A friend of mine and his wife, whom I’ve known for about two years, will be putting their house on the market soon. In getting the place ready, they wanted to spruce up the outside of it, including scraping and painting the trim all around. On Monday, he sent an e-mail to four or five of us, asking if we’d come over and help them paint.
No problem; we all just took the bar exam, and we’re unemployed and have nothing better to do (this is my group of law-school buddies). Also, this guy, along with several others, helped me move about two weeks ago, when the temperature outside was around 107 degrees. So two of us went over there on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to get the painting done, as the others had good excuses.
This afternoon when I wrapped up, my friend’s wife tried to pay me. I wouldn’t take it; it had never occurred to me that this was a paying gig. She was dumbfounded, but I insisted. Heck, I enjoy painting and stuff.
Moreover, I said, stuff like this is what friends do; it’s not just about being drinking buddies. Especially for people who, like us, don’t have any family in town, friends are the support system to be called upon in exactly this type of situation.
She seemed really upset and determined to give me something, so I finally said they could just buy me a few beers sometime. Beer is the standard payment for such things anyway.
So what would y’all have done? Would you expect a friend to pay you for this? Even if you didn’t expect it, would you have accepted the money?
(One funny aspect of the painting is that today I spent a lot of time on a ladder right above a big rosemary bush, so afterward I smelled like a sweaty, paint-covered lamb cacciatore.)