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What would U do?


LawnSite Senior Member
Not commercial related but my first and ONLY vent that needs an answer.

I cut the owner of the commercial properties that we manage. Directly across the street is an elderly, married alcoholic rich lady. She pays well (very well) but is a PITA. She L O V E S me. Always has the water ready.

Anyway, she absolutely refuses to have any of my workers cut her place alone. She insists that I am there. Problem is..........She talks my freakin ears off. Every visit is something new. Today it was removing 3 big a$$ bushes. I want to drop her. Problem is she really is a sweetheart and I feel as though it will devastate her. Her son passed away 2 years ago and I have to admit I do resemble him (its creepy just how close we look) and when she told me I remind her of him, she broke down, asked if she could hug me (she is 65+ so its not sexual) and just wants to be around me.

It is so hard for me to drop her. If I do, I will be right there each week taking care of the other guy. I am stuck on this one. I always run late when I cut her cuz she just blah blah blah for as much time as she can get with me. .....................................:cry: I dont know what to do.

Oh yeah, she volunteers for her old employer 2 days a week. I switched to the day she wasn't there and told her it was an executive decision and she goes ahead and changes her work schedule..............what is going on?????????


Not the dead guy


LawnSite Fanatic
zone 7 CA
So why do you want to drop her again? Just work while she talks. I don't see a problem here. Good paying clients are hard to find and if all she does is talk your ears off...what the heck huh? Tune her out and nod in the right places, continue working or start working while she is talking. No big deal to me, as long as they are paying me they can talk a blue streak I don't care.


LawnSite Fanatic
Coming from someone who drank daily for 14 years, the instant I realize a customer of mine may have (or has) an alcohol problem, it's time to cut and run... Oh yes, I forgot, it's not that easy... Well, it's time to start thinking about it :laugh:

Alcohol first clouds the judgement, you don't even have to get drunk for this, one 12-oz beer and I'm blind as a bat for a good 24 hours, cigarettes do it, too.

In quantity and over time, alcohol makes you crazy. You just don't think straight (ever), you LOVE company (possibly because nobody wants anything to do with you, but also the alcohol itself, something about it), and you'll make a fool of yourself if that's what it takes. Oddly, alkies love bringing up the past, sadly, they repeat the same stories time and again.

Alcoholics can be credited with one thing, they are highly manipulative, and cunning... Even after 7 years of not drinking at all I could still pull a stunt or two, the mechanism addiction creates is there but it's just when I'm sober there's no incentive to do it. I couldn't tell you why or how the incentive exists under the influence, it's too far back, but the thrill of it is one thing I remember, doing something just for the challenge of things, to relieve the boredom and just to see if one can do it... As should be obvious, with this approach one doesn't win very often. Sadly, the alkie doesn't so much care about the win or the loss beforehand, thou they find the resulting ratio of more losses than wins frustrating. So perhaps a lack of foresight can be accredited to alcoholism, that would be the closest I can get to what a clouded judgement means.

As customers, I've had 3-4 alkies over the years, none of them lasted more than 6 months or so, but yes, most do pay it's just funny, it's always funny (and in a frustrating way). With women, sex can be an issue, be aware that having sex with an inebriated woman can be construed as rape... Thou in a case such as this it likely wouldn't be pursued, everytime I think of it that's about a turn-off in itself.

Alcoholism in itself is a disease, I can honestly say that for the most part of it, the alcoholic him or herself can not control the drinking... Funny enough, the only known cure is complete abstinence, something which each alkie somehow finds sooner or later, thou some through death.

Just cut and run, or wait until the disease runs its course with you, likely it won't take too much longer. :laugh:


LawnSite Fanatic
I suppose in this case love may or may not be an issue, but then love has to be reciprocal for it to work, and that is something an alcoholic fails to comprehend fully. The alkie does understand whether or not you love them, but beyond this they think that so long they continuously love you, that somehow this will infect you, or something to that effect, that eventually you will love them in return.

To the alkie, they want you to love them, of course, but if it fails they figure it's probably the alcohol. While they're not entirely mistaken but it's not the only reason, that part they don't get. Should you somehow, miraculously fall in love with her, that would be the goal of this part of the exercise.

