A friend of mine sent me a note about a demand her son made to her. She didn't really know what to do, and I made a few suggestions. Her son has since stopped making such demands. Here is an guess I made regarding their conversation, based on my suggestions:
So, you want to be paid a wage, and live separately from your family, hmm?
• Yes! Josh M. does it with his family, and he always has money!
Yes, well, Josh has a special arrangement with his family. Josh’s parents operate their own business, and Josh works as a regular employee.
• Yeah, but he always has money!
You want us to pay you like Josh? Well I suppose we could work this out. We aren’t a business, so I suppose we’ll just have to pay for your chores, instead of giving you an allowance. Is that acceptable?
All right, let’s begin with your basic work time. How long do you plan to do chores each day?
• 2 hours.
OK. Do you plan on doing chores on Saturday & Sunday?
• No (frowning)
OK. Because of your youth and inexperience, you’ll be making minimum wage, $8 an hour.
• Cool! That means I’ll get $80 a week!
Hmm. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. You mentioned that you want the room over the garage to live in. You knew that we were planning to rent it out for a little extra income, didn’t you?
Well, we could let you have it at a reduced rate.
• !!! You’re going to charge me rent?!
That’s what comes of living alone. Also, given that you will be eating here, we’ll only charge a pittance for food; but since you’ll have your own phone, you’ll have to pay that charge as well.
Of course, we’ll have to consider the other expenses that come with living alone. For example there’s the power bill …
… then there’s the water usage and sewage fees …
• !!! !!!
… and of course you’ll have to cope with sick days, and off time. I assume you’ll want to take days off from chores to be with your friends?
• Of course!
Well, we can’t be asked to pay you for work you didn’t do, so those days you won’t be included in your pay.
Of course, we haven’t even begun with taxes.
It’s a common fact that when you’re working, you have to pay taxes. Let’s see, I believe the low rate is about 20%, plus the other necessary deductions, hmm… let’s make it an even 25%.
• !!! !!! !!! (unprintable) !!!
Watch your language! Say, did you plan on getting your own health insurance, or did you plan on keeping with your family’s arrangement?
Hmm, I’m sure I’m missing something… I know! TV! We pay the Cable Company $75 a month. Since you’ll be watching a lot of TV, you’ll have to pay your share. Our family is made up of you, your father, your two sisters, and myself—that's five of us all told. From now on you’ll be responsible for your share, one-fifth, which is $15 per month.
We were planning on including the TV costs in the rent for our new lessee, but if you’d rather get your own cable line, you can always pay the full amount—along with the hook-up fee of $100. And there’s always the option of skipping cable altogether, and just using the old rabbit ears—the reception with those is rather lousy, but you get what you pay for.
• Uh, Mom?
• Just forget the whole thing, OK?
Are you sure that’s what you want?
• Yeah, I’m sure.
All right dear. Now go take out the garbage, won’t you?