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Being the softy I am, I admit I have fallen for these... After verifying them to some extent of course. I'm not a sucker. But I recently get an email from a guy who is on a strict income, disability... and he's been talking about getting one of our products for the whole year. He doesn't even have his own computer, he has to go to the library. So I gave in and threw in some free stuff.
But today I had to ask myself... How soft is too soft? I mean I'm sitting here, way under where we should be at this time of year. Thousands off my goal for the year. I've been working non stop 7 days a week for longer than I can remember... No vacation for years... And I can't even buy a few of the things I wanted to buy for MYSELF this year! I don't really believe in the whole karma thing, so that is pointless to even think about. At some point, I do wonder if I'm being too soft.
There's a difference between charity and work. Don't get them mixed up. If you can't or won't give charity, own up to that. "They don't want to work"? IMO, anyone who WANTS to work is an idiot. That's why they call it "work" instead of say, "vacation" or "hobby."
Yes, we are all so upright and perfect here; not one of us has ever made a mistake. Bah humbug.
What I don't understand is the people who beg for spare change and the ones that beg for discounts. Twice a week I have to lug 2 very heavy, very large bags from my shop to my car, often I have the takings on me, and depending on how the week has been I'm usually feeling pretty generous! I have walked past the same two homeless guys for two years one asks me to buy the Big Issue, and I stop put down my bags and buy one with a generous tip, the other swears at me when I walk past for not giving him a handout. Not once has the idiot ever offered to help carry my bags, if he did I'd easily give him a tenner.
It's the same with customers asking for discounts and freebies, but without offering anything in return (not even repeat custom, and no, not even politeness). It makes me sick. Have you ever asked a customer – one that's asking for a discount face to face – simply "Why?" do it with an annoyed, confused look on your face and dismissive shrug of your shoulder. They stand there and look at you as though you've just slapped them. And it feels good. That may not work for some of you who sell things you might conceivably need, but I don't, nobody needs what we sell it's a pure luxury that you buy with disposable income. I've never been given a good reason, most people can't think quick enough. On the other hand, I have some incredibly loyal customers, some send us cards, some pass our business card onto others and we get lots of extra business, those people I look after very well, I *offer* them discounts. For one customer we have given a permanent 30% discount. You give a little, you get a little – you don't, you won't.
OTOH, once in a while someone will ask for a freebie that points to a possible product. Like someone wanted a free sample of three strongly related widgets I make. I think a sampler of these three items would be a good product and am just trying to figure out the best way to package it.
But for charities, I will offer big discounts if they purchase in bulk OR if they just rquest one...becaues I'm still making money.
But really, a lot of times I just offer the prodcts for free if they are a charity and have a website. It's a "free" link that will stay there pretty much forever. I have gotten a lot of great links (including several big univerity .edu links) using this.
It's funny how the same lessons apply to so many things. In my old job, we use to say that the last thing you want to do is take jobs where they ask you to take a rate cut. It wasn't so bad because you were getting less money... It was bad, because if they were cheap with you, that meant they were cheap with everything. And if they're cheap with everything, that means your job is going to be 10 times harder... So now you're working ten times harder for less money. Kind of the same thing with people like this.
It helps if you're a New Yorker with this technique.