Friday, 20 February, 2009

Why is it unfair to ask for a sample with a bill

Some clients ask you to attach a sample with the bill. I believe this is completely unnecessary, and therefore unfair. By boss may be a little of the former, but is definitely not the latter. And those who think it is, should look elsewhere.

Well, I don't see why discontent should necessarily lead to a parting of ways. If the employer, client, or anyone for that matter, takes a 'like it all or leave it all' stand, it means he's lost all sense of proportion and closed all doors to self-improvement. Similarly, if he believes that 'if they don't leave me they must love me', he's fooling himself. 

Anyway, let's re-look at the sample bit. Let's say I sell you a supercomputer. Surely, you aren't going to ask me for a sample. Instead the payments will be dependent on certificates of delivery, installation, implementation, training, etc.

What if I were selling pins? You may ask me for a sample, but it'd serve no purpose. Because attaching one pin to a bill cannot prove that I sent 10,000 to your store. Again, you need to verify internally

What if I sold you, say, a design for your new office? You'd probably ask for a set of blueprints. But by themselves they won't prove I did any designing. I can be a fraud who drew a plan based on your existent office (designed by someone else). In other words, the existence of a plan doesn't settle its authorship. So here too you will need other proofs: documents showing I was contracted and that I have delivered.

In no case does the sample seem to verify.  

Well, perhap it describes. Instead of describing the work I have done in words, I supply a copy, i.e., a life-size model.

Humm, and why may you need a description, and such an exact one as that, at such a late stage, where the goods have been delivered, presumably accepted, and now only the payment remains to be done? If you haven't bothered to create a easily traceable document trail till now, which contains the description at a fairly early stage, my sending samples with the bill won't get you out of the chaos that you must have gotten yourself into at you end?

The sample, I am forced to conclude, can only have symbolic significance: When your auditor asks you about my bill, you will hold up the sample (provided you can find it then) like an exhibit in a court, and all will be well.  

I'm afraid I can't see how the sample does you any real good. (It does me a good of course, because it fetches my money.) But you insist on it. 

Yet, does it's redundancy (for you) make it unfair?

That's bit tricky, though not from my point of view, which maintains that any rule that doesn't stand up to reason is actually a signal of power. "Stand up when I talk to you, not because it does either of us any real good, but it does put you in your place, doesn't it?" 

Does a signal for power, more so an inadvertent one, constitute unfairness? Well, much is wrong with this world... yada yada yada... but that doesn't mean that minor wrongs can be passed off as rights.  

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