Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

When you pay, does that give you a right to control the person you are paying for?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) April 20th, 2012

Let’s say you are giving money to a homeless person. Do you feel you should spend it for them, too? I.e., control what they spend it on to make sure you approve of their choices?

Let’s say you hire someone. Are you paying for their behavior in non-working hours, as well? Some big stars have “morals” clauses in their contracts. They get caught doing something illegal, and they can lose their job. When you hire a workman, do you expect them not to smoke on the job (no matter what they smoke)?

How about a child. Do you believe in giving an allowance and letting them spend on whatever they want? If they earn their own money, do you expect to have a say in how they spend it or is it theirs to do what they want with? Do you try to influence them, but let them have final say, or do you give them carte blanche to spend their money how they see fit? At what age does your attitude about this change?

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26 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

That would really depend on the situation. If I’m paying a carpenter I expect him to do exactly what I want him to do. However, he’s also the professional so to a certain extent it would have to be hands off. (Sorry about assuming a carpenter is a “he,” but I had to chose for the sake of brevity!)

If a homeless person, or poor person, asks me for money for a specific reason IE: “I’m hungry.” Then yes, I would be more likely to buy them some food rather than giving them cash.

Kids and allowance…well, first of all they’d be working their little butts off for the $5.00 a week and I would not control how it was spent unless it came to light that they were buying drugs or something. Then I’d cut them off fast.

marinelife's avatar

Certainly not.

The only decision that you are making is to give someone money.

Unfortunately, all too often, people assume that giving someone money does give them control.

Trillian's avatar

You’re mixing applications here.
Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation. After you give someone a gift, you do not dictate any terms or conditions. A gift with conditions is no gift.
Hiring someone to do a job for you is a different idea. You have every right to disallow smoking in your home or even on your property. Then you must allow reasonable time for breaks. Labor laws state fifteen minutes for every four hours of work. This does not mean ten minutes every hour, so hiring a non smoker might be a better idea.
You also can and should set certain limits on how your child spends his money. Reasonable limits, like no weapons or material that you are not allowing the child, such as adult content, anime, porn or whatever. If it’s something you wouldn’t buy, then the child should not be allowed either. But if the kid wants to blow it all on bubble gum or baseball cards, let him. At some point the child will get the picture that saving for something important takes commitment and sacrifice.
I’m not going to address corporate policy with regards to substances.

JLeslie's avatar

Someone I contract to fix something in my house, or perform some sort of service like cleaning, or mowing my yard, I don’t care what they do woth the money I give them.

If I give my money directly to a homeless person, I don’t care what they do with it. If I give my money to an organization that helps the homeless, then I care.

If someone is an employee of mine I only care what they do outside of work if it affects their work. For instance, everywhere I have worked an employee was allowed to drink on their lunch hour, because it was an unpaid hour, but they could not be at work inebriated. As far as smoking, I just care that they do not smoke on company grounds. If they are participating in illegal activity, and I feel that endangers the staff or compromises business, then I care.

I would not dictate how my child spends his money I don’t think. I would hope he would be responsible with money. If he wasn’t, really spent every penny on every stupid thing, I might change my attitude on it, not sure. Little kids who want to go buy toys and candy and don’t have much money to spend, I don’t care if they spemd it all on those fun things. But, kids who have a lot of money that is a different story I guess. And, as children get older I would expect different behvaior. As a parent I am there to guide them. I did not grow up with an allowance, except when I asked for it in Jr. high and my dad let me tell him how much, and then I had to do all my spending with that weekly amount. I did not have to work for it. I had to budget it for the week, buying my lunches with it, and whatever else I wanted. I did that for about 6 months. Before that I had to ask my parents for everything. Well, they gave me money for lunches without asking. My parents never really told me how to spend my money. I don’t remember ever soending any birthday money, I put it all in the bank. When I started working, I was 14, spent some saved some. I certainly could have saved more, but I never was a big spender.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

