Edwina, a new artist, has recently finished a series of paintings and sculptures. She received a rave review in the regional press and decided to hire a venue to display her artwork. She has invited all local gallery owners and several owners of prestigious London galleries to the event. Everyone in the art community believes that, if the event goes well and the gallery owners agree to display her works, she will be able to give up her job and become a full-time artist.
Edwina contracts Fred to cater the event. Under the contract, Fred is to provide all of the food and drink, as well as seven waiting staff, and Edwina is to pay Fred a £1,000 deposit, with a further £1,000 payable within two working days after the event.
Two days before the event, three of Fred’s staff members fall ill. Fred immediately rings Edwina to inform her of the trouble, but reassures her that he will do everything that he can to ensure that the event runs smoothly, even though he will only be able to provide four waiting staff, rather than the seven required under the contract. Desperate to make a good impression on all of the gallery owners, Edwina suggests that Fred temporarily hires new staff, but Fred states that he cannot afford to do so. He once again reassures Edwina that he will do all he can to make the event a success, stating that he is confident that, even with reduced staff, everyone will be extremely impressed with the catering.
Edwina investigates how much it would cost to hire additional temporary staff. She comes across an agency that offers to provide three people to be waiting staff at the event, for £600. Edwina informs Fred of this, and he states once again that he cannot afford to hire the extra staff. He also states that he knows of an agency through which he could hire the necessary staff for a discounted rate of £500, given his previous dealings with the agency. Edwina offers to pay an extra £500 to Fred if he hires the extra staff. Fred agrees.
The event is a huge success, but Edwina pays only the remaining £1,000 upon which the parties originally agreed. Fred demands payment of the additional £500, but Edwina refuses.
Advise Edwina and Fred.
Would it have made any difference if none of Fred’s staff had fallen ill and he had simply demanded an extra £500 when he read the article praising Edwina’s work and was amazed to find that it was estimated that every single piece would sell for at least £1,000?