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Fighting Words Ain’t Free

As soon as I heard the tobacco-hoarse, world-weary voice on the other end of the phone, I knew my day was heading south faster than an express elevator to the basement.

“Yeah, how ya been?” he asked. “Got some time for me?”

I tried to cut him off at the pass, but he wasn’t listening.

“Yeah, that’s good. I got three people in the neighborhood that I want you to send ‘cease and desist’ letters to — they are new and I see that they aren’t keeping up the standards of our condo.”

I took a different tack, advising him that such letters come from the board or the manager and not from individual homeowners.

“Reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllly?” he says in an incredulous voice. “I can’t pay you to put all these people in their places before things get outta hand? I could drop off a check for 75, a hundred dollars and get the letters from you to hand-deliver myself.”

I could have told him that if he was intending to drop off the letters, he could instead just talk to the people. I could have told him to attend the next board meeting and bring it up then. But I didn’t, because I know this client is always itching for a fight.   So I said, “Sure, I’ll send the letters, but the fee will be $350 per letter, just to compensate for the blowback I’m going to get for sending out letters that are baseless and pointless. Will you be able to drop off a check for $1,050 this afternoon?”

“Sheesh! No way,” he explodes. “Someone else will let me have my say for a lot less than that.”

Elevator up!

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