When I was just starting out on occasion I'd play in what we called "a basket house" just for tips. It was hard to count on making enough for the rent let alone food. Those days were, of necessity, my slimmest on record--and I'm referring to my waistline. After a while I was able to have a guaranteed wage even though that amount was usually way too low from my point of view. (It wasn't much better than playing for tips.) Even later, I could set my own price and then have the club owners decline or accept my needed salary. (Chris was in college by then.) Still, once in a while, someone would offer me the same amount I used to make when I was playing for tips and then I would usually say, "If that's all you can pay, then you need the money more than I do ! So let's just say I'll do a benefit for you. More often than not, they would accept. I'd feel good (and so would they.)
BOTTOM LINE: Their bank balance would look much better too (maybe). And I'd be in line for another gig or 3 down the road---and the fee would be my call (maybe).
Art Thieme ;-)