Tyre kickers


Some clients like to put their foot in it.


Last month, kind souls referred two new clients to me.

Both needed job application letters.

One was a triumph, the other a disaster.

I think the second client was a tyre kicker.

But I need your view to be sure.

Warning sign

Doing Pam’s1 resume triggered this post.

She was one of those clients who crimps the budget – forcing perfectionist me to finish for free.

I ended up donating two hours of my life, with no thanks.

When she returned for a letter, I should’ve said no.

But I was basking in a fab review from the chap Bambi Gordon had sent me.

So I took the gig.


Letter of complaint

Pam didn’t dig my letter, and wrote:

Sorry, not sure I like this draft……bit to2 sharp ?………

I replied:

No worries, Pam. Although it’s about you, it’s not actually for you. Rather, it’s written for busy, high-level HR types who have dozens of applicants and dearly wish to cut to the chase.

Still, given that it has to come from you, it should probably include some of your words. So feel free to tone it down as you see fit, and I’ll give it the once-over before you send.

When I followed up a week later, she said:

I ended up rewriting it myself and then meet the head of Dirt Cheap Pfoofer Valves3 the next day at a function so we had a chat then and didn’t really need it…

I said:

Good for you, Pam! As with medical professionals, we’re all entitled to a second opinion. In this case, that opinion was yours. Fantastic win with your networking. Let me know how you go. Invoice attached for time spent. With best regards and many thanks for your repeat custom.

She said:

I am not comfortable with the fee that you have charged. I do not believe that the response to the request for a covering letter was adequate and certainly not what I was expecting or felt comfortable using.

I did not use your letter and in this instance I would ask you to waive your fee. I look forward to the next engagement.


Cross fire

I was cross. I certainly wasn’t going to donate more of my life. So I said:

This was your brief: I would like your help in creating an application/cover letter …

You did not articulate any expectations or comfort levels. I delivered to your brief: on time, under budget, to a proven method.

When you weren’t satisfied, I offered to optimise a second draft of the letter. Instead, you did your own thing, then networked with DCPV.

I spent my time, on your affairs, in good faith. The fee is payable.

She said:

I am not sure where you sit on customer service. You provided me with a document I was not happy with and I did not choose to use it and or spend yet more money on second or third version.

I am simply asking that you waive the fee in this instance and I am happy to keep the door open to more custom in the future……

If this $120 is more important that ensure that your customer is happy……that’s a choice that you make….  I have been a consultant in my past and I can assure you that there is a time and a place for everything.

Now I was REALLY cross. Pam was knocking my service AND integrity AND promising future income from a job she didn’t have. So I said:

The fee is $198.

It is payable.

Pam hasn’t responded.


Bad news

I haven’t had a bad debt for years.

Either I just lost all my mojo, or Pam is a tyre kicker.

Who do you think is right?

If I order pizza, then cook spag bog, should the parlour waive its fee in hope of future custom?

Do you get tyre kickers in your business?

If so, how do you handle them?

I’m SO cross, I’m considering a debt collector.

Please reply within 24 hours to avoid further action.



| Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire


1 I’ve changed Pam’s name.

2 But not her typos.

3 Not their real name (or sector).

  • Take heart Paul, I thought this only happened in my business! As I tell our franchisees, for some customers you could move the moon and the stars and they still wouldn’t be happy. I love that they are happy to engage you for your expert opinion, to do something they can’t and then they critique the result.


    • Many thanks for your solidarity, Sonia. One of the great benefits I draw from this blog is the realisation that I’m not alone. I hope our other readers derive similar value. Best regards, P. :)

  • You know, Paul, I cant wait to hear what the masses think of this one…

    It’s a fine line, I agree, but how far do you go for someone that is always squeezing extra time and effort out of you…under the expectation of ‘customer service’? Is a notorious difficult customer worth the effort, or should you cut and run?

    Which reminds me. I bought a loaf of bread a week and a half ago for a dinner we were hosting, but when a friend bought one of those fancy pants continental loaves, our Coles counterpart was promptly discarded. It’s still in the pantry, unfortunately most likely about to grow new things. Should I take it back and demand a refund? Pam seems to think so….

  • Me too, Emma! That ‘customer service’ barb really got my goat. I can’t do many things, but I can bloody-well SERVE!

