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    Pray For Her Math Students

    | Asheville, NC, USA | Books & Reading, Criminal/Illegal, Money

    (As the manager of a large bookstore, part of my job is to call customers who have written bad checks to arrange payment. I call one such customer. I identify myself and verify that I am speaking to the check-writer.)

    Me: “I’m calling in regard to a check you wrote for $534 on [date]. It has been returned for insufficient funds, so we’ll need you to come by—”

    Customer: “Oh my God! I can’t believe you’re calling me about this! I gave you the books back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry? You gave them back? Did you speak to anyone?”

    Customer: “Of course! I gave them to the cashier and filled out paperwork!”

    (On a hunch, I search the returns for her name. She did return the books, and got a cash refund.)

    Me: “Okay, I see you brought them back on [date] and got a cash refund. Is that right?”

    Customer: “Yes! And you should be fired for calling me at home for no reason!”

    Me: “Ma’am, you still have to pay for the bounced check.”

    Customer: “What? I don’t have the books! I am not paying for books I don’t have!”

    Me: “You wrote a bad check for merchandise, then returned the merchandise for cash. But the check is still worthless and has to be paid.”

    Customer: “What kind of idiot are you? Listen carefully: I. Do. Not. Have. Your. Books. I gave them back and that’s the end of it.”

    Me: “I’m afraid it doesn’t matter whether you have the books or not. Now, instead of books, you have our money and we still have a worthless check. You really need to take care of this, or it will be a police matter. I’m sure you don’t want me to go to the magistrate.”

    Customer: “Are you calling me a thief?! If you turn me into the police, I’ll have YOU arrested for false reports! I’ll have your job for this! I am a school teacher! I teach math!”

    Me: “Ma’am. I need you to follow along here. You wrote a bad check for merchandise, and then returned that merchandise for cash. That is fraud, and it is in an amount that can get you in serious trouble.”

    (The customer screams about how I am trying to rob her of money, then hangs up. I phone back a few days later to give her another chance. Still furious, she sticks to her guns. I try my best but she just won’t listen or try to understand. After sending her several certified demand letters, I have no choice but to file a criminal complaint. Being over $400 it is a felony fraud charge. Not long afterward I get a final phone call from her.)

    Customer: “ARE YOU THE B**** WHO SENT THE POLICE TO MY SCHOOL?!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I had to turn your NSF check over for prosecution because you refused to pay. I gave you many chances to avoid that.”

    Customer: “I MIGHT LOSE MY JOB! I have never been so humiliated! I’m going to sue you and your company for this! You are going to jail for what you’re doing to me!”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, I’ve tried everything to make you understand, so do what you think you need to do.”

    (Ultimately, she was found guilty and told to pay the check and fee, plus court costs. Even when the magistrate explained it to her, she refused to believe that she owed the money.)