Not Sounding Like I Wanna Byte…

Fabrizio_65 from Pixabay

THEM: “Dammmmmmmmmmmn”

“All you had to do it read nothing fancy at all. 🤦 So I can listen many times and retain the information. 🤦🤦🤦”


Last night I was messaged at nearly midnight with a narration gig request. This was in Pacific time, and the person’s profile said they live in the US.  Since our response time is an important part of the site and I happened to still be up, I responded back. (Mistake #1)

After they submitted the order, they mentioned it might be a little long and that they might tip me if I did a good job. I was already in bed, but I took a quick look and saw that the order was 22 pages long, and my order requirements were 500 words or less for $5, so it was way over.  I had been meaning to set up a tiered gig anyway, so I told them I’d take another look the next day — that I’d been meaning to set up a new gig — and would let them know when the new gig was set up. (Mistake #2)

The next morning I was preoccupied with it through my morning walk and morning tutoring lesson. (Mistake #3) After researching other narrators of different experience and talent, I discovered this person would be paying me just over 1/10th of what lower-end narrators were receiving, and that is IF they actually followed through on tipping me.  I messaged them that I would unfortunately need to decline the order and notified the platform that the order would need to be canceled.  (I then received the above response back, confirming my decision.)

I have never liked to haggle – neither as a buyer nor a seller.  I like to have an idea in advance of what I think the product/service is worth to me and then know what the other person thinks. If they don’t match, it’s usually a no-go for me.  My first car was a Saturn Ion. A big part of the appeal was the no-haggle sale.

In 2002 I studied abroad in Mexico, and a group of us took a trip down to Oaxaca to see the pyramids of Monte Albán. Vendors hovered near the site, and I saw a beautiful silver necklace with blue beads in the middle.  I had been told to haggle, so I haggled the woman down to $8 for the necklace.  But later I asked myself: “Why?” I could have paid more for the necklace, and I’m sure she could have used it. 

As a tutor I’ve had bad experiences with any parents that attempt to haggle with me.  My best tutoring relationships have consistently come from those who have sought me out and accepted my rate. They expect great service, and I always give them my best.

Outside of tutoring I’ve been slower to catch up on this lesson, but I think I’m getting closer.  Last month in Animas, New Mexico I nearly ruined part of our ghost town excursion by messaging back-and-forth with a haggler as I was walking, who wanted me to narrate twice as much for the same rate. I also can continue to improve how I value the work of others.

How many more circumstances like these will it take to learn and be done with this life lesson?  Probably many more — seems to be one of those lifers!  But at least each time I’m learning to take a step back and assess and define my worth. As far as this current situation, I’ve hidden the gig and won’t post the updated one until I’m satisfied I’m offering a service at the right value.

Got any life lessons that keep cycling back for you?  (Would love to hear what you’re working on!)

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