Ready to Name Names

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Joined Jan 1, 2001
I have really had it!!!
I did some freelance work for a well-known company that publishes some very respectable (yeah, right) magazines last March, May and June (2001). The work I performed was food styling and recipe development. After having been told I'd get paid for my services after 60 days, I, reasonably, expected payment. I didn't get paid for the first job until the end of July and am still waiting for the work I did in May and June. I've been lied to, promised payment and only recieved a small check for a little portion of the services I provided. Meanwhile, this dirtbag company is using the photos and recipes right and left! After 60 days, I started adding a 5% late fee to each bill for every 30 days they remained past due.
Last month I filed suit in NYC small claims court to, hopefully, get paid. I wrote a letter to the editor-in-chief asking, one last time, for my pay and suggested that it would save us all a lot of time and trouble if they would just send a check for all the charges. As yet, no reply.
I'd like to warn all potential stylists and developers out there of the sleazy tactics employed by this company and also to suggest to any pastry chefs or bakers that if they are approached to have their work published, they should ask for pay up front. I warn you!! Do not give away your talents for free! These dirtbags think they can use your talent and ability to fill up pages in their magazines without having to pay you for it!!!!!
It's a matter of public record at this point. If you can't figure out who it is, just ask. I'm just ticked-off enough to tell!!!!
 
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Joined Nov 20, 2000
Just call me dense! But do tell! I can't figure it out. If you would prefer e-mail it to me. I'll be happy to support you by not supporting them if they're going to treat my comrades like that. Perhaps a well placed letter or two as well.:mad:
 
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The low-life publisher is Haymarket Group who produces "Pastry Art and Design" and "Chocolatier". I've got photos and recipes in the past 4 issues of each and have yet to be paid for my efforts.

I'll let you know the results of the lawsuit. I know I'll win, but whether I'll collect my money is a different issue.
 
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Joined Oct 13, 2001
Chocolate is the same color as mud which is just wet dirt . Do not let them treat you this way ! Let us all lend support . Of course thats just my opinion .:bounce:
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2001
That really is crappy. I feel for you. Let us know how it turns out.
Good luck, polly.
 
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Joined Jan 1, 2001
Thanks for the support, my fellow Chef-Talkers. Do me one more favor, cancel your subscriptions and stop buying these magazines. The sooner they are out of business, the sooner another business person will start one up to fill the void and the sooner stylists, developers, photographers (I understand they owe their photographer $40,0000 in past due bills) and pastry chefs will stop being taken advantage of. Of course, if they do fold (a boon to us all) it's unlikely I'll see payment. But that would be okay with me-I can always write it off my taxes as a bad debt.
 
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
foodnfoto, I am sorry to hear of this misfortune.
I get both these publications for my pastry chef.

I will share this with him,and we will look for other publications to fill this void, Again, sorry to hear of this mess, but thank you for sharing it with the community
cc
 
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Joined Nov 20, 2000
I suppose the bright side if there is one, is that the majority of the people probably don't realize this, so it's still a good feather in the portfolio cap, and that can't hurt.
 
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
You'd like to think they're a "Knight in Shining Armour" for the small businessperson. This is not entirely true. Although a party must be in court, small claims cannot collect for you.

We got so burned in small claims court here in SW CO. The entire court system here is a joke befitting The Dukes of Hazzard only with altitude. The judge did not see it fit to let us out of a kitchen space lease with a bar whose patrons did so much methamphedamine that they never ate. What is obviously one person's justice is not always viewed that way by others.

Good luck!

:rolleyes: . o O (Glad I didn't start that subscription to Chocolatier)
 
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Thanks for your concern, Panini.
In answer to your question, most freelance food styling and recipe development work for editorials is done with a verbal contract. The editor calls you up and asks if you are available for a specific shoot date and you agree to do the shoot. Then they fax you the recipes and you start shopping a prepping. Then you show up at the studio on the agreed upon date and do your work. It's this way for photographers and prop stylists, too. When you get into TV and film, production unions become involved and then you usually get a written contract.
My work for Chocolatier and PAD was done under verbal contract as I have done with many other magazines (Redbook, Country Living, Biography, First for Women, Women's World, Ladies' Home Journal. etc.) with no problem at all. This particular company, though, has a bad reputation (I learned after the fact) for being slow to pay. To me, "slow to pay" would mean paying at 90 days instead of the aforementioned 60 days. It's now going on EIGHT MONTHS that I've been waiting and the compounded late fees are almost equal to the original fee!
Please- don't buy these magazines. Pound the nail into the coffin for me. Go to your library and copy the recipes you want. Or ask me for them, I'll email them to you. Got them all right here at my fingertips.
*&^$#!#%*&^*(^*&(^Dirtbags!
 
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
I just got my monthly issue of a magazine that shall not be named. This magazine's parent company has a discussion board I used to frequent. In the past, the participants of the discussion board have cited instances where articles would be printed in the magazine which closely reflected our discussions. We wrote it off to coincidence, but this time it's too close for comfort.