    Over the years, I’ve learned the (very) hard way that it’s usually better to cut and run. I guess the reason I dug my heels in this time was that I was having a mirror-image experience with my other client.

    I’ve since heard that he’s scored an interview with the letter we wrote. A letter identical in structure and tone to the one Pam was bagging.

    A creative director I know used to say, ‘Don’t buy a dog and then bark yourself’. I think this is very wise.

    Good luck with the bread. If conditions are right, you may end up with penicillin. 😀

    • Also, the phrase ‘Don’t buy a dog’ is also very wise. Interestingly, our lead stomach pooch would probably solve the bread problem, given half a chance. But I fear that’s another topic altogether… :)

      I genuinely believe that there are people out there who just want everything for nothing. Clients who will try and squeeze everything they can possibly get out of you, just to see how far they can push the boundaries. Which is interesting, because I’ve always thought that the easiest way to get ‘above and beyond’ is to establish a great working relationship with a supplier, who will then move heaven and earth to keep you happy….

      • I think you’ve covered everything rather well there, Emma.

        I usually pay my suppliers within seconds of getting their invoices. And they really look after me in return. :)

  • Darren

    Hi Paul, this is an interesting one, quiet an abrupt statement from the client and a typical gimme gimme attitude, however you didn’t mention much on the agreed terms or agreed brief. Did you notify the client of payment terms and conditions as well as both agree to the brief before starting the project?
    I only ask because it sounds like your client wasn’t aware of the terms and conditions or chose to ignore them by stating
    “I am not comfortable with the fee that you have charged. I do not believe that the response to the request for a covering letter was adequate and certainly not what I was expecting or felt comfortable using”

    • Great points, Darren; thank you!

      My terms and conditions were on the invoice I sent Pam when I did her resume some time ago. Apart from my donation to her holiday fund, she coughed up no worries.

      I did quote her ahead of time and outlined my approach before starting thus:

      ‘Dear Pam,
      They sure know how to spin out a JD, don’t they?!
      Do you also have the ad for this job?
      Some ads demand that you address every point in the JD in your cover letter.
      This is a real drag, and it could take several hours.
      What I’m hoping is that they haven’t dictated how you are to respond.
      If so, I’d recommend a nice, clean, half-page cover letter that doesn’t try to restate your entire resume and how it relates to the job.
      In my experience, less is more.
      The sole purpose of the letter is to get them to read your resume.
      Once they do that, you’ll be home and hosed.
      If you try too hard in the letter, you could do yourself a disservice.
      Your ability to touch on a few salient points without going overboard could really cut some ice.
      Especially in a land of nine-page JDs!
      If you’re comfortable with this approach, we should be able to knock out a letter in 1-2 hours, depending on the amount of toing and froing.
      I would be able to hit this on Tuesday.’

      Pam replied:

      ‘Please proceed’.

      When I sent her the draft, I included this rationale:

      ‘Dear Pam,
      Attached is how I’d write it.
      • Interesting, but not encyclopaedic.
      • Confident, but not aggressive.
      • Keen, but not sycophantic.
      • Friendly, but not familiar.
      • Professional, but not stilted.
      I look forward to hearing what you think.’

  • Tyre Kicker. A mean spirited tyre kicker. Put her on your black list – no work to EVER be done for her again no matter what.
    I understand the jibe at your customer service nerve Paul. I had a similar situation 2 weeks ago where a client bought one of my policies & procedures and then sent me a stinking email about how he’d bought exactly the same p&p from someone else and I should be ashamed of myself given what I espouse on my website etc.
    I ref

    • (Too fast for my own good.) I refunded his money, and asked that he let me know where he had previously bought the P+P as it was mine – layout, font, word for word. Someone, somewhere has taken my work and is passing it off as their own. And I refuted his slur on my integrity etc etc. Has he replied? Not so much as a peep. Still makes my blood BOIL!

      • Oh wow, Debra; that is a shocker! Content scrapers should be hung, drawn and scraped. No wonder I’m too chicken to write a proper ebook! Thank you for sharing your shattering story. 😐

      • Wowza – that opens up a whole new chain – content scrapers??! There’s nothing worse that someone else getting the cudos for your hard work. I’m immediately implementing a ‘Name and Shame’ policy here at ThePulse. If you see Paul’s musings (or the work of any of our fabulous authors) somewhere else, feel free to dob them in!

