We can all agree artists, whether they be painters or interior designers, should be fairly compensated for their work, their hours and their art.
But who needs fair compensation when it’s family, right?
One woman sarcastically felt this way after a friend tried to talk her into lowering her rates because of their relationship, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor cookiescoop struggled with what to do when she felt the need to be compensated for her work.
But after her friend’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not lowering my prices for a friend?”
The OP recently received an order from a woman (Fran) she works with.
“I (28 [Female]) work in a school. As a side-hustle, I bake cakes and cookies. I’ve had some people from my school order from me after I made some baked goods for the school Christmas cookie swap.”
“I just started in this school, and one of the people who helped me when I first got here was a woman who we’ll call Fran.”
“Fran loved the cookies that I made for the swap and has since mentioned ordering some from me. I said sure, just to let me know what she wanted and when.”
“It’s her birthday next month, and she asked me to make her a cake. She described what she wants, so I suggested my recipe that most closely fits what she wants. It’s a little extra, but it was close to what she wanted.”
“It requires a lot of time and some pretty pricey ingredients.”
The OP later further described the cake in a comment:
“It’s three layers and is filled with good-quality chocolate ganache and decorated with handmade truffles and other candies.”
Fran didn’t appreciate the OP’s prices.
“I told her that I could do it for about $35. She said it was too expensive and asked what the lowest price I would accept would be.”
“I said $35 is the lowest I can go, since because the recipe requires a lot of expensive ingredients, I would only be accounting for covering the ingredients, not really even my time (which, for this specific cake would be around 3.5-4 hours total).”
“I did say that I understood it being too expensive, and offered to make her a simpler cake for about $10 less. She said she also couldn’t afford the simpler cake.”
Fran tried another tactic.
“This morning, she came into my classroom and asked me what I charge for cookies.”
“I told her that, unfortunately, because the cookies take so much time (I use royal icing and I have to let them dry for about 24-hours after they’re decorated), I have a dozen cookie minimum, and they’re more expensive than the simple cake she said she couldn’t afford.”
Fran didn’t like the OP’s response.
“She got really huffy with me and basically said that since I’m her friend, and since I know that she’s having another baby, I should help her because she can’t afford my prices.”
“I told her I’m sorry, but if she really wants a cake for her birthday, the ones at the local grocery store are pretty good and might be more within her price range.”
“She hasn’t talked to me since, and I’m beginning to feel like I should have just agreed to make her the cake and just given it to her as a birthday present because now I feel awkward around her.”
The OP later updated the post.
“She has now asked me for the cheaper cake but asked what decorations I can do to make it look fancier.”
“At this point, I don’t want to make her anything, because I know she’ll keep asking for things and not want to pay.”
The OP later clarified in a comment:
“I’m afraid that, if I do this, she’ll ask me for things for her husband’s birthday, and her kid’s birthday and her next kid’s birthday, etc. And I’ll feel like I can’t say no because I did it once.”
The OP pondered ending the relationship.
“I have no idea what to say other than to tell her to bugger off.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors were also worried about what Fran would demand in the future.
“I would be wary of offering her a gift because then she may assume she will get one for every special occasion.” – Herefiraita
“It’s nice that she helped you out, but that’s no cause for you to put yourself $35 (+extra for time that you weren’t going to charge) out of pocket.”
“Never feel obliged like that! It’s one thing doing it as a gift for a close friend or family where you might normally spend that amount of money on them, but consider, how much would you spend on her for a present?”
“If nothing, don’t worry about it and move on! If she kicks up a fuss still, she’s probably not a great influence or friend to have in your personal life.” – Generic_as_jeff
“I have a neighbor who kind of creeped me out when I first met her, despite her very jovial attitude. She immediately helped me with some stuff I didn’t really need helping with, but I begrudgingly accepted.”
“Not long after she started making requests to help her with her dog. Since I love dogs, I was fine with it at first. But it kept escalating, and she started to demand more and more, until she publicly blew up on me over something she thought I did wrong. I immediately handed her the dog and told her I was done.”
“She sputtered ‘But I have to go to the store!’ She expected me to finish dog sitting that day, after screaming like a banshee at me in public. H**l no.”
“She later admitted I didn’t do anything wrong, and tried to make amends. I was just like ‘Cool story bro, I’m still done.'”
“Then she tried to do favors for me that I didn’t want her to do. And after a couple of weeks of that, she started talking about her dog and how much he missed me. Look, the dog is great, but no amount of cool dogness is going to make me deal with that crazy again. She even tried leaving him with me! I just sent him back.”
“My point being is that some people will ‘help out’ new people, just so they have something in the favour bank. Eventually, they’ll try to cash it in. I hate that type of people, and I don’t bow down to it.”
“The only reason I recognised it so quickly, is because my mother is exactly like that. And a narcissist.” – Morigyn
Others thought the OP was being more than reasonable in her prices.
“This might be showing my privilege, but $25 for a custom cake using good ingredients seems pretty affordable, even if it is a simple one.” – zaise_chsa
“It is especially for a three-tier cake with chocolate ganache on top of it, and a whole bunch of tulips and other decorations on top I think is what op said give or take a tulip.” – ButteredChickenNuget
“Her friend has caviar taste on a tuna fish budget.” – viridian-prime
“I recently made a 3 tier cake with buttercream frosting and no decorations for my daughter’s 7th birthday. I would happily pay $25 to not have to do it again.” – Tigerzombie
“I get that, but the phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ comes to mind. If she’s struggling and can’t afford that, she definitely shouldn’t feel entitled to clearly a luxury food item.” – bilgediver
A few also pointed out how tasteless it was to demand a discount from a friend.
“NTA If she was your friend she would be happy to support your business. Instead she is hoping to exploit you for her own gain.” – Dookwithanegg
“Absolutely agreed! In my community, it is really, really tactless/rude to ask your friends to give you a discount on their product or even get you into a show for less/free (especially if there is a touring band on the bill).”
“Even when the artist offers something to you at a discount/free, you gotta insist on paying full price like 2-3 times before accepting the discount on/free product.”
“NTA” – NnyIsSpooky
“Yup. If I know my friends do good work I use their services or buy their goods…but make it very clear that I don’t expect a discount. I’m contracting with them because I know they do good work first, and I like to spend my money with good people second.”
“My neighbor is a phenomenal landscaper and runs one hell of an operation. I asked him to quote out a patio for me and I could see him start to sigh because everyone asks him for cheap work. Told him I wasn’t looking for a discount and you could tell he was glad to not have the, ‘This is what it costs’ conversation.”
“On the flip side, I have friends who are train wreck operators but who solicit my business. I tell them the same thing. That doesn’t typically go as well.” – gregor_vance
A few also made suggestions about what the OP could say now Fran has come back.
“Jumping on this comment re Fran now wanting OP to do a less expensive cake. OP merely has to say, ‘Sorry, my schedule is full.’ NO other explanation required. NTA” – MidwestNormal
“Agreed. If I was OP, I’d tell her that I’d taken on more commissions since she first asked, and therefore no longer have the time to help. A customer who will try to avoid paying is a customer who isn’t worth your time…and the “friendship” aspect just makes it worse!” – Okayostrich
“If you don’t want to do it for her anymore, just let her know you are now booked through xy date and no longer able to accept any more orders. She waited too long hemming and hawing, now it’s too late. Oh well.” – surrala
The subReddit was definitely in agreement on this one.
The OP deserved to be compensated for her work and the ingredients, whether she was designing for a total stranger, her best friend or anyone in-between.