Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?

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Runningstar:
Hi, I'm new around here so please bear with me! 
I have been asked to sew an extremely intricate, fitted costume for an acquaintance.  I said no, but I'm being hounded to do it by both the woman and her
daughter.  This would take me hours of work, fittings, shopping for the materials.   Yes, to make one would cost about $50 while the one they want runs
$300 before alterations!  They can't afford it, she is a single mother and not well off.
She just won't stop with the pa comments of how she can't afford the costume and how she wished she could sew.   We went to an event with her and her daughter last week end and I saw that she is an angry, rude, and self absorbed person who I can not stand to be around more than I have to (my daughter does the same shows as hers).
Since our daughters are in the same club, I'll continue to run into her at least weekly.  I don't have the time to sew this for her, nor do I want the aggravation
and stress if it doesn't fit perfectly, etc.
I need advice on how to remain polite, not create an enemy, but not give in and just sew it.
Thanks for reading!

aussie_chick:
Welcome!
I wish I could sew too!
Acquaintance is being rude since you have already said no.
I would keep up the "i'm afraid that won't be possible" and smile, change the subject - or bean dip.
If she persists, I think it's ok to say "I am not able to. I'd prefer not to discuss it again" and walk away.
Just remember you do not owe her an explanation and you do not need to justify your decision.
 
Alternatively say to her what you said below "i I don't have time."

It can make you feel a bit icky when you have to see her weekly but remember you are not doing anything wrong by saying no. You're allowed to say no!

MariaE:
Would you be willing to do it at a price? If so, just say "Sure, I can do it - it'll cost $whatever for materials, work hours etc."
Her: "I can't afford that!"
You: "I'm sorry - I really can't go any lower at that!"

Make sure not to set the price any lower than what you actually would be able to do it for.

If you're not willing to do it under any circumstances (which is fine!), ignore the PA comments and if she asks straight out just keep repeating the board phrase.

... Or you could do a Phoebe and reply, "Oh, I'm sorry, but I really don't want to." That might not go over so well though ;)

camlan:
She was not rude to ask you to make the costume, once. After you said no, her repeated requests are indeed rude.

All you have to do is stay polite as you continue to say "No." I realize that this can be difficult to do the 100th time around.

It's okay to say "no" and then walk away. It's okay to say "no" and give her a puzzled look, because you've said "no" 50 times already.

If you really wanted to, you could look up the name of a professional dressmaker and refer the woman to her.

If you really wanted to, you could find out where sewing classes are held, and refer the woman to them.

But what you should not do is go into long explanations about why you can't make the costume--time, the amount of detailed work, the cost of the fabrics. That will only give the other mother things to argue with you about--"Oh, we can wait for the costume until you have time," "Oh, you can go to Bargain Basement Fabrics and get it all so much cheaper."

If you never sew for anyone other than family, tell her that. "Other Mom, I only sew for myself and my family. I cannot and will not make the costume for your daughter."

And "I'm afraid that won't be possible," is a nice tag-line to keep repeating.

that_one_girl:
If the costume she wants costs $300 ready-to-wear, then tell her that a custom-tailored costume will cost $800.   If she can't afford the ready-to-wear, then she won't agree to pay you more for a custom job.  After all, most of what goes in to the cost for a custom-made job is not the materials themselves (which cost an artisan more than they cost the company that makes the ready-to-wear stuff since they buy in bulk) but the artisan's blood, sweat, and tears.

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