There is a flyer taped to a utility pole on my street, advertising a local "repair collective" of licensed, skilled workers who are available to hire for all sorts of repairs and jobs. While talking up their skills they also add the extra enticement of low rates, which they describe as undercutting the rates of their competitors.
Whoa, wait, undercutting?
If you've been in the belly dance scene for more than five minutes you've heard the stories of dancers losing gigs and other dance opportunities when another dancer, sometimes talented and sometimes not, comes along and offers to perform at a lower rate than the established performer. It's ugly. It's stupid. If you really are dying to dance go check out your local shows and haflas before stealing another dancer's job and performing for peanuts. One day you might be looking at the situation from the other side of the equation.
Though I know competitive pricing is all a part of running a business, it still made me stop to see the word undercutting used so casually. Hell, used with pride! I've been conditioned to think of undercutting as a sign of bad quality and clueless or malicious behavior. Perhaps this repair collective is made up of a bunch of wonderful, talented, hardworking people but their advertising language really turned me off. Something like "Give us a call and ask about out competitive hourly rates!" would have been a much more positive way to say, "We work for cheap!". And as someone who is about to buy a house, I am all about the cheap but not at the sake of quality and not if it screws other people out of a job.
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