Thursday, 2 March 2017

When profit is involved, trust nobody...

A few thoughts worth expressing. Last week while munching biscuits at Tatsfield Village, Andy and I touched upon a subject dear to our hearts, that of people being expected to work for nothing. The big, blatant example, of course, is internships where, basically, you work for nothing in order to gain the experience. This is outrageous and shouldn't be allowed, but working for nothing is not limited to interns.

Last week at Tatsfield Village we discussed the whole notion of how photographers are asked to take on an assignment for no pay but should be grateful for the exposure they'll be getting. This is another commonplace reason given by 'employers' for not paying their workers. "We can't pay you, but it's good exposure," they might say, unwittingly using the word 'exposure' in front of a photographer.

Trendy REVL ad, I wonder if they paid the agency?
So I'm on the way to work yesterday (1st March 2017) and there's an article in Metro, the free newspaper that people pick up at train stations or on buses. Inside, on page 3, I read the headline: Paid to Party! App offers dream blogging job. Well, being a blogger it grabbed my attention, but, as with everything in this world, it's not as good as it's cracked up to be; in fact, in this case it's downright unbelievably bad and yet another example of what I'm discussing here.

A company called REVL is offering 'an all-expenses paid six-month stint as a blogger'. They're looking for a fun and creative person to attend four events, exhibitions, concerts or nights out in London, every week and then they want them to write about their experiences.

Now, I'm a journalist, a writer, whatever you want to call me, and normally the deal is straightforward. Somebody might ask me, say, to cover an exhibition or attend a conference and write something about it, and the idea is that I say 'yes' and they pay me for my time and trouble. Simple. But not REVL. Oh no! Metro continues, "The job is unsalaried but the firm says it will give the successful applicant a chance to be London's 'next big influencer'. Oh, well that makes all the difference! They could be London's next big influencer! No they won't be, this is a nasty, uncalled for ruse to get somebody working for nothing at a time when we all need to earn as much money as we can get.

My view is simple: if the work being carried out by the person who isn't being paid is making money for the company that has decided NOT to pay that person, well, that's bordering on the criminal. If you're making money for a business, you should be paid for your efforts.

And another thing...
I don't know about you, but we all seem to have to pay for so much these days that having a job is absolutely critical. There's simply no time or reason why anybody should have to work for nothing, especially as even healthcare is something that costs an arm and a leg, or, in the case of surgeon Ian Paterson, a breast.
Paterson denies 20 counts of wounding with intent, says Metro
A report on the front page of the same edition of Metro alleges that Mr Paterson, a cancer surgeon no less, has been accused of 'needlessly' removing women's breasts – 'possibly to improve his earnings'. This is what really worries me about anything to do with health. Once a profit motive is introduced there's no telling what's going to happen.

Personally, I'm now wary about having an eye test or going to the dentist because I'm wondering whether what they say I need doing is the truth or a lie. Suddenly going to the dentist or the optician is like taking the car to the garage. The optician or dentist is basically walking around you, metaphorically kicking the tyres and making up reasons to charge you more money. I'm due to go to the dentist and I know that things will need to be done – when have you ever gone anywhere and been told, "no, absolutely fine, see you in six months"? the answer is never, because these people want to earn money from you. Why? Well, there are a host of reasons: a new kitchen extension, an exotic foreign holiday, some much-needed landscaping for the garden, a new car, you name it, they need to earn the money. Inject a profit motive and people aren't so much interested in your welfare but their own.

"First, you'd better make an appointment with the hygienist," the dentist will definitely tell me when I'm sitting in the chair. That's going to cost me around £55. Then there's the job that needed doing when I last went, but held back (and haven't been since because I simply couldn't afford the £250 plus bill I would have been charged). When I do go I'm expecting a bill approaching £500 and the thing is, how much of it is absolutely necessary? Not being an expert, I don't know. Unfortunately we have to trust people and where money is concerned, you can't trust anybody.

It's the same with the optician. I'm due to have an eye test, but what are the chances that they're going to say, "No, absolutely fine, keep the glasses you've got and we'll see you in 12 months." Not going to happen. They're going to up the power of the lenses, try and sell me new frames and bingo! A profit for them and an empty wallet for me.

I feel sorry for those who went under the knife of the aforementioned Mr Ian Paterson. Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC, according to Metro, said that 'the 59-year-old had 'his own obscure motives' for the deception. He said he may have inflated his workload to keep up his image of being 'at the top of his game' – or simply enjoyed the power of making people think their lives were in his hands."

If mechanics can charge for unnecessary work on your car, then beware of surgeons, opticians and anybody else driven by a profit motive as you might discover that work you're told needs doing, doesn't.

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