A couple of weeks ago on this blog, I detailed how an egomaniac ad agency owner committed the ultimate act of cowardice against a client, who happened to be my wife. After nearly a year of broken promises, long lulls in communication and growing frustration, she told him she was no longer interested in his company’s completion of a new website for her online business, promised due seven months earlier. So, he sued her for breach of contract. It’s all detailed here.
A reasonable businessperson would think that my business relationship with this guy would be history after he dropped multiple nuclear bombs – 1) taking on a project his firm either didn’t have the capabilities to commit or considered “small potatoes” 2) treating a customer (with whom I live) poorly, stringing her along for a year and 3) filing the lawsuit. Now that the case has been settled in binding mediation, a reasonable person would expect that I would be done with him. Instead, last week, I received this email:
“Hi Matt, sorry things didn’t work out the way your wife wanted. We really tried to make her happy. I am sure this entire thing put you in a very odd place. Please understand that I am not angry or think that this was your fault. I recently recommended you for another assignment will continue to do so. Hope to catch up with you soon.”
Really? Really? Yes.
Emotional thoughts raced through my mind. This is crazy. Completely nuts. “Didn’t work out the way your wife wanted.” That’s the understatement of the year. “Tried to make her happy.” Bull****. This could have been my fault? My fault? “Hope to catch up with you soon.” Ya, how about half past never? There’s only one word to describe it and it’s a Yiddish one. This is chutzpah.
Didn’t this guy understand the money he cost my household in legal fees and for an expensive website that was never built? Didn’t he understand the pain he caused by forcing us to talk about this situation every night for a year instead of other more pleasant things? Didn’t he understand how he took time away from my clients to deal with this?
After fuming for a while, I decided to take a deep breath and take the advice I would give a client. Put it aside. Calm down. Detach. Give it a couple of days.
A few days later, I was ready to respond. I realized, in his world, suing people and pocketing cash is just part of the “game” of business. The way he sees it, it seems, he won this round but wants to play some more. But, just like I can’t relate to his world, he probably can’t relate to mine. So, taking the advice I would give a client in this situation, here’s how I responded:
“It is apparent that you are oblivious to my perspective on what happened, so I will keep this simple.
Please do not contact me again.
So far, so good.