Personally no unless the money given is for a specific purpose. For example if you borrow money from me to pay a bill I expect that you will use the money to pay the bill. Otherwise the money I give you as a gift or allowance (children) is for your use. This concept especially bothers me in the dating world. I cannot stand it when guys assume they will get what they want from you because they paid for a date- really ticks me off.

anartist's avatar

No. As for the work itself, different degrees of control are appropriate. Getting the exact work you asked for, yes. As to how it’s gotten, too much micromanagement, especially with someone who has an expensive skill that you do not possess, could negatively affect the outcome. [[Like that old workplace gag poster: We charge $20 an hour, double i you watch, triple i you help”]

As for off-hours activity, no one’s business. Unfortunately for professional athletes, they are in the public eye, and want the job enough to accept the morals clauses. The same applies to politicians, except it takes longer to fire them.

thorninmud's avatar

If a person is soliciting money for a specific purpose, then I do feel that there’s a right to expect that’s what the money will be used for. Otherwise, they’re collecting under a false pretense. If I give to a charity that says my money will go to shelter abused animals, I’ll be pissed if I find out that they’re using it otherwise. If a guy is just holding out a cup on a street corner, I don’t have any right to expect him to spend my dollar in any particular way. But if he’s holding up a sign that says he’s hungry and needs money for food, then that’s a different matter.

jca's avatar

If I hire a workman, he can smoke on the job as long as he does not smoke in my house. If he wants to take a smoking break every hour, that’s on him because chances are he’s paid for the job, not by the hour, so him taking an hourly break means he’ll be working longer = his problem, not mine. He cannot smoke something that’s going to impair him = common sense, in my opinion.

When a celeb has a morals clause, it’s because they often not are just working, but are representing their employer. When they get busted for cheating or doing drugs or something, it makes the advertisers, who may be paying them milliions, look like they endorse the behavior.

With homeless, I can’t control what they spend on so therefore, I usually don’t give them anything. I’ll donate food or clothes to shelters, but when someone panhandles on the street, I am not likely to give. Around here, there are food pantries and Salvation Army programs that have hot meals, so they’re not likely to starve to death on the street.

With children, I think parents can and should have some say on their children’s habits and take the opportunities available to teach kids responsible habits. When they get to a certain age, they’re out and about on their own, so hopefully what they have learned will influence them to some extent, or they will learn quickly that if they spend it all they’ll no longer have it to spend.

Coloma's avatar

Hell no!
This is one of my biggest pet peeves, anyone that tries to control another with a “gift.”
If you choose to give, anything, to anyone, don’t call it “giving” if you insist on controlling how it is used.

Trillian's avatar

(Puts protective arm around @Coloma, fans her with other hand. Offers her a drink of water.)
Now see what you’ve done! You totally upset her!
It’s ok @Coloma, the bad man is gone now, breathe…. breathe.
Glares at @wundayatta.

JLeslie's avatar

But is paying someone for work, or lending someone money, a gift?

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie No. When paying for help you have a right to expect things to be done your way.
Lending though should still be free of contrivance I think, the only thing one needs to mandate is how much and when it will be paid back and any other agreement. This is why it’s best to not lend but give, if in the lending one feels they have a right to mandate how the money is used. Better to just give it and save yourself the stress of potentially not approving how it is utilized. Just my opinion. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma The one time lent a lot of money (actually I should say my husband and I) it was supposed to help with a down payment for a house, to help a family member. Before we even sent the money, the deal fell through, and they decided to rent for a while, but then they still expected us to lend them the money. Getting into an apartment for rent definitely did not cost what we were going to give. We also were not landing the entire amount of a down payment and closing, so I could not understand why they still would need our money. We didn’t ask questions, and we sent them the money. My thought process was, if they didn’t pay us back, they would never get one more penny from me ever. I would not be angry, I would not treat them differently, but never money again. We actually wrote up a contract with a minimal monthly payment. It did bother me a little that he took money, when I believe they did not really need it all. Their story did not add up. The back story is this same relative had stolen money from his mother in the past, and was sloppy with money in general. It was paid back, and I credit his partner for a lot of it, for his integrity that seems to have influenced my relative.

