Generally speaking I like to work. I do love my job and I'm very lucky in that respect, however, I never lose sight of the fact that without the income that it so handily provides my family with, I wouldn't be able to buy things like loo roll, Foie Gras, and things like bin liners. Yes, most of us work so that we can live - be it spiritually, emotionally and of course financially. The basic premise when it comes to services is that somebody engages me, I provide the service, and they hand over the lolly. However, in recent weeks this very simple and straightforward process has been interrupted by the kind of people who, were they actually fecaes, would probably survive three flushes of the loo.
So how do these three flush floaters go about their business? Well, a lot of my trade is built on trust, and it's a mutual trust that works brilliantly of 99% of my clients. they pay and trust that I will provide a great service. I start writing that speech before the payment is made, safe in the knowledge that they will pay and I'm simply making good use of all the time we have. But every now and again somebody reneges on that deal and I'm left with a speech that I've taken the time and trouble to write, but whose eventual owner has decided they can't afford it.
I do not run a huge business, my time and potential earnings are incredibly important to me, but nothing gets my goat more than working for free...except one thing: people who have changed their mind and decide the most expedient way to let me know is to hide from all forms of communication. If there's one negative thing that the digital era has helped foster, it's the idea that you can switch off from the world by turning off your devices and/or blocking - the people who you're really trying to avoid don't count any more because you can't see, them, hear them, or read their posts or messages.
But turning off your lines of communication is another form of running away and running away never works - not for ten year old kids, and not for young execs who've blown all the loot on the stag and simply can't admit they can't afford it. You can switch off but you can be traced, and all businesses need is a domestic address and £25 and they can issue you with a county court summons.
Not pretty to think about but when your livelihood is being compromised then you need to do all you can to protect it.
Businesses like mine that offer services are left dangerously exposed by payment services such as Paypal, as there is absolutely no protection when you sell as service through them. If there's a physical product then that's a different matter, but all it takes is one belligerent individual to reverse his payment and then you have to work over time to get it back...and that doesn't seem very fair to me. Paypal has always worked extremely hard for me when it comes to spurious disputes. Last year a client who bought my services, several months later pretended to his credit card company that it was a rogue payment, and it was then left up to me and Paypal to fight their accusation, and as the Paypal exec admitted they just don't have the resources. And they didn't. The credit card company took the money, and charged me £14 for the pleasure, and businesses like mine, playing with a straight bat just have to take it on the chin.
It seems to me like there are some real improvements that need to be made to protect the many thousands of us who are selling services and digital products, until that time we'll all just have to grin and bear it. In the meantime just take a deep breath and let it all go over your head...or just print the offending names as part of a cathartic process.
So Mark Bowman, Englishman living in Perth Australia and working for CDI Group, Mark Norris lorry driver from Warblington Hampshire and Dean Honeyman plumber from Portsmouth - you can't have my hate, I love you guys.