MB's Tacky Sister Takes Advantage

I work as a part time nanny and take a lot of occasional babysitting jobs. I used to work for a wonderful family, and I still work for them on occasion. The mom asked me if I could give my number to her sister, in case her sister needed a babysitter. I agreed, I had met her sister a few times, but didn't really know her.

We spoke on the phone about a month ago about a weekend she was going out of town. She has a 6 year old daughter, I was going to stay with her from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning. We exchanged a few emails and worked out the details. She mentioned that she didn't have much money (SO tacky when they do that!!), but she offered me $12 an hour while the child was awake and $30 for the overnights. I agreed to that, and she also said there would be times when her daughter would be at her grandma's so she wasn't sure the exact times. I asked her to email me when she knew the times and days she would need me.

I didn't hear back from her. I turned down other jobs for that weekend in order to save it for her. A week passed with no email, so I sent her an email and left a voicemail asking her again to pin down the times. Another week passed with no response. When I finally got a response, it was a voicemail and she said, "oh, sorry, I meant to call you, I am canceling my trip so I won't need you after all." I was very annoyed that I had turned down those other jobs, probably losing out on $100-$150. Then she called and left another message saying she might need a babysitter for sunday. I said I would do that, and asked her to let me know the starting and ending time. A few days later she called back, said she wanted me to come early Sunday morning and stay all day, overnight, and take her daughter to school the next day. Again she whined about not having much money, she asked if I would do the whole day and night for $100.

I feel like this woman is jerking me around and trying to take advantage of me. If this were some random person I was considering working for, I would probably tell her I couldn't do it after all, or tell her that I already lost money because I saved the weekend for her, and I need her to stick to the price she quoted me. But since she is the aunt of one of my favorite kids, and the sister of one of my favorite MBs (not to mention a great reference!) I don't want to do anything that will make me look bad. The family I worked for never ever pulled anything like this, they were fantastic to work for, and never tried to take advantage. I'm not sure if they know that mom's sister is like this, or if they will just think I am being greedy. How should I handle this?

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One Name said...

Just tell her each time she calls that you have something already lined up for that time slot. Even if she calls about a weekend in 2015. She'll get the picture eventually.

Sarah NY said...

Or give her the price you get for the good sister and your favorite charge and let her mull over that. If she can't afford a good babysitter for her darling children than she can always hire and jerk around some highschool girl.

Bethany said...

It's not her fault you didn't take the other jobs she didn't confirm right of or by the time you agreed on you tell her right off that time is no longer available.

As or your rate. I'm you already have a fee. Say x is my overnight fee. That's it. She can take it or leave it.

Phoenix said...

Oh this lady would piss me off. I am sure her sister knows what she is like, she is her sister. I would know if my sister was cheap and flakey. I would just tell her that you are booked and that you will let her know if something opens up in your schedule

Village said...

When she asks, you are already booked. Every. Single. TIme. What a shame. Oh well.

MissMannah said...

Why do you have different rates for different people? If she can't afford you, tough cookie. Tell her your rates and if she complains to your former MB about you, then all MB can say is "Well that's what she charges me." And if she wavers on setting times just tell her you need an answer within 48 hours. If you don't hear back, she loses her time slot. You need to act like a professional and stop worrying what people think about you!

Huh? said...

I didn't see anything about charging different rates for different people. Miss Mannah, where are you getting that? I think OP said that the tacky mom quoted her one price and then tried to change it later. This woman sounds flaky! Also, a professional nanny has to worry about what people think. That's how you build a good list of references!

workingMom said...

She IS jerking you around. As well as trying to take advantage (by negotiating a lower fee - which you should NOT be doing! everybody is the same the same the same!).

I echo what the others have said; next time she calls you are busy for that time slot. And every other time slot. Forever.

She is clearly different from her sister, and you don't "owe" it to the sister to put up with her crap. Two totally different relationships.

Z said...

Huh? I am right there with you. It seems like some people don't bother to actually read the posts. They just skim it and comment. The tacky sis is the one who quoted two different prices.
She should have stuck to the price she offered OP instead of trying to get a discount at the last minute.
And I would never put up with the cancellation, people need to understand that when they cancel, we have lost out on any other job we could have had that night.
It is really hard to work for people who are close friends or family of favorite charges/good references. There is always the chance that if tacky sis gets mad at you, good sis will take her side and you will lose that reference and relationship.
I hope everything works out, and I hope OP will post an update!

mmstfu said...

