TL;DR — Sayo’s buntag, naahat ko’g pamalandong, pinukaw sa pagkaayo sa akong gubâ nga blender.
WARNING: Long rant ahead. But, probably worth reading.
After being comatose for many months, my blender is now alive, alert, awake, and enthusiastic. Thanks to the electrician-on-a-bike nga sa kadugay na nakong giatang-atangan, karon nadakpan na gyud nako. Total repair time: 15 minutes.
How much? (PM sent. LOL!) Seriously, for the electrician, it was the easiest and quickest 200 pesos. Sounds like a lot for just 15 minutes of work. Judging by how swiftly he disassembled, diagnosed, repaired, and re-assembled the thing, I could say he was a pro and knew his craft. The years of experience clearly showed in his expertise.
And, I willingly parted with my hard-earned 200 pesos and gave it to this amazing man who knew exactly how to help me.
Should I have haggled? Maybe asked him for a discount? Like, 100 pesos instead of 200? But, why should I shortchange someone who, for so many years, accumulated the technical expertise to be able to help me so quickly and almost effortlessly?
LESSON: Never shortchange or underpay people who are good at their work. They deserve commensurate remuneration for the help that they give. This applies to electrical repair experts like him, as well as to seasoned writers and editors like me. (As a sidenote, he, like me, does freelance work. Oh, the freedom!)
But, in my case, I always find it extremely embarrassing to put a price tag on my services. Why so? I went to school, earned my degree, and practiced and honed my craft not because I wanted to earn money, much less to accumulate lots of it. I write and edit because it is my passion, it is my joy, it gives me life, and my dignity as a human being is uplifted because of it.
And so, I rarely set a price for my service, especially when friends request it. Instead, my operating principle in this situation is “Take care of my needs” often verbally relayed in words such as “Ikaw la’y mag-igo” or “Ikaw ra’y bahala pila imong ihatag.” This is not so much a sign of weakness as it is a sign of my deep trust that my clients will compensate me according to their perceived value of my help. It’s not a call for freeloading, although I don’t mind freeloaders, particularly those people who direly need my help but are, at that moment, incapable of paying. I’ve been there — a freeloading, penniless pauper at the bottom of the heap. It’s a tough moment, and it is shameful not to be able to repay kindness and mercy. But, I received help anyway. I was shown kindness and mercy anyway.
I never ask for payment from friends. If they pay, well and good. If they don’t, I don’t mind. The happiness of being able to help is enough for me. No price can be tagged to that kind of happiness. Besides, I know — and I have experienced it countless times — that I will always be paid one way or another, not necessarily monetarily, and not necessarily from the one who commissioned my service. God, the Ultimate Labor Arbiter, pays in mysterious ways. Sometimes the payment comes in the form of peace of mind. At other times it comes in the form of unexpected material gifts. Sometimes it arrives as good health. At other times it comes as free help from friends and strangers alike. Sometimes, it arrives in the form of loving and faithful friends nga monunot gyud, ug lunod-patay.
That electrician-on-a-bike? He should regret nga mibungat siya og presyo nga 200 pesos. Because I planned to pay him 500. That was my quantification of how valuable my blender was to my daily routine. Apparently, he was just doing it for the money, and that’s fine by me. But, he could have received more if he did it just for the sake of doing good and of helping.