I got a call from a bill collector today. Yes I deserved the call. After 10 years with this company, I am behind for the first time ever. When I saw the number, I was ready to put my embarrassment aside and take whatever “discipline” I had coming. Like so many others, I too have had difficult times managing to stay on the edge of the hole without falling in, because once in, digging my way out is much harder. Full disclosure here – how much I owe this company – $500.00 total, but it is not more important to me than my mortgage, my utilities, and my worker’s paychecks, which I struggle to make at times due to…well see below.
What I was not expecting was the tactless and extremely rude remark from someone who doesn’t live in our country, to me, someone who has been on top of the game for some time, and has recently fallen behind like so many other Americans in this wonderful economy of ours. An economy I have called – the check is in the mail economy before in this blog. http://wp.me/pLEiA-39
The conversation started out with:
I kept my cool, even though I think it is unprofessional to call me by my first name as if we are friends, and even worse, calling me by my mother’s name. I did not even correct him, I let it go.
It continued nicely for a bit, even with this man noting that this is the first time I have been in arrears ever with this company and that he understands I may have just had a difficult time lately.
He then noted he understood I owned my own company, and wondered why I could not pay this particular bill and wondered if I treated all my bills in the same manner.
I started to get heated, but still kept my cool. I was after all late and did owe money. I explained that being my own boss and company owner does not mean I am rich, and that unfortunately many of my clients pay me 30 plus days, but I have to pay my workers every two weeks. I understand I am behind, but am working to bring myself back current ASAP.
Then he did it. He took all the time in the world to do it and took me to the place I did not want to go. He brought out the truck driver in me.
He says, and I quote, “Don’t you own your home and have a mortgage? Why don’t you take out a home equity loan and pay your bill with us? You could sell some of those clothes you buy, or maybe even stop going to restaurants so much. Maybe you should consider having your family pitch in to help you or go on welfare to assist you with your other bills”
If I were a splurging type individual, maybe that would have shamed me. But it made me mad.
My reply was to the point, and I will get as close to a quote as possible, removing the words that only truckers should hear.
“I do not go out to eat – in fact the last time I went out to eat was over three years ago and dinner was bought for me. I do not buy clothes often, and my last purchase was over a year ago for sneakers, which by the way replaced a pair bought 7 years ago. The money on this credit card was used for my business when a computer blew up, and not on luxuries. I do not need welfare; I earn my money and work hard for it. I do not ask anyone for money, much less my family who are worse off then I am at times. And as far as my home goes, I do have a mortgage that I fight to pay every month, like most other Americans, and because I am behind in some bills, who in their right mind would loan me money. Why would I ask if I already know what I have is not enough to pay what I owe already?
Speaking to me this way will not get you payments. Speaking to me this way will not make you a bigger person to me. Speaking to me this way just makes me more angry that a US company would use off shore idiots to do a job that an American can do, probably better, and work toward fixing our economy instead of paying our dollars to some __________ person who has nothing better to do than to belittle and anger the very same people who ensure he gets a paycheck.”
I then told him to have a nice day and hung up.
Do I feel bad – absolutely not. Do I know I still have to pay this bill – absolutely, yes. Will it be the first one on my list when the checks come rolling in – NO.
They can come take my TV set for all I care. Better yet – take my phone. I won’t be answering it for him anymore.