The Carrot Dangler


Known for her impeccable taste and style, Maggie, a budding interior decorator approached her ‘mommy friend’ Teresa about helping her decorate her newly renovated – and stunning – Brooklyn penthouse.  Maggie offered her services for free knowing that if she could just showcase one gorgeous apartment, other clients would come flocking.  And having loved every inch of Maggie’s own home, it was a no brainer for Teresa to jump at the chance to take Maggie’s generous offer.

In exchange for Maggie lending her services, Teresa offered to introduce her to her contractor (who would be an excellent collaborator and referral source) as well as close friends of she and her husband who were looking to hire a decorator to help revamp their brownstone. She said she’d set up the meetings right away.

However, a week later, when Maggie and Teresa met for the first time to discuss Teresa’s vision for her space, Maggie asked if she should call Teresa’s referrals directly to set up a time to meet.  At that point, Teresa did an about face and told Maggie that she’d rather wait to see how things go with her job before officially making any introductions.  Maggie was shocked and of course disappointed.

If Teresa had set those expectations from the beginning, Maggie would have totally understood. But why the sudden the change of heart? Maggie can’t help but feel a little used. Had Teresa just dangled the carrot of referrals to ensure that she would work for free?  Should Maggie say something or just focus on her goal of doing an amazing job?

What would you do? Tell us what you think!





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2 Responses to “The Carrot Dangler”

  1. Sue says:

    I do think that a very pretty carrot was dangled in front of her and that Theresa had an ulterior motive. Because she wants to have a showcase to present for future business, I think she should just focus on doing an amazing job. I would make sure that I document all the before and afters as well so that after the job is done, Maggie can blow her own horn with local contractors and potential clients as well. Theresa may have found out that her referral has already decided on who would be doing the work but if she did, she should have been upfront about it.

  2. Alice says:

    Teresa may have offered the referral concept before thinking it through . After all, how can she promis to refer Maggie to her friends before she has seen the work Maggie is capable of doing? I thinking Teresa is guilty of jumping the gun, not dangling the carrot.

Any Thoughts?