Few of us really know the work others of us do. That goes for everyone from the farmer to the potato chip maker. Most everyone works pretty hard doing what they do, but few of the rest of us are as willing to pay for their work as we are to charge for ours.
I’m not suggesting that everyone be paid the same, regardless of task. But last week a potential buyer loved and wanted a print I’d created – until she learned the price. Suddenly, there were serious problems with the print, all of which came down to she didn’t want to pay for it.
For a few hours, I was insulted. I called a friend and got it off my chest, which he didn’t deserve – and I certainly didn’t mean to imply I’d been treated any more shabbily than he, a state employee, is regularly treated by us taxpayers. In fact, I found myself inserting phrases that, when I heard me speaking, sounded a lot like the person about whom I was complaining.
When it comes right down to the point, we all get to determine whether what we think we want to buy is worth the price being asked. I’ve known that potential customer many years. I know what she produces, the work that goes into it, and the premium price she demands – and receives – for her work. She deserves every bit of it. I wonder how many of her potential customers, who look at the prices and turn away, have tried their hand at her labors.
This morning, there is news that the Pentagon is thinking of cutting hazardous duty pay from the compensation paid 56,000 of our soldiers and sailors. According to the news item, the rationale isn’t that those 56,000 warriors no longer are serving in hazardous duty, but that the cuts would save $12 million a year.
We call our fallen warriors “Heroes.” Most of them would eschew the title; they are, after all, just doing the job they signed up for. But every year the percentage of our population increases that has never experienced the conditions we assign to our police and military members, and the pace also increases annually at which we complain about their cost.
If we decide to pay for a product, we have made our ruling based on numerous factors, from it will make our life easier to it will make our bodies prettier. Unfortunately, part of the price is based on a factor most of us rarely, if ever, consider: the work that actually went into producing the object or service tugging at our wallet.