Ask any professional artist or creative person of any kind, and they’ll tell you that the pressure to do their work for free is constant, and the lack of understanding when they decline is deeply annoying.
For a professional glassblower on Reddit, this age-old problem turned into a major conflict with their boyfriend after he asked them to make a piece of glass for free as a gift.
So, they took their situation to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for some perspective.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the name HostaKe on the site, asked:
“AITA – Bf wants ME to gift MY work to HIS client”
“I blow glass for a living. My boyfriend is an electrician (and makes twice what I make).”
“He came home today after working at a new customer’s house and said the couple was so nice that he wants to ‘do something nice for them’ and asked me for a piece of glass to give them, but he doesn’t want to pay me for it.”
“This has happened before – he wants to do something nice for someone… by having ME give them something. I’ve tried explaining why this is problematic and offensive, but he just doesn’t get it and gets extremely pissed off that I won’t give him something.”
“He won’t even agree to pay 1/2 what I would normally charge.”
OP’s fellow Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And it was pretty much unanimous—almost no one was on the boyfriend’s side.
“Maybe I’m being petty, but I would return the favor so he can really understand what you mean. Tell him that x person is so kind and you want to do something nice for them, and you know they need an electrician so you were hoping to offer up his help free of charge.”
“I wonder how happy he would be to oblige. NTA.” —Dorielotes
“No need for hypotheticals or any of the other convoluted plots others are cooking up to prove the BF wouldn’t do the same. He already has it in his power to do something nice for the nice couple.”
“He can give them a discount, or go the extra mile he wouldn’t for a surly client. Involving OP at all proves his stinginess.” —Equal-Comprehensive
“Make sure the time needed is equivalent to how long it takes to make one of your art pieces. So he understand the volume in which he has asked of you.”
“Ex) hey I sold this piece to a really great couple, they mentioned they have have a fixer upper that needs new electrical wiring in the kitchen. So I told them you would do it pro Bono.” —looostandhurt
“OP needs to tell him she has a customer that needs their entire house rewired. Tell him it would be so cool if he got right to work.”
“OP he doesn’t want to do something nice for them, he wants you to do something nice” —TaterMA
“NTA. He doesn’t want to so something nice for someone. He wants seem like he’s doing something nice for someone, but not actually do any work or pay any money.”
“If he is doing lots of work for your family and friends for free then that would be different but if he’s not, he’s definitely the a**hole.” —CheerilyTerrified
“I had an ex who was exactly like this. He wanted to do something nice for his mom, so he wanted ME to go into a studio and record her favorite song (I’m not a professional singer).”
“He wanted to do something nice for his sister in law, so he wanted ME to write her a heartfelt letter. I barely knew her.”
“I have probably 100 other examples. He is still like this. Just recently I heard him talking to someone whose daughter was about to graduate from a teacher program and he all but guaranteed her a job.”
“He has no power to do this, but his new wife has relatives who are principals, so I know who he was going to call next. He truly thinks he is the greatest person on the planet for ‘helping’ everyone when it’s never him who does the helping.” —Icy_Obligation
“NTA. Dont budge on this.”
“Sincerely, a fellow artist” —ObamaGuava
“I second this wholeheartedly. I’m not an artist or anything but I crochet and embroider. Never has my husband just assumed I would make and give away a blanket or something.”
“He has asked if I wouldn’t mind and would even buy materials, but only if I don’t mind doing it. My own mother pays (or tries to) for the things I make her.”
“Like, gracious, why are people such a**holes to artists and expect their talent and hardwork to come at no cost.” —crystalnoellyn
“NTA in the least. I would say BF is being incredibly tone deaf, but if he has done this before and he is not hearing your view after repeated efforts, he has now elevated himself to entitled jerk status.”
“There needs to be a hard no to this ever happening again so he learns not to even ask. I am offended on your behalf.” —remembertowelday525
“NTA tell him to discount their bill if he wants to do something nice. It should be his cost, not yours.” —BlueBea
“NTA, and I am really steamed at all the responses that seem to think how much you contribute to the household matters here. If he feels like that arrangement’s unbalanced somehow, he can talk to you about it.”
“He doesn’t get to volunteer your work to other people for free without consulting you first.” —mm172
“Ask him ‘hey my customer just got this electrical thing and and they need you to install it for them, I told them you’ll do it because they were so nice to me when I made their thing…’ NTA” —bustabruisa
The moral of the story is, if you wouldn’t ask someone with a “normal” profession to work for free, you shouldn’t ask artists to do so either.