Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Business Burdened With Poor Behavior

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a party planner in Manhattan, New York, and I have just encountered one of my worst clients ever. This particular client came to my office to discuss her arrangements, but she got nasty with me and started an argument because she was upset that the red napkins she wanted are out of out of stock and won't be available in time for her event. I yelled back and kicked her out of the office -- respectfully. My assistant came up to me the other day to tell me that she doesn't like how I treated my client. I told her to mind her business and get back to work. I don't tolerate disrespect, and I don't want to make this situation any bigger than it already is. What should I do? -- Office out of Control, Manhattan, New York

DEAR OFFICE OUT OF CONTROL: Start with yourself. You work in a volatile industry where tempers often run high, yet as the party planner, you are required to keep a cool head. The notion of the customer always being right is alive and well. And you need to adhere to it. Rather than flying off the handle and yelling back at your customer, you should have gotten creative and figured out a viable solution that would please her. Yelling at her and later at your employee reflects poorly on you. Honestly, it also presents you as the one being disrespectful.

In the future, you need to stay calm and become a master problem solver. Your work requires you to handle endless challenges. In order to be successful, you must figure out how to stay positive throughout everything. Your job now is to repair the relationships at work and to build a positive reputation in the marketplace.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a New Yorker who has been taking the train for my entire life. Day after day, I have dealt with delays and crowded trains. Enough is enough! I feel like I deserve some peace of mind, so I have decided that it is time for me to get a car. The problem is that I don’t have any money.

I’ve been trying to save up the money for a car, but it’s hard. I’m lacking motivation. I need help trying to pull though and save up for a car. Do you have tips for reaching my goal? -- Tired of the Subway, Queens, New York

DEAR TIRED OF THE SUBWAY: As a longtime New York City resident, I understand your frustration with the subway system; however, I will point out to you that it is the most efficient and affordable way to get around the city. Because I drive, I can tell you that if you intend to drive during the workday, you will essentially be trading crowds underground with crowds aboveground.

You may want to try using Zipcar for a while to see how well you like driving in the city. That’s an affordable way to figure out how dedicated you are to owning a car in the city.

In terms of saving for a car, commit to putting aside 10 percent of your income before you touch a dollar. If you do that, you will raise the money in no time. Just keep checking in with yourself to determine if buying a car is the best use of that money.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)