Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Grievance #458: Unreasonable Client Demands

After the failure of the clients’ attempt to find a replacement mom, working conditions at the house of Bub and Pie have improved. Nevertheless, the employee wishes to renegotiate some aspects of her contract. The employee accepts responsibility for having created unreasonable expectations, but she wishes to establish the following new guidelines, to be adopted upon ratification of the new contract.

Article 1a: Breakfast
Clients are to select a bowl from the variety of options currently available in the cupboard. The bowl is to be used throughout breakfast (no substitutions). The employee understands that children are hungry in the morning and agrees to provide multiple refills. Under no circumstances, however, will the employee hand-wash bowls from the dishwasher, remove Cheerios spoonful by spoonful in order to make way for Special K, or transfer cereal from the Cars bowl to the Dora bowl. As a matter of professional courtesy, clients are asked not to hit one another with their spoons.

Article 1b: Supper
Although there is some precedent for eating Halloween candy as an “appetizer,” clients are to understand that this practice may be discontinued at the employee’s sole discretion.

Article 2: Getting Into the Car
The employee acknowledges that Client #1 (“Bub”) requires help opening the car door in conditions of rain or snow. Further, she recognizes that Client #2 (“Pie”) is not to be assisted in any way, but rather allowed to open the door and climb into the carseat herself. In return, the employee asks that clients move steadily in the direction of the car. Under no circumstances is Client #2 to move past her carseat and hunker down in the centre of the back seat to avoid being buckled in. Violations of this policy will involve forcible buckling up, notwithstanding any resulting tears and lamentations.

Article 3: Verbal Commands
Although the employee will generally obey commands of “Up!” and “Out!” this policy is nullified under the following conditions:

(a) whining
(b) screaming
(c) barking “Right! Now!” after the command

If any of the above conditions are fulfilled, the employee reserves the right to delay compliance until the client has said please.

Article 4: Bedtime Reading
The employee recognizes the clients’ wish for reading material to be provided after lights out. She will endeavour to fulfill all specific requests, but asks that the clients either (a) specify a particular title, (b) provide a description of the desired book, or (c) choose from a selection of available titles. The employee will go downstairs to retrieve up to three additional options; if these are rejected, no further trips will be made.

The employee believes this to be a fair and equitable compromise; she eagerly awaits the her clients’ response.

Update: Two hours into the new regime, the employee has caved to the following demands:

  • Breakfast is to be eaten on the living-room couch.
  • Breakfast is to consist of fruit-filled cereal bars (flavour to be specified by the client).
  • Clients must be permitted to occupy the driver's seat of the car and play with the steering wheel.
  • Before clients will enter their carseats, the employee must agree to any counter-factual statements suggested by the clients: for example, she must be prepared to admit that her jacket is blue (when in fact it is red), and that she does not have a valid driver's license.

There is some reason to be concerned that the employee lacks the guts for a successful negotiation.

45 comments:

Kimberly said...

giggle.

Mouse said...

I think to be official, they also have to be posted in a location accessible to all, along with a copy of the proper grievance procedure.

Jess said...

This is awesome. It's comforting to see that children do that bedtime thing with their parents, too. I always think that the kids I babysit are trying to take advantage of the fact that their parents aren't home when they try to get me to make nine million trips downstairs to fetch one more thing that they simply cannot sleep without.

Mad Hatter said...

Workers of the world unite! I think we need some sort of collective agreement. There is power in a union. Isn't there? Or is management simply too powerful and unyielding?

Lawyer Mama said...

I need to steal this. The last one is a particularly troublesome issue in our house. Heaven forbid we NOT bring the correct books up.

Janet said...

As a matter of professional courtesy, clients are asked not to hit one another with their spoons.

Classic.

Heather said...

I think you missed your true calling. There has to be a business market for these conctracts out there somewhere. I'd hire you.

http://3boysundermyroof.blogspot.com

Loganator's Mom said...

Has Pie been consorting with Loganator?? This sounds way too familiar.

Luisa Perkins said...

Can't get enough of those mandatory counter-factual statements.

Karen said...

My clients have some similar demands, especially as regards fruit filled cereal bars, though in their case they are to be considered as an appropriate substitute for fruits and veg.

Ally said...

This is hilarious. I especially related to the new rules for breakfast. Scooping out cereal, trading bowls mid-way... oh yes, this employee can relate.

Perhaps we should unionize and increase our bargaining power?

slouching mom said...

