by H. Linn Murphy
I've been running around putting out fires all day.
I'm the Relief Society President for our ward. We're having a Christmas in September night on Thursday. For this night we've been planning since May. I decided, as my contribution, that I wanted to offer a kiln-fired bisque statuette of the Christus. We've done these before a long time ago and they went off quite well.
So I went around looking for somewhere to get these. Finally someone sent me a link to a woman's site in Wisconsin. Not only did she have what we wanted, but they were a great price. So I tried to navigate her site to buy them. Nothing on the site worked. So I called her on her phone.
We had a perfectly lovely conversation during which she informed me that for only $8 more per statue, she could double fire the statues, making it so I wouldn't have to hunt down a kiln or glaze (much more expensive than a little bottle of acrylic). To that end she sold me two bottles of fixative and 10 statues to be shipped on or by the 18th of September.
Then began a headache of massive proportions. Luckily everything but the conversation (the unlucky part) was well documented. I made two payments and she made several excuses. She was sending them separately since the humidity where she is made it so she couldn't do more than one a day. Then she asked me if I really still wanted 10. I of course said yes, and I wanted them all for my class on the 18th. She was already indicating she'd forgotten bits of our conversation. I think she's about 15 1/2 crayons short of a 16 crayon pack.
The box came. The packaging was subpar and one statue was broken and a second of the six was cracked. That was bad enough. But then I looked at them and found that they weren't even double fired. They were bisque. So that means now I either have to pitch a honkin' fit and make her send me double fired statues at her cost, or try and find a kiln and the expensive glaze at my cost.
Yeah. I'm livid. This is supposed to happen tomorrow.
So why, you ask, does this have to do anything with writing? Well I'll tell you. We write under contract when we use a publisher. A contract is binding on both sides. You will do certain things and they will do certain things. And there is a set of circumstances for if either breaches that contract (it's kind of like a covenant with God).
When you deal with contracts, you need to make certain you document every single thing, even (and maybe especially) if you are good friends or relatives with the other person. That is protection for both of you. Don't leave ANYTHING to a verbal agreement if at all possible. Verbal agreements are way too easy to wiggle out of.
When you get your contract and finish dancing wildly and calling all your friends and family to celebrate, when you get home from dinner out, take your contract to a lawyer and have them check it over for evilnesses and explain the legalese. That's what they're there for.
Uphold your part of the contract religiously. And don't try to weasel out of things you promised to do.
You'll have to decide between you, the Lord, and your lawyer and whoever else you want to consult, what you should do in case the other party breaches your contract. It might even be added to said contract.
And now I've got to go pick up my son before the hurricane happens.