Them : “So this blog feature we saw you did for X brand was awesome. We also want something similar for our brand. So how much did you charge them? How much do you usually charge? What do the deliverables include?

Me : “Thanks! It was a successful campaign in that the client and their audience and my audience loved the images I produced. I’d love to do something similar for your brand – the possibilities for the current campaign you’re running are fabulous in my head already! I charge Rs. Y and deliverables include social media updates, a certain number of images etc.”

Them : “Ok. So we can’t pay you but what I’ll do is, I’ll give you a bag that’s worth the same amount as your charges. That can be done.”

Me : “Lady, would you accept that bag instead of your monthly salary?”

Them : *nervous laughter*


If you are someone who draws a salary working at a brand, before you ask me whether I’m ok with “barter”, how about you first ask yourself if you’d be ok with barter. Would you be ok substituting your salary with the brand’s products? What would you do if your employer told you that from next month onward, instead of that salary cheque, you will be receiving products instead? If it is implausible for you to accept such a deal from your employer, how dare you ask me that question?

“But I was just making an equiry Naina!”

And I am “just” judging you based on your line of enquiry. It would be professional of you to ask instead of assume. Ask me what mode of payment is acceptable to me. “Is barter ok with you Naina?” And I might tell you that it is not. If it was a barter economy, I might be ok with barter. But let’s not get into the question of “economy” here because you don’t even know what professionalism is. Economics would be a bit far-fetched. Let’s just say that if you’re not ready to exchange your salary with product, neither am I. Let’s also just say that if my landlord is not ready to substitute a rent cheque with a hand bag, neither am I.

And definitely do not call me in for a face-to-face meeting with your team of ten people and then proudly proclaim that NONE of you have ever visited my blog. I truly do not know what you’re attempting there. If you’re trying to insult me, that’s not happening. If you’re trying to be “cool”, that’s not happening. All I’m really getting is that the brand might be shutting shop in India soon and I might like to spread the word around so that the investors can safeguard whatever’s left of their investment. I might not name PR Agencies and brands in the #WTFNaina stories on my blog but I do use names in private conversations with people who matter.



More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all true stories by the way. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling on for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )