Recently I have been faced with an issue that I have struggled with each and every time.
As a stager, I strive to do the very best job for each and every one of my clients. I live in Northern Virginia which is a huge melting pot (as I am sure it is in many areas) of different cultures, religious beliefs and practices. With that said I tell my story.....
I had a Realtor contact me about staging a property. I was a bit taken back by the pungent aroma that hit me as I walked in the home. I figured they must have just finished cooking. I was certainly not prepared for the large silver gated shrine the size of a storage freezer that was placed right smack as you walk into the kitchen.....WOW!
Next to the religious temple on the floor were burning incense on one side and rice in a separate dish on the other and a huge poster like image of a man (I am sure a religious leader of sorts) on top of all this.
I continued on my tour taking notes/ pictures you know the drill. I saw a lot of large religious dancing statues, small shrines set up along with pictures etc.
This strong aroma was evident throughout the entire house. I believe the culprit was curry.
The time of truth arrived.....GENTLY and I mean GENTLY I opened Pandora's box to discuss the possibility of perhaps....um... putting some of these things away or in another room so it is not the FIRST thing you see?
The client was with complete disbelief "this is how I live and if someone has a problem with it they do not need to be buying our house". In the same breath they wanted it sold sooner than later to move into the new home being built. They were not willing to budge on moving ANYTHING or painting anything BUT they wanted me to stage the home???? The pungent aroma was not even worth bringing up. Although when I got home I was quickly reminded of the experience by teenagers asking, "what is that smell" I had forgotten how charming teens can be.
I could not ethically take any money. I thanked them for their time (after all everybody's time is important) It was a tough call but I could not realistically "stage" with my hands tied behind my back and COLLECT money for it. I am not David Copperfield.
This was not the first time nor will it be the last I am sure. Staging can be maddening at times to say the least.
Moral of the story: Sometimes it is ok to walk away......