The problems is that freeloaders are everywhere these days… they are hiding in the crowd and pretend to be someone else…
Today, I wanted to write about a phenomenon that is taking up more and more space in our population. Is it because everything costs more year after year? Or is it because people misinterpret movements like Occupy Wall Street? Or maybe it’s because the internet is providing this shield of invulnerability called anonymity. I’m not too sure about the reasons why there are so many more freeloaders around, but what I can tell you is that I hate them deeply.
The term freeloader does not come from proper English. In fact, it is derived from a financial term; “Free Rider”. A free rider, in economics, refers to someone who benefits from resources, goods, or services without paying for the cost of the benefit (Source from Wikipedia). So a free RIDER is more of an opportunist, read lucky, individual who is at the right place at the right time. I have no problem with that. In fact, it’s always fun to free ride from time to time.
The freeloader is the dark side of the free rider. He is the individual who takes something with value at no cost and complains on top of it. The freeloader thinks everything should be offered at no cost and no effort. It’s almost like people owe it to him. And if the good or resource is not delivered according to his own terms, he whines about it (remember, this is all given to him for free).
We see a lot of freeloaders on the internet since the web has given the illusion that everything is free and available through a simple click.
Unfortunately, freeloaders are not only crawling the web, they are everywhere. A long time ago, I wrote a piece about rate shoppers, this is another kind of freeloader. Therefore, they also are clients who want a bigger slice of the pie without considering anything but the cost.
If you author a blog, you will definitely see freeloaders complain if you write an affiliate product reviews, offer your own products or simply run a contest asking your readers to share something.
If you own a company or work with clients, you will see clients act as freeloaders always asking for more. More freebies, more exceptions, more of everything. They something pretend to be “negotiators” or “frugal individuals” that are only looking for the best deal, the problem is that they don’t give a crap about what you offer. You can offer the best product, service or write the best blog in the world, they simply don’t care. They want to be fed and expect you to hold the spoon!
I have “opportunities” to deal with freeloaders both at work and with my online company. I find it easier to deal them at work though. I’ve found a trick that does it all the time. This is my secret weapon against freeloaders; I’ve defined myself and know what I offer. Therefore, I stand behind my principles and explain what I do for a living in a simple line.
No matter in which field you work, here’s how you can deal with freeloaders in a simple tag line:
“If you are looking for the cheapest price, you are not going to get it with me. I’m not a Walmart, I’m a Birks. I will provide you with the best service ever and the best assistance at a fair price. If you buy a home theatre at Walmart and you have questions or problems, don’t expect the 16yr old kid at the electronics department to help you out. You will pay the cheapest price, and this is all you will get. You will not run into this situation with me”.
If the potential client is a good negotiator or simply frugal, he will understand the true value of my offer. If he is a freeloader, he will simply walk away and I will not have to deal with him anymore. I’ve made the decision a long time ago to deal with people I really want to work with. Those who are looking for a delivery man pick someone other than me and that’s perfectly fine.
I’m having more difficulties to work it out on the web thought. The problem when you are dealing with someone online is that you are not face to face. This makes a huge difference as the freeloaders suddenly have a lot more power over you. For example, I recently launched a dividend investing book on Kindle (Amazon’s platform). I offered my book for free for 5 days as a promotion. For FREE, you can download the book, read it and do whatever you want. All you need to do is to open a free account with Amazon and download the book. I know because I’ve done it in the past.
I don’t get any money from it one way or another when someone benefits from this offer and downloads my book. But believe it or not, two freeloaders were dumb enough to not understand how to download a free book on Amazon and thought they had to pay for a Prime membership for $79/yr at Amazon to get access to the book. I can’t blame them for not being able to read properly, but the worst part is that they both gave a 1 star review on the book calling the whole thing a gimmick!
These people received an email with this offer because they are subscribers to my newsletter. If there was something they didn’t understand, they could have simply replied back to this email, asking me why they had to pay for a prime membership to download the book. I could have explained to them how to solve the problem and get the book for free. Since they don’t care, they simply decided to throw their venom in a review to downgrade my book. Wow… talk about an elementary school mentality…
How have I dealt with them? I simply commented politely on their review on Amazon… and I’ve manually unsubscribed them from my mailing list. I don’t want these people around my blog. Since I can’t take their computer away, the best I could do was to cancel their access to my investing newsletter which has the most value anyway.
There is one thing I’ve learned from freeloaders is to never get into a fight with them. If you do, you are playing THEIR game and they simply love it. They can do more harm to you than anything you can do to them (it is especially true online). Plus, they seem to have an awful lot of time on their hands to fight back so it’s definitely not worth it.
Even though I wish I could tell them how much I hate them, I simply made it clear that we should not be in contact with each other as I don’t provide what they are looking for. This is how sometimes; it pays to show some maturity! Hahaha!
Readers, how do you deal with freeloaders on your blog or at work?
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