Ack! The cereal switching! That is all too familiar around these parts. Sigh.

Amy said...

Hee hee!!! This is too good.

Owlhaven said...

All I can say is these kids have one mellow mom!

grin

Mary, mom to many

Chaotic Joy said...

You're so funny.

Jess said...

P.S. I already posted but I wanted to say, you didn't call for votes today! Why not? I almost forgot to go vote. But it looks like you're solidly in third-to-last place now. Woo hoo!

andi said...

Breakfast is also eaten on the couch over here. These small things just make my life easier (even though before kids, I swore I would never do them).

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

"As a matter of professional courtesy, clients are asked not to hit one another with their spoons."

I can't wait to see this in my kitchen!

"for example, she must be prepared to admit that her jacket is blue (when in fact it is red), and that she does not have a valid driver's license."

LMAO.

"There is some reason to be concerned that the employee lacks the guts for a successful negotiation."

No concern necessary, it's just obvious that you're a delightfully wonderful mommy.

Anonymous said...

funniest post ever!!!

kelly bee

Beck said...

Oh, good grief. Your children eat food in the morning? Mine mostly just sit around and complain. I don't think any calories ever pass their whiny little lips.
Because the food here is so gross and all. Just ask them.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Right! Now!

I thought mine were the only kids to have adopted that phrase. Aaack.

NotSoSage said...

Oh, I needed this after the week that we've been having. I hate to be the company that your misery loves, but there is a tiny bit of solace in it.

Christine said...

you know, you always make me smile or think. often both. great post--especially article one which sounds like my freakin' house.

NotSoSage said...

And, OF COURSE, Mad would have us unionize.

KAL said...

LOL!! Especially about the Pie hunkering down in the back of the car in between the seats. Thanks for the laugh :)

Julie Pippert said...

LOL this is classic!

Julie
Using My Words

Patois said...

A delightful follow-up. I was wondering about your replacement. My favorite? Agreeing your clothing is red. I do that, too. (Unless it is red.)

Florinda said...

I've been reading posts elsewhere recently about women's difficulties with negotiating, and this is definitely a different - and much funnier - twist on the issue.

Marian said...

Yeah, the insisting that we agree to counterfactual statements. It's a good issue to just leave alone, but what is up with that whole phenomenon anyway?

Stimey said...

Clearly you should drag your clients into court for breach of contract.

Let me know how it goes. I could use a precedent for my eventual attempt to force my clients to agree to the same rules.

Heather said...

This is sooooo my life right now! Thanks for making me laugh. It doesn't always feel so funny at the time.:)

wordgirl said...

This sounds like what I used to require of a babysitter and...thank goodness...we're past that now.

Cyndi said...

You may be able to settle squables about books, but they are very good negotiators.

Catherine said...

cute, cuter, cutest. And so well written. :)

Denguy said...

Being the at-home person, I stealthily removed ALL gimicky dishes and cutlery. NO MORE! I decreed as I replaced them with plain glass dishes and stainless steal cutlery. No more!

MamaDrama said...

My lawyer couldn't have written a better contract! I especially like the "forcible buckling up" and verbal commands.

And I was surprised - and honored! - to see your comment on my little newbie blog! I had just forwarded your "BEWARE" post to my mom, because it gave me such a great sigh of relief! So thanks - for the much needed ego boost!

I have been an off and on reader of your blog, enjoying both the laughs and worrying along with you about the floating autism diagnosis. Now off to vote!
--rachel

b*babbler said...

This is too funny. I'll definitely be negotiating this into my next contract prior to the employers ability to verbalize.

Thanks for the laugh!

Kyla said...

The clients are ALWAYS unreasonable in this line of work. LOL.

JLow said...

I am sure the clients' feedback have been outstanding!

Let's here it for the employee of the month!

winslow1204 said...

LOL!! This is soo funny:)

cce said...

Very nice, now can you come over and write my employee manual, we've got serious personnel issues in the Madmarriage household.

Ms Picket To You said...

Am utterly and completely jealous that your contract is not available for general use. And also utterly jealous that I did not write this. Frickin' rad.

Anonymous said...

Love this - wwwwaayy too funny!! :) Love the thought the the little one hunkered down in the back seat trying to avoid the buckle. LOL

JCK said...

O.K., this is brilliant. The scenario in the car sounds just oh so familiar... Hope the employee gets a raise. The employee over here is at risk of being fired.

painted maypole said...

ha ha ha ha ha

sounds a lot like the job I have now!