        Debra – that’s terrible that you haven’t so much as even had a reply. May the karma that pops back around to him be swift and sharp :)

  • There are those folk who seem to think that creativity, experience, expertise are a commodity that can be returned or exchanged…Pam seems to be one of them.

    To her your skill is on a par with the new slip covers she bought for her couch but didn’t look right with the curtains – so back they go. She doesn’t recognise that when she returns the slip covers they can be sold to someone else. Perhaps she expects you to take the customised, personalised, specific text that you created for her unique circumstances, swap a few words and use it for another client?

    This is like the people who want to fence provision of creativity into hours….How do you set the clock ticking on the pondering, research, 3am light bulb moments, doing the housework while writing great lines of copy in your head or coming up with very cool marketing idea (usually whilst stuck in traffic)? Graphic designers face this all the time….Can you guarantee to come up with THE fantastic logo in the 2 hours committed and being paid for?

    And don’t get me started on a Brief like the one Pam provided. It sounds like she had some fairly specific ideas of what she expected….She should have given them to you up front. Though – perhaps with such a brief brief it would have been worth you digging to try and get more information….so that expectations are met on both sides.

    I don’t think she was tyre-kicking. I think she genuinely wanted a cover letter because as Sonia alluded she recognised that she didn’t have the skills to write one herself. And then despite having hired an expert decided that she was skilled enough to critique the work – and as it didn’t appeal to her (Who…as you said Paul was NOT the target market) – as she didn’t ‘like’ it – it was therefore not good enough.

    A more honest approach would be: Paul – I asked you to do a job that I didn’t feel skilled to do. I appreciate that what you have provided is probably the right way to go. But I am just not comfortable using it. Can we come to an arrangement?

    I also face this in my marketing role. Folk ask you to be the expert, to provide advice, and then tell you it is wrong. I even had one client last year who would battle me on each point….”Prove to me you are right….”. When I told her I didn’t want to work with her any more because I had to argue every point she said that was her way of being absolutely sure that I knew what I was talking about….Phew – why hire me in the first place? It was exhausting having to plead and explain and slap and beg and canjole and battle….all to benefit HER business.

    Paul – as Emma said – there are those who you will NEVER please, and never see eye to eye with. But there are also those who need to learn that if they ask you to fulfil a brief and you do so that even if they don’t personally like it – they are liable for payment.

    Go for it (but only to the extent that getting her to pay will be ample recompense for the time (worry and stress) that it will cost to continue to have anything to do with her.

    • Wow – should I be expecting an invoice in my inbox for this brilliant comment?! :)

      Bambi – I absolutely agree with you on the graphic designer part! Design is so subjective. As is the written word (for example, I know Eat Pray Love is a worldwide smash hit – but I couldn’t get past Italy, it bored me to tears. I tried four times!) Having spent a GREAT deal of time working with designers, I can tell you that it can be next to impossible to get some clients on board. They just don’t like what you’re pumping out. And the only right or wrong in design is the client’s buy in or objections.

      I find the worst are those that consider themselves a bit of an ‘expert’ in the field of your services. For example, the worst design clients were the ones that ‘mocked up’ their brief in Photoshop, to demonstrate their ‘skill’. Does Pam perhaps consider herself a bit of a wordsmith, P??

      • Oh boy, Emma. You may just have triggered an avalanche of comments re clients who do their own logos.

        I’m much swayed by Bambi’s analysis of Pam. It’s more measured and layered than my black/white approach.

        That’s another thing I love about this forum: each week I become a better person by hearing what everyone else thinks. :)

    • By gum, Bambi; you’re a generous soul! Not only did you send me a golden referral and give me a blog topic, you’ve weighed in with your own wonderful words.

      You’re right. I should have clarified the brief. But as I was supremely confident in my expertise, and because we’d nailed the resume (albeit after some struggle) I didn’t.

      My second (possibly bigger) mistake was to ignore my gut feeling that this job might end in tears.

      Thank you very much for adding your facets to our debate. It’s developing quite a sparkle! 😛

    • Meh. How timely is this post?

