The tutor in our story is pretty inexpensive. He charges ten euro an hour plus a 5 euro transportation fee if the student chooses to be tutored in their own home. That seems reasonable to me, but not to this mom however. The sad part is, the family was obviously very well-off.
“Story time! This happened some years ago, but it’s always fun to reminisce.
Back in the day, during my first years of college I used to do some private tutoring to earn some honest cash. My rates were definitely low, something around 10€ per hour (this happened in Italy, and that rate was low-ish even for Italian standards), and if it was me going to the pupil’s house I asked for an extra flat 5€ to cover the price of the tickets for public transportation.
One day I receive a call from this woman, she tells me that her dear son needs some tutoring in Math: couple of hours two times per week, standard fare. She gives me the address, and I reckon it’s in one of the richest, classiest areas of the city. I tell her that the price is 10€ per hour plus the 5€ to cover the tickets for transportation, and she accepts.
All right, day one, I go to her house, and it’s an actually huge house, these people are clearly loaded. I get introduced to the son and to his room: the walls are plastered with official paraphernalia of the local soccer team (very expensive stuff), there’s a massive flat screen towering in the middle of the room and three or four gaming consoles hooked to it, all the latest models. As I sort of expected, the guy is actually a little spoiled brat, ignorant, with that constant sneer which is typical of those that feel they’re entitled to the world, and that clearly tells me that he has no intention of improving or paying attention. As a result, those initial two hours of tutoring are an absolute hell.
Time passes, and it’s time for me to leave. We go to the living room where his mom is waiting for me, and she hands me two 10€ bills.
Me: “Ma’am, it would be 25€…”
Mom: [looking perplexed with a hint of annoyance] “Why 25€? You said it was 10€ per hour and it’s been 2 hours!”
Me: “Sure, but I also told you that if I’m coming here I ask for an additional 5€ for public transportation…”
Mom: [after a couple of seconds of silence] “…Does this mean that I have to give you these extra 5€ every time?”
Me: “Well, you could send your son to my house if you want to save.”
Mom: [clearly annoyed] “But why do you need to ask for extra money???”
Me: [starting to lose my temper] “Well ma’am, I still need to physically get here, I don’t really pocket anything of these extra 5€, I use them to buy the tickets! Would you prefer me to count this as actual tutoring time? in that case it takes me around one hour to come here, and it would be an extra 10€!”
At this point she relents and hands me an extra 5€ bill, but it’s clear that she’s pissed.
Day two of tutoring arrives. 30 minutes before I leave to get there my phone rings, and it’s the mother:
Mom: “Hey, it’s [mom’s name]. We thought about this tutoring thing and we didn’t like…a certain thing. We don’t need your tutoring anymore.”
Me: “Okay, have a good day.” I conclude, dropping the call without even waiting for a reply.”