Stories from My past: I’ll buy stuff from you in the future

single mom comic

When I started my first computer support business it taught me many lessons.

I was helping people in rural and poor areas. The median income was below that of other neighborhoods in the area. So it was a challenge to pay my own bills with what people could afford to pay me.

single mom comic
single mom comic

It was typical to have someone ask for something they believed was simple but was not. As a rule, most people neglect computer maintenance. It is surprising but people view their computer not as the complex system it is, but as a simple toaster that it either works or it doesn’t.

So I helped one person and fixed their issue at the agreed-upon price. It didn’t leave much room for profit. Some customers could afford a higher price and they subsided people who couldn’t afford things. Yes, I did give away both time and materials to help those I felt were poor. This particular person was a single mom and lived in a tough situation as well. I think my profit was like $10. She asked for a discount that amounted to $10 and I explained that if I gave her the discount I would make no profit. She promised that “I’ll buy stuff from you in the future.”

So I gave her the discount. I certainly didn’t need the $10 even though I had earned it, and future business sometimes requires you to provide something extra and unexpected to secure it. I really believed she would keep her word.

I was in business for 3 more years and she never called me back. I am not sharing this because I am mad, but rather to point something out. If you give a gift, you should not expect anything from that gift. It doesn’t matter she didn’t keep her word. What matters in this experience is that I dealt with people honestly and fairly.

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Of course, some of you may say that I am an idiot for accepting that reason and not making a bigger profit. That is your right to say so. Everyone deserves to be paid, and normally I was paid a higher wage than my other options at the time would have allowed. More importantly, it gave me practical experience with technology and how people value it. It allowed me to start down this path which has given me an acceptable living.

I hope that person is better in life now that I had a small hand in helping her. I don’t wish ill will on anyone, no matter how they treated me.