Not long ago, I asked for feedback on how/where participants stored their pan lids. My lids look like a bad commercial for one of those plastic organizers that never seem to work. Imagine my surprise when there was a two-page spread with illustrations on this very topic several months after I raised the subject.

Unfortunately, you put in serious hours and deserve your rightful pay. However, publishers seem to pilfer ideas from a host of places. It never occurred to me that they may have begun the discussion board for the purpose of creating an information pool?

:rolleyes: Hmmmmmmmmm.
 
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
I wish you luck foodnfoto.
I checked before I post. Verbal Contract is as valid as a written one in the State you work.
In fact courts of Law are more severe when verbal contacts are broken.

In the mean time you are right! Not bying the issues is one step. Embarassing them in public forums is the other one.

Ok. This is radical but here is an organised community of people that take Food seriously. What if we started sending e-mails to those the just don't do their job as they should?
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
FNF, I'm so disappointed to hear what they're putting you through. When it comes time to renew my subscription, I may send the little notice back to them , detailing why they don't deserve a renewal from me (that's without me naming names, of course ;) ). That is inexcusable!

I would be interested in hearing how this matter progresses.
 
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
FNF,
Thank you for the explaination, I've done very little styling and it has all been for free for the local rag.
I wish you would not say anything that could be used against you here in this forum. At least use an alias. This could be some lone jerk in accounts payable doing this.
I would like to see you get together with others that are in the same position and approach the local authority. DA. You might find a common ground to really get them ( like prejudice against paying women) I'm assuming ? sorry, or something like that.
I understand your position and respect it, I think there might be more help out there than you think. Boycotting the mag, even though I will to support you, might not be a big enough impact.
Don't give up, but don't let it comsume you either.
a supporter
jeff
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Foodnfoto, please don't take this the wrong way, and the rest of you guys too, please don't think I'm being unsympathetic. I really don't think you should be posting your personal views as well as details of your business arrangements for all to see. I see it as a matter to be resolved between the parties involved and that's it. Airing your personal displeasure over the situation can only be damaging to both parties.

You have a right to be paid for your work, and the published work is proof enough that you did it. Perhaps it's time, like Jeff says, for someone else other than yourself to handle the case.

Kuan
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
I'm glad you told us, F&F. We need to know who's honorable and who's not in this business.
 
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Joined Jan 1, 2001
Thanks to all of you for your support in this issue.
Kuan, I appreciate your constructive criticism. Believe me, I've debated this issue for the past 8 months; however, I felt an overiding sense that people should know the truth about companies that intentionally exploit people. I am only the latest in a long line of stylists, developers and other talented people that have been taken advantage of by this publisher. Besides, I believe that an honest portrayal of the truth is far preferable to backhanded rumors and vague warnings that may not reach the people that need useful information. I wish someone had warned me of specifics before I committed to work for them.
Quite a few people come to me to ask advice as to how to break into styling and development. I think I owe it to them (especially in a forum of professionals, such as this) to advise against pitfalls and traps that can harm their progress, this being one of them.
I know boycotting these publications or encouraging others to do so will effect no change whatsoever to my dilemma. But I think it is important for people to know the kind of business they support when making purchases of any kind, including a magazine.
 
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Joined Jan 2, 2002
Sorry to hear of your bad misfortune, but the long and short of it is you must have written contracts no matter what you do in the food world especially food photos and published recipes ..I can tell you this from much experience in this matter.. I have been exploited very much early in my career and it doesnt get any better unless you become the aggressor and put it on paper..Sad to say but its worldwide, I have just come back from working in Stockholm ,Sweden, doing much work with papers, magazines and other restaurants and I assumed it wasnt like in the US and it was worse because the suedes are very tight with their money so I learned the hard way there as well.. Being burned for about 8,000 american dollars, and never payed on time...If you really want to drive your photograpy career ahead you must have a invoice, and simple business proposals, before you even start to load the film....my point the bigger the firm, or magazine , the bigger the loss can be without every detaill on paper and agreed to prior....

The problem is,, that as food service professionals and creators, we get so excited sometimes by the thought of being so highly complimented as being published and appreciated we get jaded ,and forget that for these people, its a business about looking good and selling subscriptions. Taking care of the innovator is not the medias first primary concern so you must spearhead your mission as a business transaction. and then when all of the red tape is taken care of you will find most times you can be relaxed and your creative animal will run wild.............

Its a really sad state of affairs, but reality will quickly clear your rose colored glasses when it happens to you enough...hang in there .........more these days ,like any other artists in the cretive field it becomes show me the money.....most important dont let the business aspect throw off your passion, and the love for the reasons you started your culinary journey long ago..........

Peace and be well
 
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Joined Jan 1, 2001
Just thought I'd post a note of follow-up. I won my case against them in small claims court last night. No one from the magazine even bothered to show up.
It went to an arbitrator for expediency's sake and he found in my favor. He did not, however, agree that all my late fees were fair but promised that I would get some form of additional damages for having waited eight months to be paid for my work. What damages I'll get remains to be seen, but I should be able to collect within 10 days.
Thank you for your support fellow Chef Talkers!
 
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