We all know the world isn’t fair. We know some people get special treatment and others get slighted. In most cases, this is just a fact of life and you deal with it and move on.
Yes, you can probably get away with two or three-hour lunches with someone from the office, but doing that often leaves your co-workers in a lurch and when it becomes a regular occurrence people start to get resentful. When it seems like every time one person requests time off and they get it approved, while another rarely asks for time and doesn’t get approved without explanation, it seems disproportionate to outside observers. And if you think your co-workers don’t talk, you are in for a big surprise.
Feeling slighted hurts on a personal level. It kills morale and camaraderie. (Are you noticing a theme?)
On a different non-personnel level, think about how your clients feel if you offer Business X a package of goods and services at one price and Business Y the same package at another price and they find out about it.
I don’t know of a way out of that situation without hurting someone’s feelings, except for the truth. Maybe the person taking extremely long lunches has a sick spouse or is visiting a dying family member in a nearby nursing home. Empathy goes a long way in the work place. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is worth being wrong because more often than not you’re probably right.
Maybe Business X isn’t well established or is just starting out. Maybe they’re a non-profit. You had a reason for charging a different rate and you should explain that.
Do you agree? Is there a better way to handle this?