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<a href="http://www.ydr.com/ci_15631625?source=most_viewed">http://www.ydr.com/ci_15631625?source=most_viewed</a>

AKA: How not to go after delinquent accounts!


  • Unknown
    That stuff does happen,

    unfortunately in these "trying" times.

    Most definately he was "in the wrong" saying what he said,,, but there are 2 sides to every story.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281
    funny or not

    I was a few minutes early for a snow-melt site visit, so I picked up my copy of the morning paper only to find this story on page-1. Darn near fell out of my truck! Never before heard that mud hole expression, much less walking one dry. The town council meetings must be lively(G).

    Not that any one of us (or all of us) haven't thought as much - or worse - when dealing with dead-beats (assuming the customer is one), but never ever would you say that using an audible voice!

    I once had a customer threaten to kick my butt over a $60.00 faucet repair bill (slumlord type landlord) if we dared bill him, so I gave him my address & invited him to stop by (politely). Of course we did bill him and he did pay without stopping by for the visit! That was a few decades ago & today I'm not so sure how I'd respond given the gun-play that's all too common.

    If you let the customer rant without responding in kind, they eventually run off enough steam to be reasonable. However, raise your tone of voice & it's off to the races where no one wins.  
  • Unknown
    edited July 2010
    Right-on Dave!

    You got that right.

    I`ve had some interesting experiences too,, but never gave or received threats of violence.

    Would have been interesting to be a "fly on the wall" listening to that exchange of words eh?,,,,,, ;-)
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,550
    My friend, Bob,

    would have handled this in a much better fashion, and it would have been totally satisfying. Bob's the best at this. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Unknown
    Totally agree Dan,,,,

    asking for money is never a nice job.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281
    You're a cruel man Holohan!

    You had to go and bring Bob into this - didn't ya!?! You might as well post the link so as others can be as tortured as I am about Bob and what he did. Have ye no shame lad?
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,550
    edited July 2010

    Bob’s a master plumber who does terrific work.  He is also as honest as a row of corn.  He gets a lot of inspection calls from this big, nationally known insurance company because they trust him implicitly.  He has learned over the years that most

    consumers have larceny in their blood and will cheat an insurance company if

    they can be reasonably sure they won’t get arrested.  They figure their rates are too high.  They fully understand that the reason why the rates are so high is because so many people cheat.  They figure that as long as everyone else is cheating, it’s okay for them to cheat too.  

    It’s not like a crime or anything if everyone’s doing it, right?  And as long as you don’t get caught.

    One day, Bob gets a call from the claims agent. She asks him to take a look at a claim one of their customers filed.   Let’s make up a name for this guy.  We’ll call him Mr. Cheatum, for reasons that will soon be clear.

    Mr. Cheatum’s problem is that his toilet, tub, and sink have simultaneously vomited

    feces and gray water all over his circa-1950s bathroom.  The cause of this malodorous regurgitation is a collapsed waste line that happens to be under a concrete slab.  Bob gives Mr. and Mrs. Cheatum the bad news and tells them he’ll notify the insurance company about the need for some jackhammer-and-new-pipe work.  Mr. Cheatum looks over both his shoulders to make sure there aren’t any federal prosecutors or priests within earshot and then says to Bob, “Listen, I want a brand-new bathroom out of this.”

    Bob looks at Mr. Cheatum in the special way he has of looking at people who bring up the subject of fraud.  “I can’t do that,” he says.  “That wouldn’t be right.  You’re not entitled to a new bathroom.  All you need is a new waste line, and that’s what I’m going to tell the insurance company. Your bathroom needs to be mopped up. 

    That’s all.”

    It goes without saying that Mr. Cheatum takes this personally.  “Look at this,” he says, pointing to the two cubic feet of semi-buoyant feces that is peeking over the top of his

    toilet.  “How can I ever sit on this seat again?  How can I ever come in

    here again?  It’s contaminated.  I need a new bathroom.  This is why I pay such exorbitant premiums!   I’ve been paying for years.  Now I think it’s my turn.  Isn’t there some way we can work this out?”

    “No,” Bob says.

    "Well I want a new bathroom,” Mr. Cheatum persists, smacking the wall with the flat of his hand.

    “I can give you a price on a new bathroom, if that’s what you want,” Bob explains.  “But I’m not going to cheat on the

    insurance paperwork.”

     “Did I say ‘cheat’?” Mr. Cheatum exclaims, shocked and appalled.  People who cheat don’t like to give voice to that word.  It carries a stigma that troubles them for some reason.  They’re rather use expressions such as “These rules were meant to be bent” and “Can’t you make a slight exception in this case” and “Hey, here’s a hundred bucks.”  These all sound so much better to them than “cheat.”

    But as I said, Bob is an honest man, and honesty is a pretty scary concept to a lot of

    people in this country.  After a while, Mr. Cheatum saw that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this paragon of plumbing so he asked Bob to work up a price for a brand-new bathroom, which Bob did.

    Now, Bob likes flat-rate pricing so the price he gave Mr. Cheatum for the bathroom was

    pure bottom line.  It, like Bob, was very fair so Mr. Cheatum tells Bob he’s got the job. 

    He’ll let Bob know when he can start.

    Later that day, Bob runs into Tony at the local wholesaler’s counter.  They’ve known each other forever and are friendly competitors so Tony starts to tell Bob a story about this guy who called him that morning looking for a price on a new bathroom.  The guy had a collapsed waste line and he told Tony he was getting a big insurance settlement out of it.  It was going to cover the cost of a first-rate bathroom and he wanted Tony to do the job right away.  Tony had just stopped by to ask the wholesaler for some help in pricing the job.  “But this guy Cheatum doesn’t seem quite right to me,” Tony says.  “There’s just something about him that I don’t like.  What do you think I should

    do?  Should I take it and hope for the best?”

