I am patient and understanding to a point, but this particular customer goes way past that point every time he does business with us.
In fact, before today, the last time we spoke was two years ago when he let me have it for charging him a finance charge on a balance that was over 6 months late.
I'm not his biggest fan.
Before I called him I gave the guys in the office the chance to make the call.
"If I call, I can't guarantee that I will be nice," I warned.
I know, Nice Matters, but not always, especially when you're in charge of collections.
And as much as it pains me to admit, there is a serious lack of gender equality in my line of work.
BUT...that's another post for another day.
The guys declined my offer and so I made the call.
This is how it went:
"Hey _______ (if nice didn't ever matter, I would put his business name here) this is Noelle. I'm just calling to see when I can expect a payment."
"Is my balance past due?"
"Yes, since May. Do you get the invoices and statements I email to you regularly?" (Because on the chance he hadn't gotten my emails, I would be all about patience and understanding, even if I don't like the guy.)
"Yes I get them, but I don't ever print them out. I don't pay a bill unless I get a hard copy of the invoice in the mail."
"When I set you up on email billing at the beginning of the year I asked if you wanted hard copies and you never responded, which told me you didn't need them."
"I won't pay the bill unless you send the hard copies to me."
I thanked him and hung up the phone before the tone of my voice betrayed what I was thinking.
I did however send him a note with his invoices:
"Can you clarify something for me? You made the purchases. You signed every invoice personally. You took a copy of every invoice with you the day you left our store. You readily admit you get my emails...the emails I send every three weeks informing you once again that your balance is past due, and if there is a problem, will you please call me. You know you owe me for the invoices. And yet since May you haven't contacted me at all, even once. What am I missing?"
I left work after that, but on the way out I informed my brother that there was a possibility we would lose this guy's business again. (He stopped doing business with us the last time I had the nerve to charge him a finance charge.)
I have far too many of those kinds of encounters, and they leave me feeling somewhat cynical about the human race.
Tomorrow's agenda is emailing another customer who owes me money too...and has done all season long. The difference here? We're Facebook friends and I happen to know how many vacations he's been on this year. At the risk of being unfriended by him, I'm going to bring that little point up.
Another customer informed me today that I'm not living up to what God expects of me because I haven't yet considered having another baby.
He was serious.
It's amazing I haven't gone postal.
WAIT! There's more again!
But this more makes me feel a small amount of vindication.
Once several years ago I had yet another customer who owed me money. (And trust me, my cynicism would make every person who walked through our doors pay with cash, but sadly my brother and cousin have never reached that level of cynicism.)
He gave me an amazing song and dance.
"I'm going through an ugly divorce and all of my assets are tied up."
"I will pay you as soon as I can."
"My wife is dragging this divorce out. I promise I will pay you."
a year later: (after many phone calls in between)
"We're getting closer. Can you do this and this and this and this for my lawyer?"
a year later:
"We're sorry but the number you have called has been disconnected."
a year later:
Our attorney informs us this man is not to be found anywhere...he's disappeared out of thin air.
a year later: (which was just last week)
As I was driving home from work I pulled up to a red light. A big white truck pulled out of a parking lot next to where I was waiting for the light, and I looked up at the driver. It was the man who had disappeared out of thin air.
He didn't see me.
He drove past me and got stuck at the same red light, but only temporarily as he was turning right.
I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and finished writing down the last of his license plate number as he pulled away.
I called my brother and asked, "Remember ________?" He did.
"Would a license plate number help?"
"Seriously?" my brother asked.
My brother called in a favor from a friend who is a detective, and within just a day had a current address for the guy who owes us a bunch of money.
As of yesterday, he had been served papers from our lawyer.
And the moral of this very long story is this:
I should have become a librarian.
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|my daughter's preferred seat|