I was finishing off at a regular (7 years) customer's last week when a man in a truck drives up and explains he's about to dig up the driveway to prepare for an extension that is being built on the property. That's fine by me, I thought, as long as it doesn't interfere with my work. Then the customer comes out and says: "Can you not come for the next eight weeks? You'll be in the way of the construction workers." "That's fine", I said, feeling a bit undervalued but trying not to show it. This in itself didn't get me rattled. What got me was the ensuing conversation with the bloke in the truck as I was loading up my equipment to leave. Truck man: "I do a bit of your kind of work myself; you know, mowing, hedge cutting, that kind of thing." Me: "Oh yeh?" Truck man: "Yeh, I've got a dozen Council properties that I do, at odd moments when I feel like it, and the pay is fantastic. I'm in and out in twenty minutes each and it's thirty quid ($60) per cut. Me: "Yeh, that sounds pretty good." Truck man: "I see you've got mostly Stihl stuff in your vehicle. All my stuff's Echo, and it's great." Me: "I believe they're both pretty good. Why did you go for Echo?" Truck man: "Oh it's not mine, it's all Council stuff. I work for them, you see, in the highways dept, and I just use what they have lying around. Actually I use their gas as well, and mostly I manage to do it in their time too. It's a nice little earner." Me: "I can imagine". Was he the moron for telling me this, or am I the moron for imagining I can compete with this ultimate kind of lowballing? I loaded up as fast as possible and got out of there, feeling I'd lost my way in life a bit.