The Wi-Fi router looked good. Its four green glowing buttons declaring its clear proficiency – that’s a considerable number of buttons by anyone’s reckoning.
I had been at loggerheads with my flatmate for some months over who should sign up for the broadband. I’d held off. It had been some time since we’d had working Internet and tempers were becoming frayed. She has the bigger room after all, I reasoned, and after years in the flat she considers the place very much her own. “Let her take responsibility for it then,” I thought. These were my stated grounds and maybe they were reasonable. But I decided to be the bigger person; I stepped up and signed the contract.
A flashy Internet connection arrived. It had all the speed and efficiency of four green buttons. Fantastic. Only then came time to pay. And guess what? I’ve seen nothing. Perhaps I’m not communicating properly, perhaps she’s under the impression it’s free Internet. In such a scenario, the bank details I have given her must have appeared simply a dry quip, and my later request for payment a boisterous overture – though frankly this seems unlikely. Either way, I’ve come to appreciate that getting money from people isn’t easy.
This got me thinking about the financial realities of the martial arts teacher. The average class size is about twenty, the average payment maybe ten pounds a lesson. Not bad for an hour and a half’s work. But then there is the venue hire to consider. Add to that getting the said money from each recalcitrant student – not looking so easy hey?
I met a teacher recently who had circumvented this problem by taking direct debit from each student at the start of each month. No need to pay, he’ll just help himself. It’s a scheme similar to a gym membership, if said gym could take up and head to the Bahamas. And what if I’m not at the class, Sifu?
Still I can’t fault him. The business of the Sifu is clearly not easy. His solution is clearly one that I can all apply my own life by removing all my housemate’s capacity for free will. All I need is to get her to set up a direct debit and I’m done, my four-button Internet is covered.
I should probably note that my housemate is now paying for the Internet – thanks, Alice. I hadn’t noticed the payment.