What is this ‘FREE’ of which you speak?
Working as a freelance writer is great. I get to work with all kinds of interesting (weird?) people, helping them turn their vision into something tangible. Amongst the mundane scribblings I’m asked to do, from time to time emerges something really interesting, fun, exciting, something I can get my teeth into.
But, as with every walk of life, occasionally you come across a first class wanker, who will really try your patience. Such was the case with Yesterday’s Muppet…
Me: Hi, you left a message for me to contact you about some work you would like doing?
Yesterday’s Muppet: Ah, yes, I would like a new advertising copy written for my company [he then proceeds to describe how his business installs ‘state of the art’ guttering systems]. You will, of course, make it sound like we are the only company worth dealing with out there.
Me: Sure, I can do that for you. I’ll need you to provide me with the required word counts, and the expected time frame, so I can provide you with a fair and accurate costing.
YM: Costing? You would want to be paid for doing it?
Me: [silence for a few seconds as I realise my potential client has just morphed into a flaccid prick] Well, umm, actually, yes, yes I would want to be paid for it, that’s how it works.
YM: The way I see it, the fact that you had been afforded the opportunity to work alongside my company will look great on your C.V., enough to impress any future potential clients. Surely that would be compensation enough.
Me: [remembering that June is one of my ‘zero tolerance to bullshit’ months (I have 12 of those every year)] Afforded. The. Opportunity. I see. Well, the way I see it, Mr. ****, working with a video game studio who are due to release one of 2016’s most anticipated games in eight week’s time looks good on my C.V.
Me: Working with an international marine wildlife conservation society who are doing their utmost to make this world a better place, despite the best efforts of global corporations and corrupt governments to thwart them, looks good on my C.V.
[Another deep breath]
Me: And working with… you know what, Mr. ****? Long answer cut short – I will not do it for free. Extolling the virtues of your ‘patented’ guttering system, so you can print it on flyers to hand out at a trade show, is something I’m sure my C.V. will survive without. Unless, of course, you’re willing to trade? I’ll write your advertising copy for free, if you install a guttering system for me, free of charge.
YM: [spluttering] Free of charge? We couldn’t possibly install for nothing! What about overheads? Wages?
Me: My point exactly. Good day, sir.
Calls like that make me wish I still had an old fashioned telephone. Pressing the ‘end call’ button simply cannot compete with the satisfaction of slamming the receiver back down into its cradle.
Still, onwards and upwards, Rodders.
As always, that shallot.