Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Give Me My Money

Situations that wouldn’t fly:

I ate this pineapple. I walk to the checkout line at the grocery store. “Yeah, hi. I ate this pineapple. Oh, I’m not going to pay for it now though. I only take money out of my wallet on certain days, and you have to submit a request for it before I can even consider it. I’ll pay you for the pineapple next month.”

At the gas station. Fill the tank and pull away. Gas station attendants calmly send you an email a couple of weeks later. Miss, you didn’t pay us for the 15 gallons of gas you bought in April. “Oh I’m SO SORRY! I was just SO busy, I completely forgot to put my credit card in the slot at the pump! I didn’t even notice the police cars chasing me.”

Phone company….”Hi, AT&T, yes… I’m sorry to report that all of the people I have done work for have been too busy to pay me this spring. One of them even said as soon as he had a check he would walk the 1.5 miles to personally place it in the outgoing mail slut. (TRUE STORY) Yes, that’s right, I don’t have any money. I might someday though – hopefully free of venereal disease. Do you think you could just take my name off the bills and instead send them to the people who owe me money, taking me out of the equation? It would be so helpful….”

            I’m pretty sure most situations where you tried to take a product without paying for it would end up the same – you get arrested. So, does someone want to explain to me why people seem to think it is okay to hire musicians and other artists and not pay them in a timely manner? Sometimes for months (Universities are SO good at this)? Last time I checked I didn’t know anyone who offered “performance services on loan.” This would not fly in corporate America. It does not fly with me either.
            If I pay my phone bill late, I have to pay a late fee. When I get paid late for a job I play, should I not also get a late fee? Interest for the money you have withheld for my services? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bill that offered more than 30 days in which to remit payment. And even when 30 days is offered, that is usually considered “credit.” And that must be earned.
            So, what is the solution for these non-payers? I have a funny feeling that having a rational conversation about the inappropriateness of the behavior would be wasted breath. We need to move straight to silently gaining some satisfaction out of these total crap situations. The Musicians’ Union’s “International Unfair List” just doesn’t cut it – does anyone else find this to be something that feels not much more effective than a 8-year old’s playground declaration? Perhaps the said defaulter on the performance loan could have their picture posted in local grocery stores with the caption “This person DOES NOT PAY for pineapple.”   

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