but I did volunteer for a presidential campaign two years ago and that happened all the time....legitimate expenses can legally be reimbursed, I would think.
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 08:36:48 PM »
So it's only been 24 hours since you emailed them your remarks/they asked you to print the flyer? I wouldn't call that flaky, just not on your same time schedule. It is a bit late to leave it to tonight, but given that it's a local campaign, I'd say it's not so out of the ordinary. If you don't get it by the time you leave tomorrow, I wouldn't feel badly at all!
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zyrs

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2012, 04:23:52 AM »
Reimbursing volunteers for gas used in the manner you will be using it is fairly normal for most of the non-profits I have volunteered for, although I have never worked on a political campaign.

Them waiting weeks to get in touch with you and having the first volunteer thing you do be a speech in the next county?  It sounds like they may need an office/volunteer manager.

boxy

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 04:51:48 AM »
This guy will be paid tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of dollars if he's elected and you don't want gas money to work on his behalf?  I'm not sure I follow that.  If he's a true politico then he's already raised a bundle and there's nothing wrong with you receiving what every other volunteer would be offered.  The last thing you want is to see him get into office, part ways (because once he's elected you won't exist anymore), and then feel like you were taken advantage of.  You mentioned that it's your pride holding you back - please don't let that be the case - especially if you're bouncing cheques.  Being smart isn't the same as being rude.

artk2002

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 08:48:37 PM »
I would absolutely expect to be reimbursed for expenses while working for a campaign. My time may be a donation, but wear-and-tear on my car is not.
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stargazer

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2012, 08:59:13 PM »
Exactly.  I'm not sure why you declined the money.  Are you okay accepting it after and just didn't want it fronted to you?  I would absolutely expect to be reimbursed for gas and wear/tear on my car at the least and any money you are out printing the flyers (if you needed to buy paper or ink).

mrkitty

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2012, 10:03:31 PM »
I know it doesn't make sense. Intellectually, it shouldn't be a problem. I feel like a putz. I am so naive! Now that it's over, I'm sure I won't hear from him again. But, at least I kept MY word, which is important to me. It would be nice to be reimbursed for the gas, though, so I'll submit that and see if they pay us back. It wasn't as much as I thought it would be, though. And, even better, it turns out we didn't have to bounce a check this week.

But that's why I generally don't involve myself in stuff very often.  I don't have great patience, to my regret, and find dealing with people that I perceive as unreliable particularly vexing. I always try my best not to disappoint people, yet I find myself disappointed often. I guess that's the trouble with being a "people pleaser". I think I need to work on that issue. But that's not what this board's about....I know. :)
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LeveeWoman

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Re: How to deal with flaky people
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2012, 10:24:21 PM »
I know it doesn't make sense. Intellectually, it shouldn't be a problem. I feel like a putz. I am so naive! Now that it's over, I'm sure I won't hear from him again. But, at least I kept MY word, which is important to me. It would be nice to be reimbursed for the gas, though, so I'll submit that and see if they pay us back. It wasn't as much as I thought it would be, though. And, even better, it turns out we didn't have to bounce a check this week.

But that's why I generally don't involve myself in stuff very often.  I don't have great patience, to my regret, and find dealing with people that I perceive as unreliable particularly vexing. I always try my best not to disappoint people, yet I find myself disappointed often. I guess that's the trouble with being a "people pleaser". I think I need to work on that issue. But that's not what this board's about....I know. :)

Yes, it is! The board can help you learn how to politely stop being a people-pleaser by helping you grow a polite spine.