Man walks into a bar, charges them for his time

September 2nd, 2009 17 Comments By Paul Smith

Should companies pay you for being their customer? We don’t mean reward you with pointless points and worthless exclusives; we mean should they give you hard cash? Paul McCrudden thinks they should, so he set about invoicing businesses for time he spent as their customer. Using a data collection website called Daytum, the hapless chancer recorded the time and cost of all his interactions as a consumer over a six week period:

“The way I see it, my time on this planet is limited and as such I want to spend it as wisely as possible. It frustrates me therefore that every day of my life I have to waste time standing in queues waiting to buy some product or service that, in the big scheme of things, I don’t really care about. Take the Post Office for example. Whenever I go in there (and I try not to) I end up queuing for about five times as long as the actual time I spend at the counter sorting out those trivial things such as a parcel’s size and weight. That’s time that I’d prefer, in my limited, lucky period on earth, to be doing something else.

“What riles me is that all this time ultimately helps the company’s bottom line and market share – and I get nothing back for my time as a result. The fact that I’m in Pret a Manger and not EAT on any particular day results in the former having my attention – and wallet – dedicated to their brand, as opposed to their competitor’s.”

After applying a generous 75% discount to his standard hourly charge-out rate (based on his rate at work) since his time spent with these companies was less productive than with his employer, McCrudden set about invoicing all the businesses and sat back to see what happened next.

So far, plenty have responded: one chain of cafes that McCrudden has frequented for a decade didn’t get the point of it at all, Boots expressed delight at the 75% discount they received but failed to pay the bill, while the founder of Pret A Manger spied a chance for good PR and made with the cash:

pret letter Man walks into a bar, charges them for his time

pret cheque Man walks into a bar, charges them for his time

There’s a serious point, or at least one that attempts to justify the idiotic nature of it all:

“I did this for two main reasons: firstly, to further understand how I spend my life as a consumer, and secondly to challenge the basic assumption that consumers are subservient to brands.”

Brands receive a great deal from us in terms of loyalty, word-of-mouth promotion and return business and we rarely, if ever, receive anything above and beyond the material goods we pay for. It’s interesting to see a consumer  attempting to balance out that relationship, especially when it works.

[Paul McCrudden]

Comments (17) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Nobby September 2, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    To which address should I invoice you for my time reading this?

  2. Posted by tits September 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    That was funny. I laughed for once!

  3. Posted by TV's Dave Benson-Phillips September 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Although all of these silly internet fads repulse me (COUGH Twichiker)…. I’m very surprised so many of the companies actually offered him something – vouchers etc.

    Maybe I’m a brand whore, but I choose to goto Starbucks over Costa (for example) because I prefer the service and quality. The same argument vs my own coffee results in the same outcome.

    So basically… I just don’t really get it?

  4. Posted by MrRobin September 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    So the guy earns over £100 per hour at work and he spends all his time compiling crap like this? I hope he gets laid off!

  5. Posted by ball_sack September 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I agree with MrRobin – What an arse head to even do this

  6. Posted by ranker September 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    This guy must be seriously fucking loaded to live in Dolphin Square, London.

  7. Posted by Bunt September 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Dolphin square isnt that expensive

  8. Posted by The Real Bob September 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Dolphin Square might be expensive but frankly it’s right next to some very dubious council estates and I wouldn’t want to live there.

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  10. Posted by Rob September 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    What an absolute utter cock, I hope his time on this earth really is limited. If this is the most important thing to spend your time doing then you seriously need to reconsider your life.

    Idiot.

  11. Posted by Angry of Scotland September 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Tosser

  12. Posted by Your comment is awaiting moderation September 3, 2009 at 7:36 am

    So, Pret A Manger are willing to dish out their customers money to any wanker that writes in to charge them for buying from them? I won’t be going there then.

  13. Posted by Ian September 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I thought this was excellent. Props to the guy. It’s only a bit of fun guys. Don’t cry.

  14. Posted by Bratters September 3, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I hope this pretentious wanker knows that he is taking money from a company who are probly having trouble managing to pay their employees min.wage
    I hate rich people.

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  16. Lol – the guys makes an intelligent supposition, gets off his ass and proves it and over 75% of his responses are either to call him a tosser or debate the virtues of where he lives. You’re just jealous because you haven’t learnt to walk upright yet!

  17. Posted by Stephen August 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    well it seems that he is either over paid or under worked.
    if he feels he has a rightous right to be treat as a Divine citizen because he earns a damn sight more than the places he visits, entire staff do all year then we really do have some selfish deluded people in life.
    since when do anyone think they deserve to be front of the queue. since when does anyone feel that they have a right to be there.
    how many times have we stumbled upon the odd mammies boy stood behind us in the queue winging hes been stood there for “10 minutes already”
    we dont need to comment on what he did or what he recieved for his time we just need to realise what type of person he is. spoilt, selfish, probably suffering from ADHD, mammies boy with an addiction that means he cant stand in a queue for longer than ten minutes without feeling withdrawn.
    no dought the cashed pret a manger cheque will be weening its way to the nearest “tambourine man” as we speak.

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