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September 07, 2016

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I'll miss that NY Times "Mr. Loaf" story--I hadn't known before that it's apocryphal. I do think I remember seeing a reference to "Mr. Mao" some time in the 1960s, though.

As an agency, then freelance art director/copywriter for years, I had similar requests from people. I gave similar responses. I've always had the feeling that "creative" people were devalued. The perception was that we were having fun, using magical inspiration, rather than work and experience, and didn't need or expect compensation. Only part of that perception is true: sometimes, we do have fun, if not satisfaction.

Dan: My Twitter friend Jonathon Owen (@arrantpedantry) calls it "Schrödinger's freelance job: hard enough that I can't do it myself, but easy enough that you can do it for me for free."

I have a method that helps me deal with compensation from recalcitrant clients. It does not involve quantum mechanics or cats. I call it "The Asshole Tax."

Respect. Thanks so much for writing an excellent post on this issue. You have captured the essence of the argument and put forward a proper response. There will always be people who ask for free creative services. But as in most things in life, you do get what you pay for!

I comprehend the motivation for maybe 15 percent of the questions directed to me on Quora. (Which is a change from Yahoo! Answers, where seemingly everyone is looking for either free stuff or sub-Biblical miracles.)

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