    Bob walks over to the wall and gets Cheatum on the phone.  “You told me I had the job,” he says.  “Now you’re giving the job to Tony?  Maybe you want us to work on it  together?  What’s going on?”

    “I had to make sure your price was honest,” Cheatum says.

    “Well, you just let us know what you decide, okay?  In the meantime, I’m going to put it out of my mind.”  Bob hangs up the phone and goes about his business.

    Tony goes to see Mr. Cheatum the next morning and proceeds to get thrown out of the house due to a severe case of Time and Material.

    Bob answers his phone later that day and Mr. Cheatum tells him that Tony is an idiot because he refused to offer a firm price.  “How can I compare your prices?” he asks Bob.  “That guy wanted to cheat me.”  People who cheat people have no problem mouthing the word while referring to people they think are cheating them.

    So Bob reluctantly takes the job, but not before getting a carefully worded, signed contract.  He does the work (and beautifully!) and then attempts to collect for his labors. 

    “I’m not paying you,” Mr. Cheatum says.

    “What?” Bob says.

    “I’m not paying you.”

    “Why?” Bob asks, leaning across the kitchen table.  “Are you unhappy with my work?”

    “Oh, no!”  Mr. Cheatum says.  “Your work is wonderful!”

    “Then why aren’t you going to pay me?” Bob asks.

    “Because I don’t have to,” Mr. Cheatum answers.

    “I have a signed contract for the work I did,” Bob calmly explains.  “You sure do have to pay me.”

    “I never signed any contract,” Mr. Cheatum scoffs.

    “Your wife signed it,” Bob says. “Remember?  I met with both of you when I gave you my price.  She signed it.  Look.  Here’s her signature.”  He offers the signed contract for Mr.

    Cheatum’s inspection. 

    “That’s not my wife’s signature,” Mr. Cheatum says, pushing the contract back across the table.  “You should have worked with me when I asked for your help with the insurance company. Now you can go after them for the money.  Lots of luck.”  He gets up from the kitchen table and walks into his bedroom.  He closes the door behind himself.  Bob looks at Mrs.Cheatum.

    “He’s been like this ever since he hit his head,” she says, as if that both explains

    everything and forgives the bill.

    “I don’t want to have to take you to court over this,” Bob says to Mrs. Cheatum.

    “I hope you won’t do that, Bob,” Mrs. Cheatum says. “That would only get him more upset.  You really should have helped him when you had the chance.”

    At that point, Mr. Cheatum waltzes out of the bedroom and smiles down at Bob.  He drops a Florida State driver’s license on the table and pins it with his gnarled index finger. “We have two addresses, you know.”  He taps on the license.  “One’s down in sunny Florida.  You ever try to sue a customer who lives in two states?  You ever try to sue an old guy like me?  Look at me.  I’m retired.  I need something to do from day to day.  I’d just look at your lawsuit as entertainment.  I’ll drive you crazy.  You have any idea how long it will take you to collect from me?  Look at me, Bob.  I’m your worst nightmare.”

    Which Bob, of course, realized was true.

    “So did you go after him?” I asked.

    “Nope,” he said, taking a bite of his sandwich.  “It’s not worth the time.  That two-state thing can make you crazy, and he’s right about the retirement business.  Retired people are the absolute worst.  I would become his hobby.  At this point, I just want the guy out of my life.”

    “But it’s so unfair,” I said.  “Don’t you want to get even?”

    Bob gave me a sinister grin and took a sip of his drink. “Oh, I’m getting even, all right. 

    In fact, I’m getting more than even.”

    “How?” I asked.

    And he told me.  He told me in lurid detail that has kept me smiling to this very day.  Mr. Cheatum had picked on the wrong plumber this time.  Bob’s retribution was, in a word . . . delicious!

    And he made me promise to keep it to myself.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I imagine that is a true story.

    I am reminded by it of a Mark Twain short story. It is called "A Story Without an End." Whoever typed this in made many typos, but you should have no trouble reading it.


    Now we have two unending stories.
  • Big Will
    Big Will Member Posts: 396
    Story with no ending

    Dan this is not like the pickle in the jar. You have too tell us what the revenge was. Come on out with it. 
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Should we not, at least, try to think up some endings first?

    Like the Mark Twain story, should we not try to make our own endings first? With the same rules.

    Bob must do terrific work (e.g., no leaving out the lead at the waste pipe joints).

    Bob must preserve his honesty.

    Bob cannot have an affair with Mr. Cheatum's wife.

    Bob must preserve his self-respect.

    And so on.

    My thought is that Bob noticed on Mr. Cheatum's Florida driver's license his address there, and Bob knew someone in the union there, and tipped them off so Mr. Cheatum got maximum rates applied to any work he had done there. He also may have written a true and complete report to his client, the insurance company, and Mr. Cheatum might have a lot of trouble renewing his insurance policy when it next comes due.

    A friend of mine used to be the chief of a volunteer fire department around here. A local restaurant burned down in full daylight when it was closed. It was extrermely suspicious (started in the middle of the dining room floor about 12 hours after the restaurant closed for the previous night, among other things), but they could prove nothing. Not long after it was rebuilt, it happened again. Still not enough proof of arson, but the fire department and the poilice both thought so. A word to the insurance company, who paid off because there was no proof. But the insurance company would not renew any more. And some insurance companies want to know who the previous insurer was. I wonder why?
  • KeithC
    KeithC Member Posts: 38

    Now you're going to bring the evil side out in us by imagining what the revenge was. . .
This discussion has been closed.