Friday, September 10, 2004

Furry Toffee

One of the most hideous men I have ever had to work with is a man whose name rhymes with Furry Toffee.

My First Taste of Furry Toffee: Furry Toffee called me at 8:30 PM from his cell phone while driving home from work. Being the big wheel of cheese that he was, he had no time to contact freelancers during actual working hours. Would I be interested in doing some contract work providing “content solutions” for the big shiny new dotcom he worked for? I naively agreed.

I Talk Money with Furry Toffee: How much did I charge? I told him my fee and he replied instantly that they were paying a rate $15/hour lower. I told him that that was less than what I charged a nonprofit and his company’s clients were all major corporate law firms. He said he would check with the president and see if they could make an “exception.” They did, but I did have to compromise.

My First Job for Furry Toffee: “Boo hoo,” Furry Toffee, moaned in an e-mail, “I can’t think of the right word to use in this extremely important, extremely urgent communique to a client. Could you help me? I need this back in 20 minutes.” Servile me, I complied, rewrote the paragraph, and e-mailed it back. “You’re a rock star!” Furry Toffee enthused, “Charge for a full hour!” What generosity.

I First Clap Eyes on Furry Toffee: After several months of jumping when he said jump, Furry Toffee was so pleased with me that he invited me to the big shiny new offices for a mysterious lunch meeting. Furry Toffee turned out to be a chubby shlub in a pilled navy-blue sweater. More or less the mental picture I’d formed of him. Furry Toffee introduced me to a small army of wan, rumpled, sleep-deprived 20-somethings beavering away at laptops. As we walked from soul-crushing cubicle to spirit-shrinking work station, Furry Toffee peppered me with questions that I could hardly have answered: Did I know that the company was soon going to go public? Did I know that all the employees were going to get stock and profit-sharing and be rich, rich, rich? Did I know that soon, very soon, the company was going to build an exercise room so that employees would never have to leave work? “Furry Toffee, I thought to myself, “you are so transparent. You’re going to try to wheedle me into giving up my free(dom)lancer status and signing over my destiny to you.

Furry Toffee Promises Me the Earth: Over plates of Larb, Furry Toffee offered me a job on staff with full benefits. I could name my salary; I could telecommute; I wouldn’t even have to come in the office—much. I told him I’d think about it and drove home, feeling alternately flattered and repulsed.

Furry Toffee Tries to Screw Me Over: A few months went by, and I noticed I was not being paid promptly by Furry Toffee’s company, although Furry Toffee was still sending me plenty of work and expecting double-quick turnaround. I called Furry Toffee and he told me that one of their clients was very unhappy with my work and hadn’t been able to use any of it on their Web site. I had completed that job months ago. I sputtered out something along the lines of “Why didn’t you tell me; I would have been happy to rework it.” He didn’t answer that, but instead asked what I was going to do about it, implying that I should agree to let them stiff me for all my outstanding invoices (more than $1000). I had the foresight to ask him if I could get back to him the next day about it. “Get back to me today,” he demanded and hung up. I checked the client’s Web site. There was all my content, exactly as I’d written it! Did he really think I wouldn’t catch him in his lie?

Furry Toffee Gets His and I Get Mine. A few months later that linty lump of candy was forced to resign in ignominy. After a few more months, I got a letter from the president saying they had no quibble with my work and I was paid in full.


Silence will now descend for a few days as B and I head out to the Central Cascades for some hiking. Back blogging by the 16th or the 17th.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the dotcom world. I remember it fondly. Mostly I remember that in both my dotcom jobs, I, an English major with no B. school background, could not envision how either company would ever make a profit. Oddly enough, one of them is still in business...

- Jane

5:38 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I was an English major, too! You're right, Jane, a lot of those dotcoms had laughable business plans and where are they now? Actually, the one Furry Toffee worked for is still going strong. They monopolized a particular niche early on and were smart enough to know when to discard liabilities like Furry Toffee.

9:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home