I have another relative who was in need and I just sent the money, never expected it to be paid back. It was a gift in my mind. As soon as she was making money again she paid me back. She didn’t have to, we never talked about repayment or that it was a loan, I had just sent her a check, I did not care what she spent it on.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Sounds like you’ve handled things well to me. Yep, that’s my self promise, I happily “help” but if the person I’m helping/givng to, shows lack of integrity I just don’t ever lend to them again. I lent 10k to a friend last year for a short term, 3 month loan. It was a defining moment on our friendship, she paid me back $900 in interest, her show of gratitude. I was both amazed and pleased! :-)

wundayatta's avatar

Since when did asking a question become advocating a point of view? I mean, sure, it happens sometimes, but things are getting a little crazy around here. @Trillian—you are fanning flames for a fire that doesn’t exist. What will you do next now that you’re won the hyperbolic woman of the year award? Go to Disney Land?

@Coloma It’s ok. No need to breathe. I didn’t upset you. ;-) Would you like a brownie? They’re special!

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Not upset, at all, just my 2 cents, confusing “giving” when it can also be control in disguise. Pass the brownies. ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma I know. Just messin’ with @Trillian. I feel a little like I’m on the playground and she’s throwing the dodge ball at me over and over. Next thing you know, she’s gonna want to share her coke with me. ;P

YARNLADY's avatar

^^^People – get a room

cookieman's avatar

Not at all.

If I pay a plumber, I expect her to fix my plumbing issue and clean up after themselves. So long as that is accomplished, I don’t care how they go about getting there.

If I give my daughter money, I expect her to save half of it. What she spends the other half on is not my concern (assuming it’s not illegal, of course)

There are always basic expectations – a contract of sorts, but it’s not my place to micromanage or control the specifics.

As for lending money – I have one basic rule: I never lend money to anyone if I need to get it back. It’s basically a gift.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t give money to people if I think it will enable bad behavior. I refuse to be an enabler.

I give money to relatives for specific purposes, and I stop giving it when I find they lie to me about how they spend it.

Trillian's avatar

@wundayatta Dang, how much of the fun did I miss? Get back out here so I can throw the ball at you again. My Mother would say; “Hold still so I can hitcha!”
At least you can take my funnin’ in the spirit intended.
@Coloma don’t eat that brownie! Oh, lord, too late. Well, I’ll babysit you until you come back down. Give me your car keys. And stop chasing that goose!

Symbeline's avatar

If I give money to a homeless person, it’s because I wanted to, no matter what they’re doing with it. If I hire somebody, I would hire them for their services. Not their non work hours or whatever life they have. I would however, bring it up if their work was inadequate, or if some behavior was affecting their duties.

Ron_C's avatar

If I hire a person it is for them to do a certain job. There may be workplace rules like no smoking or the requirement for safety glasses or shoes. When they’re off the job, I don’t care what they do as long as they show up ready for work the next morning.

We gave our kids a small allowance. They earned other money doing jobs for neighbors, baby sitting and lawn work or snow shoveling. We never really asked how much they made or tried to control how they spent it. We gave them a basic education and economic set of principles. They saved their money for the big things they wanted and probably spent a little foolishly but that’s how you learn. I don’t buy people, I buy services.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that some people think that purchasing a service buys just the service and nothing else. The employee gets to decide how to do the work, but owes you nothing in their own time. I think some people see it the same way for donations: they are purchasing no service, so they have no say over the person’s life.

Other people will pay only for approved behaviors. I.e., they give a donation to someone who is begging, but they expect that donation will be used for sanctioned purposes, like food, and not for unsanctioned purposes like getting high.

With children, it sounds like parents expect to have a bit more control. They will save half the money and do what they want with the rest (although I doubt getting high would be sanctioned by just about any parent).

So why do some people think they are owed more control over donations than they do over pay?

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta if I donate directly to a person I don’t care where the money goes. But, if I donate to a charity, then I care how they spend it.

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