      I had a client like that recently. They wanted revision after revision and generally tried to bully me into performing many times the quoted time frame.
      People like that will steal from anyone they can. These people aren’t tyre kickers. They’re con-artists at best, and it’s white collar crime at worst.

      As a result of that client I have added a few lines to my terms and conditions.

      “ Our service is like any other software, once opened it cannot be returned.

      Many of NBIT services are supplied to The Client through the use of time. Since time is our biggest commodity all of our services naturally arrives to The Client already opened.

      Unless The Client can refund back the time spent on your project(s) no refunds will be given. Thus once NBIT perform and complete services for The Client, by The Client’s request, all invoices are due by the date listed. “

      Feel free to use the above as you please.

      • Ace to see you again, Zoe; I like your lines a LOT! Thank you very much! 😛

      • I love those lines Zoe :)

  • Oh boy. This sits too close for my comfort.

    I am not sure if this is a true “tyre-kicker” story, but I can relate to the basic idea of essentially being used and abused by clients who see your exceptional service as worthless. Our story goes thus:

    Last year, our video production business secured a large, multi-national company. We were chuffed. They wanted us to produce a web video for them. The budget wasn’t huge, but it was a good get. At that stage.

    The brief took 18 months to prepare. I should have known then.

    We produced the video successfully, made more than enough changes “in good faith” without extra charge – even though the errors were their doing. We were attempting to display “exceptional customer service” to this new, successful company. Finally, some two years after initial contact, the video was finished and signed off on.

    A month later, they informed us one of the graphics (that were supplied by them) in the video was wrong. We changed it and sent a bill for the day’s work it took to complete it. Heard nothing.

    Another month later we were contacted by same company, they wanted their clip converted to an avi video file for playing on their in-office TV from a thumb-drive. No specs, they just needed “an avi” file. We produced one. A commonly-played version that worked in every computer and player that we had. Of course, they couldn’t get it to work. We requested the player’s specs, two weeks later we got them, then we made change after change in an attempt to get the avi file “playable” on their equipment – each time making sure the clip fitted the required specs…

    A month later, I contacted them to see if the file was at last successful as I hadn’t heard from them. They told me the whole process was taking too long and so they decided to go and buy a new DVD player so they could play the original DVD in their office instead.

    Seeing as I had heard nothing from them re the first bill, I added this new work to a reminder for the first.

    Their email in response went something like this:

    “We have received your invoice. In response to the changes to the first video, we were not aware we would be charged for the work so we aren’t going to pay for it. In regards to the fee for the avi conversion, your files didn’t work, so we are not paying you.”

    Let me say that next time, everything will be in writing, agreed upon and signed for before commencement of work…even for the smallest of changes. But I doubt we will be dealing with this client again because, Paul, this “Tyre Kickers” yarn has given me the courage to finally respond to their email, displaying my utter dismay at their attitude.

    • What an terrible-yet-incredible share, David. You can’t half tell a story! And this one had me wincing with remembered pain of kindred scars past. :(

      It’s SO sad when bright young things try hearts and guts out, only to get mashed through the business wringer.

      I’m honoured that our discussion has impelled you to action. I’d LOVE to hear how you get on. Perhaps you’ll even favour us with a guest post on your dark venture …

      Thank you SO much for your heartfelt contribution. :)

  • In news recently to hand, I’ve heard from Pam!

    In response to my follow-up email, she has promised to pay my invoice in nine days.

    I don’t know what caused her change of heart, but I’ll take the win. :)

    • And Paul for the win!

      Perhaps she’s a closet The Pulse subscriber, keen to avoid the brunt of our outrage? Or perhaps common decency won out. Let’s hope it’s option B. :)

  • Yay! :)

    Who knows? Actually, I hope Pam never sees this post. Though it’s anonymous, I still feel a sense of failure. Perhaps a phone call might have saved the day. Then again, I’m even worse on the phone. 😐

    • My instinct to tell you it was never your failure, Paul – Pam took your time and should pay for it. But I understand exactly what you mean – I’ve had the same experience where clients decide they don’t like what I’ve written, write their own version and refuse to pay; despite knowing my version suited the purpose, etc, there is still a sense that I “should” have done better somehow. And I’m better in emails, too.

      Maybe the Pams of the world need to read such posts to realise they are acting dishonourably by not paying for the time and skill they requested.