However, before you give love further consideration, this next bit plays a part... Because in all of this, you are her source of entertainment, you relieve her boredom, but don't take it personally... With most people, if this were the case then she would be using you, but with an alkie that is not the mechanism at work here, even if the end result is the same, that is not what or how she is thinking of you. Still, it doesn't make things easier when you are but a lovable toy or pet, so to speak, but it's not for using you.

It is about the thrill of things thou, she simply changed her schedule because:
1) She finds you entertaining, and figures if she loves you long enough that perhaps you will love her in return one day, but she did not change her schedule because of love per se, it is but a manipulation.
2) She wanted to show you it can be done, and that perhaps she's as smart as you are, alcoholics are not beyond seeing the reason behind other people's actions, that is to say she might've figured you out :laugh:
But if she did or not, that doesn't really matter either way.

It is sad, when I think of suffering alcoholics and how they think, somedays it still makes me want to cry, but much beyond that there is not much we can do to help, because only the alkie can help himself here.

It is surreal, and nothing will improve or change until the alcoholic stops drinking, and no, love will not stop an alkie... Do not make the mistake of thinking if you were to love her that maybe she'll stop drinking :laugh:


LawnSite Silver Member
Southern WI
I have a client down the street from me, elderly lady as well, she lives alone, I know her son, I shoot pool a lot with him.

She will sometimes come out to talk, but not all the time. I'd say every 3 or 4 cuts or so.

I simply shut the mower off and talk with her for a few minutes. She never complains, she always pays on time, and is very nice.

I just make sure hers is the LAST cut of the day and I do it on Fridays. Besides she's a half block from my place so it's logical to do it at the end of the day anyhow. This way I really don't have to worry about getting stuck talking.


LawnSite Member
Liquidfast, I can understand the dilemma you're in.
You sound like someone thats flexible to change your routine for a customer, which is great for a customer but can be frustrating at times for you.

This is a hard one to tackle, yes, you would upset her if you were to drop her as a customer and I also get the impression this is not what you really want either.

From your post I gather there are 2 basic problems that need to be worked out:
1-YOU have to be there to do her lawn.
2-She interrupts your work.

As advice, as best as I can offer without knowing you nor her, is to try to explain to her in the softest manner possible that her criteria for you to do her lawn are interferring with your time as a business.
Tell her that you MUST work and cannot spend so much time talking, offer her an alternative, that she lets you do her lawn quickly, in peace and when you're finished that you both have a cup of tea/coffee together for 10mins.

Explain and reassure her that its not because you don't enjoy her company, but that its hard for you to keep your schedule if she delays you 30mins each time. (I'm guessing its 30mins)
This way, you win 20mins and she feels that her 10mins with coffee is quality time.
Thats what I would try to do, although it'll take a little courage on your part to "open" this discussion.


LawnSite Senior Member
I saw you here SHE and was hoping to contradict you but I am speechless. Mind you though I have a few customers that I listened to in the past. It is good to be somewhat involved with your customers. You want to make them feel as you are in it with them than against them. Pay attention to what they are saying it may come beneficial in future meetings.


LawnSite Senior Member
Lincoln, Il
You got to take the good with the bad. And this client is not all bad. You need to find the skills to kindly cut here off and get back to work.


LawnSite Senior Member
SW Ohio
I think this lady really needs to talk to you. She's probably lonely. I am running a business, but I still have a heart. I have a few customers that want to come out just to say hi. I am glad I can give them someone to talk to! Sometimes, I am really booked for the day and I have to cut the conversation short, but I do it politely, " Well, it's been good talking with you, but I have 10 more lawns to cut today, so I gotta get back to work! Bye!" they always understand, even the ones who won't shut up. I know that drunks can be a little difficult to deal with when YOU are sober, hahaha, but really, if you are making a good profit on this account, budget 5 or 10 minutes to talk to this lady, it's only once a week after all. She sounds like a really nice lady, and she pays, right? I would not drop her.


LawnSite Silver Member
Is this the first season you are taking care of her property? I would keep her price the same for this year, but raise it next year to compensate for the added time it takes you each week. You might also get there right @ 8am so that she isn't ready yet & is less likely to come out looking like she just got out of bed. But then again, she might just get up earlier.