Our clients have a knack for answering a direct question with an answer that has nothing to do with the question.
Here is a prime example:
I was given the number of a potential new client with a St. Bernard. I needed to call them to give a quote. Giving quotes over the phone are difficult in the best situations. With a large hairy breed like this one, it's nearly impossible. The range of size, coat type, and of course coat condition can vary. Most of all, owners are either in complete denial about the condition and or size of their dog, or they downright lie to us to get a lower quote. We have to carefully draw out all the information we can before giving them a price range.
I started out with the usual questions. She even knew exactly how much her dog weighed: 165 pounds. She even told me what type of coat he had, somewhere between a smooth coat and a rough coat.. but closer to smooth. Only his tail was a mess, due to the burrs on their property, however he had never been professionally groomed before.
Then I asked the magic question.
Do you brush him?
*silence* I wait.
Well, we live on a farm out in the country.
Uh.. that is not what I asked.. I'm going to take that as a big fat NO. I tried asking a few different ways. Of course what I REALLY wanted to know was if the dog was used to being handled. A farm dog St. Bernard doesn't always do so great with handling, because they just don't have to at home. Many of them have never been on a leash. I charge extra for physical effort.. I could do 3 Shih Tzus and NOT have a back ache afterwards.
I heard all about how the dog "acts just like a puppy" (not what I like in a giant breed) and how he "loves people", and even "he just likes to lay on the couch". The last comment gave me hope that he wouldn't be completely filthy when he came in.
I gave her a quote, warning her that it was just a guess, and that after I saw the dog, I'd give her a more accurate price. For those wondering, it was over $100 at the high end. She gave me no reaction to make me think I had shocked her, but she had to ask her husband, so we will see.