      • You’re very kind, Tash!

        I’m fond of saying, ‘Nothing clarifies a client’s mind (and brief) like your first draft’. So often, clients have no idea what they want until they see what they DON’T want – i.e. the fruit of 3-6 hours of your life. So Phil is right on with his briefing suggestion.

        It’s heartening to know you’ve been in this situation too. Thanks very much for visiting! :)

  • philip owens

    Wow – such a great outpouring of support and ideas – after such an outpouring of anger and dismay!

    My first thought (from a business perspective) has been well covered here: How did your value chain let you down so that this person got so through your process with you being this far apart? If it true that ‘customer service’ is your thing, how did you fail to service this customer? I think some of the comments about the brief, expectations and preframing are really valid. I would look at your process and ask “what did I not do that I could have’ at every step, and see what comes up. Maybe nohing, or maybe a chance to learn something about how to truly serve your customer.

    My second thought is “Why play email ping pong?” This was a case where picking up the telephone may have cut through. Emails are one of the worst media for having these sorts of discussions. If there is a disagreement, ‘man-up’ (or ‘woman up’) and pick up the phone.

    It looks like you got the payment (well done!), but the 2 questions I would ask are:
    a) how did you contribute to the situation; and
    b) if a problem is just a message, what can you create from this to be even better in future?

    • You’re bang-on yet again, Phil!

      The only ‘value chain’ I possess was the one I thought Pam was yanking.

      As I invariably fail in all communication channels except the written word, email is my preferred battleground.

      I take all your points – the most valuable to me being that my client’s ‘failure’ was actually my own.

      That said, I’m buggered if I’m sending her a Christmas card!

      Many thanks for your frank assessment, mate! :)

  • philip owens

    Ol’ Pam wouldn’t be on my christmas card list, either!

  • Email sent…waiting for response. It was to the point, but respectful.

    By the way – I am also hopeless on the phone. I prefer to get my points across clearly and completely without being interrupted, which is what happens when two entities go hammer-and-tongs to get their respective points across. Let’s face it, “the customer is always right”.

    Of course you have to pick and choose when to use the written word, though! Taken out of context, it can and will come back and bite you on the posterior. An angry phone call can be denied, written records, can’t. :)

    I might need to put you on my contacts list, Paul! :)

  • Onya, David! We’re clutching the bedclothes with excitement. Bon chance and all that.

    I’ve been bitten on the bum so many times, I don’t take verbal promises very well any more.

    I used to be OK on the phone once upon a time.

    Until my home renovation broke me: https://www.myob.com/au/blog/defence-in-depth/

    I’d be very happy to be on your list.

    Just put your request in writing. 😉

  • Are you kidding? It was totally worth it to put up with Pam just so you could write the hilarious commentary. I love when you tell her good job with the networking. I laughed out loud.

    Also, I love when you tell her the letter is about her but not for her. That’s the best cover letter advice I’ve ever heard.


    • Thanks heaps, Penelope, for your very encouraging comment! As you operate ‘at the intersection of work and life’, I’m particularly happy to have garnered your view (and made you laugh). :)

  • Malcolm Owens

    Great post and comments as always! The key in business is to add value with everything you do. This works in 99% of cases where it is well received, appreciated and goes a long way to enhancing your reputation.

    Every now and again you will get a client like Pam. You can only feel sorry for this petty soul. I bet this is how she rolls all of the time. Living in a world of negativity, pulling swift ones and seeing what she can get away with. She will see it as a win, ultimately she loses.

    She won’t get the job or if she does it will back fire. In business we have to accept that we can’t always pick our customers. It is unlikely that she will pay, perhaps go back and reduce the price by $50 in the hope of recovering something from the poor experience.

    Of course you should have to do that BUT what is the cost of continuing and chasing her up. You’re better than that (and her) so need to deposit this in the ‘finished for ever’ file, recover what you can, never deal with her again and chalk this one up to experience.

    The true cost to you comes in the form of emotional turmoil so cut the anchor rope and set yourself free.

    • Nice one, Malcolm! That was sure worth the wait. I’m sorry you had so much drama making your way here. It’s great to have you back in our groove again. Best regards, P. :)

  • Nothing from company “A” as yet…I don’t expect a response.