Also agree with Huh?.

Miss Mannah, shut up. You are so boring.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

Since the topic of a "rate" came up, I am curious. I hope people don't view this as off topic, it really does relate to the OP... Do most nannies have a solid rate that they WILL NOT negotiate on? I have never really heard of this (outside this blog). I mean, if someone asks you to babysit and you say your rate is $15 an hour but then say they can only pay $12, would you really walk away? IDK about you but if I wasn't doing anything else (or didn't have any other potential jobs) I would rather have some money than no money. No? I am just talking about one time jobs here, not a full time gig. Of course if they offered you $5 an hour, that's not worth your time but if it is still reasonable will you take the job?

MissMannah said...

"She mentioned that she didn't have much money (SO tacky when they do that!!), but she offered me $12 an hour while the child was awake and $30 for the overnights."

"Again she whined about not having much money, she asked if I would do the whole day and night for $100."

"I need her to stick to the price she quoted me"

This is clearly the mom setting the rate, not the babysitter. If the OP had gone in the beginning and said "I would love to watch your kids sometime, my rate is $x per hour" then she would have saved herself a lot of headaches. I assumed that is what everyone who babysits for a lot of different families does.

Strawberry, to answer your question, I will usually quote above the rate I expect to get because I know a parent will try to low-ball me. I am willing to come down a couple of dollars for one-off babysitting. For FT nanny jobs, however, I do quote different rates for different families because there are a lot of different factors to take into account, of course.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I charge different rates based on the number of children. With new families I give them my rate, no negotiations. Most of the families I do occasional sitting for are referred by my nanny family, so they are not going to low ball me.
As the going rates go up with inflation over time I will ask a higher rate from new families than I am currently charging long term families, so in that case, I am charging different families different rates.

Too bad, you are so booked up that you will never ever be available to sit for flaky sister!

RBTC said...

i agree that you need to tactfully tell this lady you are already engaged

Phoenix said...

I understood what MissMannah was saying about charging different people different rates. Because that is exactly what this OP did. She didn't charge her usual rate because #1 it is the sister to a wonderful MB #2 the dumb lady said she didn't have that much money so she adjusted her regular fee to accommodate the flake head.

People should really read the OP's entire post. Merely reading isn't reading comprehension. Fidiots

OP said...

OP here,

I'm so glad so many of you recommended that I tell her I am unavailable, which is what I did. I politely told her that I had turned down many jobs to save the weekend for her, so when she canceled I called them all back and got a job for Sunday night.

I don't charge different prices for different people, but since I am no longer the good sis MB's nanny, just an occasional babysitter, we no longer have a formal agreement. When I worked for them as a nanny, I started at $12 an hour, and they soon gave me a raise to $13.50. For my area and the relatively small amount of work I had to do, this was a great wage. When I babysit for them now, they usually pay me between $15-$20an hour cash, just because they want to be nice. I would babysit for free for that kid.

When I talked to the tacky sis, she offered me $12 an hour, which is my standard starting rate for one child. She said she would also pay $30 per night for the 8 hours I would be asleep. I told her that would be fine. I still have the emails we exchanged. She is the one who later wanted me to work a 24 hr shift for $100.

I know some of you don't think I should worry so much about what people will think of me. What you need to understand is that good sis and her family are very important to me. I met them when their son was 2 months old and I was their nanny until DB quit his job right before the baby's 3rd birthday. I consider both MB and DB friends, I love that little boy so much, he is absolutely wonderful. I even fell in love with their dog! They were my "dream family" to work for, and I would never want anything to jeapordize that relationship(not to mention the awesome reference they have given me).

Anyway, thanks again for all the advice!

LS said...

Catering staff charge a cancellation fee on their promised pay if a job they agreed to work gets cancelled with less than 24-48 hours' notice. That way they still get some money even though they can't score another gig on short notice. Not sure how you would go about collecting on this, but it might be worth mentioning when you're considering a job with a known flake.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Good point to the above poster.

If you cancel some Dr. appts without a 24-hr notice, they still charge you since they lose money if you do not show up.

Nannies should do the same.