How My Free Lunch Turned Into the Most Expensive Sandwich Ever

The most expensive sandwich I have had cost me $191. You must be wondering just what was in this sandwich – gold? Nope. It was a Kimchee chicken schnitzel sandwich. Nothing to it really, albeit maybe a little too heavy on the Kimchee. Why the high price tag? Because it was given to me under the guise of a sales meeting. When I factor in my time, consulting and travel, for this meeting, it runs the cost of nearly two Benjamins. This takes the saying, “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” to a whole new level.

After countless meetings, I’ve honed my ability to spot those who just want to suck the knowledge out of my head. But every once in a while I get duped. And this was one such occasion. I knew the owner as we’d worked together on an event before and when he emailed me suggesting we meet because he’d like to talk to me “about your PR and Marketing services” I was pretty excited.

It takes me about an hour to get ready (I’m a girl, what can I say), an hour to drive to this location – city traffic, (31 miles one way), an hour for the meeting and an hour back home. That’s a huge chunk out of my day, but as a sole proprietor, I wear many hats, sales person being one of them.

As soon as I entered the store, he sat down with me asking probing question after probing question:

  • I’m thinking of opening up a second location, where should it be?
  • How do I fit in the market place?
  • How do I get a mention on and local television stations?

Of course, there’s a bit of freebies in the form of expertise you have to give away so that potential clients know you know your stuff. But these were some pretty in-depth, complicated questions. I asked what help he needed with social media and pr. He just smiled and said “Oh I can handle all of that myself. I just wanted your feedback on some of this other publicity.” I left, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Did he really think the fact that he gave me a $7.49 sandwich justified what he did?

I didn’t write all of this just to vent, though it has been a bit cathartic. As we food bloggers keep up our craft, no doubt we will be pulled in different directions. Writing, photography, recipe development and maybe even social media expert. I write this to tell you this is a talent and your services aren’t free. So, don’t let these leeches get away with taking advantage of you.

You have worked tirelessly to get to be where you are and acquire the skills to do what you do. If you are being sough after, it is because you bring value to an organization or business. Don’t sell yourself short. Stick to your guns. I promise good things will come your way.

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