    But here is something new from company “B”:

    Long-established local tourist attraction. Very well covered in the media. Overpriced entry fees. I have dealt with them for many years via my media work for TV and they are notorious for doing nothing for you unless there is something immediately evident in it for them. Won’t return emails, calls, sms’s. In fact it now comes to light that the only time you DO hear from them is when you send an invoice that they don’t like the look of.

    They hire me for half a day to shoot some video for the multi-million dollar project. It was a last-minute shoot to get them out of strife, else they wouldn’t have had these interviews for a commercial deadline. In other words I essentially saved their bacon for a massive and very important fundraising project.

    I do the shoot. Hand over the vision there and then. Send the invoice. Nice, clean, efficient. For them, a massive sigh of relief.

    Two weeks later:

    Email reads:

    “There has obviously been a breakdown in communication. Someone hasn’t told you there was only $500 for the day’s shoot (our day rate is $1000). Seeing as you only worked half a day, they are only willing to pay you $300.” My invoice was $400 – which was a discounted half-day rate from $600.

    So this multi-million dollar company, dealing with enormous projects that tug on the heartstrings (and purse strings) of the masses, is arguing over $100.00. For a job well done.

    Might not be a true tyre-kicker story, but it kind of relates. I think.

    My fault in all this was to not confirm my rate before the shoot. It was rushed, so I didn’t worry about it at that stage. But perhaps that’s how they work. Make it a panic and then argue the price later.

    But the upside is that I was ready for them! Knowing how they worked, I was always willing to do the job for $300 but decided to load it by $100 due to their notoriety. :-) I’m getting for the job what I wanted anyway, but it’s the fact that they (predictably) argued the fee that makes it all so painful. Even more so when I was about to go into talks with them about doing regular Facebook video updates for them for FREE in return for getting our business name plastered all over their (very popular) page.

    I doubt that’s now going to happen. Some people just don’t see the big picture…..

    • Apologies I deleted a section that could have identified the company, but this meant perhaps my “heartstrings” comment didn’t make sense.

      Let’s just say their projects are something most people get moved by and indeed generate a lot of money.

    • You are SO on the wrong side of this blog, David! You’re such a good storyteller, what are you doing in our comments section?

      Thank you for another riveting read. We trust at our peril, it seems. No wonder depression is on the rise …

  • philip owens

    David, Interesting tale. Much to learn from your experiences, so thanks for your honest and sharing.

    Have you thought about suggesting to Company B that you would take the $300.00 only if they would give you the promotion on their website (and not do the free facebook updates?) You get massive exposure, they get to pay $300.00, you are happy with the amount (but not happy with them). It seems like a win-win outcome, but may need a bit of discussion (I know, that damned telephone thingo again!). Just a thought….

    • Good idea, Phil.

      Not sure that they will go for that, though. I mean, there is only $100 in it for them. 😉

  • Jan Minet

    As only Paul and Bambi will know, I’m the chap that got a job interview thanks to Paul’s excellent work on my resume and letter. Just for clarity, i did pay Paul before i got the interview(eventhough the good news came inside the payment terms), i was very pleased with the service and the outcome, I couldn’t have wished for better.

    I assume that if Pam went to Paul it is because just like me she either didn’t feel confident or skilled enough to produce a resume and letter that works, or maybe she tried and failed with her own before. So once she made the decision to get help i don’t understand how she could be so critical to the point of refusing to pay for a professional service without even trying the letter.

    I think that Pam was lucky to meet with the person she was trying to reach and she didn’t need the letter anymore so she tried to save herself a few hundred dollars by saying she didn’t like the letter. For all we know she might have gotten the job and she thinks she won’t need help for the next so many years.

    At the end of the day it is a matter of principle, you genuinely delivered a proven(i can certainly confirm that!) service so you gotta get paid for it! I’m glad Palm finally realised that. Still, i would check my bank account in 7 days if i were you ….

    • You honour me, Jan. I’m so grateful you’ve seen fit to add your pivotal perspective to this discussion.

      It was a pleasure to work with such a high-calibre candidate. And your obvious generosity of spirit today really seals the deal.

      Thank you! 😛

  • Still no loot from Pam. :(

  • Sorry you have not been paid by Pam yet Paul.

