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Gimme my money!


I disclaim by saying that the client I’m referencing in this post seems like a pretty nice guy. He makes eye-contact, speaks slowly, and up until I turned in the final work he was pretty attentive when it came to being in touch. I don’t know if he’s ever worked as a freelance writer in a new town with an unidentifiable fishnet stocking fetishist ejaculating into his clothes. I’m not foolish enough to assume that he’s never worked under pressure, or that I don’t sympathize with him on some level, but the following exerpt from my morning will hopefully illustrate why I’m becoming less convinced that humanity wasn’t just something that was used as a mood enhancer back when brontosauruses were still fucking.

Sample dialog from today when I met with him in order to receive payment —

Client: I know we said two hundred dollars. But how about I just pay you one hundred and fifty dollars cash, right now?

Me: Um. But you quoted two hundred dollars.

Client: See…yeah, money’s real tight for me right now. I’ve got this new business, and my wife is on my back…

This was the moment where I remembered sitting on the floor of my tiny room, next to my even tinier semen soaked closet, nary two weeks ago. I was splitting flour tortillas ($1.37 for 50!) and refried beans ($0.67 per can) with my boyfriend. The silence that fills a room when two people who love each other are starving is like no other silence. It’s why the tale of Juliet and her Romeo exists. If those kids didn’t die there would be no story. Hunger is our Montague clan. Our clients are the Capulets.

Me: You quoted two hundred dollars. I’m sorry. I did the work. Next time try to quote me lower.

And at that point two Grants and a Benji were literally thrown in front of me.

No harm, no foul, full pocket. I might have severed a possible ongoing business relationship with my inability to fold under pressure, but at least I got paid for the work I did.

And this is why I am learning that the ability to bust balls is perhaps not the greatest trait for a lady to have, but it does make for better business. Next time I’m demanding 50% up-front, 30% if it’s my dream job (read: any writing for or with Henry Rollins or Kim Addonizio.) Anyway, I don’t look very good in a skirt and I suck at cooking.

I know it’s against my usual policy of railing against white girls who are plagued with issues of entitlement, but I have to wonder if this guy would have tried the same bullshit with, oh, I don’t know…Glenn Danzig or Roger Bonair-Agard. I doubt it.

I also learned a strange lesson from all of this, other than the fact that I should start pumping iron and injecting anabolic steroids. It’s much, much easier to demand things when someone you love is involved. I know that if someone mugged me I’d hand over my wallet, but if someone tried to mug my dad in front of me I’d pull out my K.I.S.S. and become a human ribbon making factory. My boy and I, we are a team in this writing game. If I crack under pressure his side of the glass still leaks. We are not going to be scared any more if I can help it.

I don’t understand if I’m just ignorant to the way the world truly works. Perhaps I’m the one who is a hardass, demanding way too much, usually in the way of, you know, money. Maybe tomorrow I should just walk into Fred Meyer and stroll up to the clerk with my grocery cart saying

Wait, well, I know it says $4.49 for a box Corn Flakes but, see, how ‘bout I just give you three dollars after you let me take it home and eat some of it? Money’s tight, I’ve got a bike I need to get painted, and my boyfriend likes sweat socks, the fancy kind…


One Comment

  1. Awhile ago, a friend of mine wrote some software for a company under contract for royalties. Three years after delivery, the sales started to pick up, and the company decided to stop paying. He argued with them for a bit, then took them to court.

    Even without a lawyer, a contract is a contract. In year four, he was pulling in a quarter of a million bucks in royalties.

    I really doubt you lost a long term customer. Clearly, he was prepared to pay you. But, the saying is that you can’t get anything if you don’t ask. So he asked. If you never see him again as a customer, consider that you might not have anyway. $200 sounds cheap to me, and it’s likely if he needs your services again, he’ll know how to contact you.

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