Being Nice Isn't Worth It


It is interesting when being in Europe and listening to how people have this idea of American’s being rude and pushy (Which they often are) but mostly, we are not. I have blogged in the past on this subject, about how when I travel I will put a certain amount of effort into trying to prove that is not true. But, the thing is, sadly that by being rude we achieve things we don’t achieve by being nice. For example, I own a photography studio. When I set my prices, I set them to what is a fair value regarding the quality of service and product I provide compared to my competition. Yet, I will often have clients who pushback saying I am too expensive and they try to negotiate on the price. Sometimes I will negotiate with the idea it creates good karma, and they might refer me to someone or say something nice online etc. usually this doesn’t happen. I give them a discount and never hear from them again. This is all while my small photography studio barely makes any money. I rent the space to photographers occasionally. The renters more of than not, leave messes or stuff behind I have to clean up. I also work with filmmakers who try to get the studio for free, in exchange for my name in the credits, as if that pays my rent. 

don't be nice
Image source pixabay.com

 I have found over the years that whenever I am nice to people; they take advantage of it or don’t show it in return. Yet, when I’m not nice, I get results.  For example, I let a guy rent the space to do interviews for two hours one night. He only needed it for one hour. In my agreement, it states that they have to pay for the full time they rent it. I know how little money Independent filmmakers make and only charged him for an hour instead. He also didn’t have money with him at the time and said he would pay me later. Once again, being nice I said okay.

A few days went past and nothing, so I message him on Facebook, “Hey, Hope all is going well. Just following up on that unpaid invoice for the studio hire. if it is easier to take care of online, here is a link to pay that way

He didn’t respond to my message.

About a week and a half went past, and I bumped into him on the street as he was on his way to a bar with a friend of his. I remind him in a friendly way, that he owed me the money, he acknowledged it and we moved along.

Another week went past so I send this message. “Hi. Are you planning on taking care of the 25 euros you owe? I was being nice and only charging you for an hour even though you reserved it for two. And I know you have money since you can afford the high cost of a pint or two at a Dublin pub.”

This time he responded almost right away, “First off you don’t assume to know what money I have or don’t have. What I have or dont have cash wise is really none of your concern at all. You met me one time going for a quick pint after a screening that’s it. And yes I will pay you the 25 as soon as I have the money. It may surprise you to learn I don’t have tons of cash as you seem to like to assume I have. It’ll be in your account during the week

A few days later I received this message, “Transferred the 25 to ya there now.”

My response, “thanks. It’s sad however that my polite message to you went ignored and it took me being rude to get you to actually pay it.”

His Response. “Yeah cause that’s what it took. Believe what you want. It’s sad that you got the money and can’t just say thanks and leave it at that you still have to whine about it.”

First, why do I need to thank him? He should have paid it in the first place, I had to harass him to get him to pay it, and he feels I should thank him? This is what is wrong with the world. People feel I should reward them for doing what they should do, anyway. Where was my thanks for giving him a deal on the rate and being patient about the payment? What happened to if you say you will do something you do it?

This is just another of many lessons that being nice gets you nothing kids!