    I fear that I am somewhat hijacking this thread of comments because my tale is somewhat off-topic and for that I apologise, but I have to add the latest:

    Company A has responded with an email that goes something like this:

    “David, I fear you don’t understand what our problem is. The invoice is an amount that we feel is unreasonable.”

    Let me just say the invoice they are arguing is for $800 being representative of one-and-a-half day’s editing time for this multi-million dollar, multi-national company. In reality, the invoice should be about double that. Keep in mind the video we produced for them will be seen globally and will assist in this company bringing in millions of dollars.

    So their gripe has gone from “we didn’t authorise the changes to the video that you have charged us for”, to “the invoice represents poor value”.

    You can see why I smell a rat. They can’t even keep their argument consistent – and this is a huge company.

    So, I responded with a “well, if that is the case, what are you willing to pay us for the work carried out?”

    I am waiting for a response. Let’s see what they come up with this time.

    • We LOVE hijacks and off-topics, David. They often turn out to be more interesting than the original post. So please knock yourself out whenever you feel the need.

      Your story is fascinating. What a load of eyewash they’re serving you! I like your riposte and can’t wait for the next instalment. :)

  • Oh and for company B, I have decided leaving messages on their publicly-viewable facebook page in regards to “not being able to contact” their P.R. person might indeed get a response.

    Let’s see.

    • Good for you, David! I’ve had only patchy success with social media ‘shaming’. Then again, I’ve had NO success with traditional channels. You’ve got ‘no'; all you can get is ‘yes’! Please keep us posted! :)

  • Pam has paid! But only $180.
    I’m not sure if she:
    1. Misread my email and invoice.
    2. Is protesting GST.
    3. Is playing silly buggers.
    I’ve asked her to pay the missing $18 of GST, so I can do likewise.
    Watch this space!

  • I just heard from Jan. He didn’t get the job. :( I figured I should report this, in the interest of balance.

    Perhaps, if Jan had paid me hundreds more dollars for interview coaching, he may have succeeded. But I think this is unlikely. Given his high-calibre work experience and phone conversation skills, I saw no reason to ‘upsell’ him on my additional services.

    I think it’s more likely that an even hotter candidate edged him out. This doesn’t mean the end for Jan. When it comes to hiring, first choices can come unstuck (e.g. Miss Universe)!

    That’s why I’ve suggested Jan write his putative employer a polite letter that:

    1. Thanks them for their letter.
    2. Asks for any feedback on how he could improve his interview performance.
    3. Tells them that if their first choice doesn’t work out, he’s still very interested.

    For all we know, Jan was their No. 2 pick. It may only take a small shift of fate to lift his fortunes. And you can rest assured that few (if any) of the other unsuccessful candidates will show this kind of interest and initiative.

    So, I’m very sorry it was a fizzer, Jan. Fingers crossed we win in the rematch! :)

  • Jan can’t be too cross, as he just asked me to tweak his application letter for a new job he’s found.

    You can believe I’m giving it everything I’ve got!

    Jan asked if we should also skew his resume to the new vacancy. I said no, as we made it robust enough to handle a wide range of roles.

    This shows that, when you do a resume properly first time round, the high initial cost amortises with each use. :)

  • More advice for Jan (and, indeed, anyone hunting a dream job):

    In addition to responding to ads, you may like to send a letter and your resume to ‘dream’ companies for whom you’d like to work.

    That’s how my wife got her dream job in fashion.

    She was the ONLY one to have expressed interest in the firm before there was a vacancy.

    When there was a vacancy, they rang HER!

    So, think of the brands you admire most – and blow them away with your talent and initiative!

    As always, please keep me posted.

    Finally, I was wondering if you’d like me to send your resume to one of my recruitment agency clients:


    They may be able to do something for you.

  • My advice to Jan on drafting his letters to ‘dream’ employers:

    ‘The rule is, just write from the heart.
    If you want to be Supply Manager at Nike, tell them.
    If you’d be happy with any mid-level job at Porsche, say so.
    If you’d do ANYTHING to get into CSIRO, tell them.
    Just be clear and frank and simple and I can groom your words before they go out.
    Truth and concision are a powerful combination.
    So trust yourself and have a go!’

  • Another corker from Penelope Trunk:


    Job seekers take note! :)