“PROGRAM THIS!” A Craigslist Dispute
Last updated: 2019-04-04
Recently I began my adventure into the world of freelancers. It can be a very scary place but also very exciting. I am currently looking for small time web development work on Craigslist so I have subscribed to the Craigslist local listings and saw this comment by someone looking for some programming work done on his site. I know that educating the client is part of the gig and this dispute that played out is a perfect example. <!-- more -->(I have posted the two articles in their entirety so that nothing is taken out of context.)
"**CGI Perl Script Installer (Pensacola)** I have a site that I want to upgrade from one program to another. I have it on my server I need help with making sure everything is where it should be. I’ve used this program in the past and had a programmer from India helping me for several years until they took a job where they could not do any outside work under their new employment contract. I will dearly miss them. I posted here a few days ago and I’m not stupid. This will take a fresh set of eyes maybe 30 minutes max to help me find my problem. My programmer used to install and have running and ready for me to customize in less time than that. I’ve received some really outrageous bids on helping me. If you replied before no need to reapply because your prices and demands were not acceptable. If you send me a phone number make sure it works. Because I will call and will check. To the guy that wanted $1500.00 for a min of 3 hours of work… please stop emailing me. It’s a program with install directions… Yes it’s simple but it has a mysql database and cron job that I think I might have miss installed or not installed properly. I just can’t see it. I would like this resolved by no later than tomorrow morning."
A day later someone posted this response to the same category:
" **Some points to consider:** If you know exactly how long it will take, but not how to do it, you probably don't know exactly how long it will take. (most) Programmers are professionals who have an in depth knowledge of their subject matter, would you tell your doctor how long your heart bypass should take? You will (hopefully) not find an American to work for the salary you were paying an Indian. Stop being so greedy, the economy is already in the toilet because people like you! Paying a fair wage to an American will not ruin your business model, unless it was terrible to begin with. If you do find a cheap programmer, and they do deliver a product, make sure to post your sites address somewhere public, along with your great price. Nothing sells a safe, well-secured site like demonstrating the ease of "penetration testing" your site to a prospective client. Aside from the actual programming of the site you should also remember: Outsourcing labor is really only economically feasible if you have a presence within the sweatshops themselves, if you can directly beat and/or harm the workers for displeasing you. Otherwise, it is more likely the sweat shop owners goals and your own will not coalesce. Only multi-national companies really come out ahead in this situation. Moving money out of the United States at a time like this, or treating prospective American employees like third class citizens, while not illegal, is obviously ethically poor. Yes, many programmers in America need jobs right now, using that to your advantage to pay less than a fair wage is morally wrong, and you know it. The more money you shift to foreign economies, the closer you are to having whatever it is YOU do shipped overseas as well. Don't think it can't happen. Even if you're better at it than everyone else, don't think for a minute that someone won't do it cheaper in India. And if all anyone is looking for is cheaper... Just my two cents, although I'm sure you'll tell me it was only worth one."
They deleted the post soon after it went up on Craigslist, so I was unable to share my heartfelt encouragement to whomever it was that wrote the response. So to whoever it was: AMEN!
Do you think there is something freelancers can do to help resolve this horrible misunderstanding about their profession other than posting a response on Craigslist?