Recent intelligence has me telling you a story that quite gets my goat. Yes – I am channelling my Nana with lovely outdated terms like that aren’t I? 😉 But, the story that follows annoys me because having done a little freelance writing and knowing other people who do this kind of work, I know the difficulties and the risks people face making such a leap to write for their primary paycheque. I had not previously had experience of unethical behaviour amongst writers, until now. But this seems to me to be an abuse of the title of travel writer, as well as a young business seeking only to grow by pleasing its customers.
A freelance travel writer rang a small, boutique B & B, requesting a booking to stay for a night, with the expectation to write an article about the family run business. The hosts planned to happily accomodate this person as they would any other person calling to book, to discover the writer expected the room heavily discounted, oh, and in fact because they would also be travelling with another person and their child, they would need an extra room, dinner and breakfast for them all – heavily discounted, if not free. All these things were provided. The travel writer and friend enjoyed their meal, with little supervision of their child and little concern for the comfort of the other diners. They enjoyed their rooms, apparently forgetting to alert the owners to the fact that the child had wet the queen sized bed during the night. And while the travel writer commandeered the B&B’s business computer displacing the office manager for some time, (because it seemed they did not have with them a laptop, or even a pen and notepad) the child of the travel writer’s friend ‘played’ in the guest lounge to the horror of the cleaning staff who ventured in there to clean up afterwards. When the owner enquired whether they would be having dinner at the restaurant again that night as they had booked an extra night, the writer queried whether it would also be free. It would not be free they were told, ‘then no,’ they replied.
I promise I’m not whingeing about naughty kids, or poor parenting. I am whingeing about lack of common courtesy, thoughtfulness, and business-like behaviour. Taking advantage by using your ‘writer’ title as a free pass is poor. Writers are paid for their articles, can be reimbursed for their stays and can claim tax on their out of pocket expenses. Asking a small business to cover your expenses, as well as using their computer and displacing staff that they pay for, and allowing preventable damage to occur at no expense to yourself is outrageous. It almost smacks of blackmail to me.
I will get off my soapbox now. Down, Nana!