Getting Owned By The Rent-To-Own

, , , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(I work at a rent-to-own store where customers can rent furniture, electronics, and appliances for a weekly rate, eventually owning them. A large part of our job is chasing down people who haven’t paid the rent on their merchandise. One customer, in particular, a woman in her mid-20s, is a huge problem, going weeks without paying, not answering her phone, and not working with us at all. Then, she will come in and pay a portion of what she owes and vanish again for a few weeks. This cycle goes on for about three months and we’re fed up, calling all her contacts and visiting her house every evening. One day, an older couple comes in and the man speaks to my manager.)

Man: “Why are you guys harassing my daughter so much?”

Manager: “Who’s your daughter, sir?”

Man: “[Trouble Customer].”

Manager: “Oh. Well, sir, we’re simply trying to get her to pay her rental bill.”

Man: “She signed your papers, didn’t she?”

Manager: “Yes, she did sign the rental agreement.”

Man: “Well, then, she’s going to pay you. You can just leave her alone.”

Manager: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. She signed the agreement that she was going to pay the amount due, in full, by Saturday of each week. She’s never once paid on time and she’s currently two weeks behind.”

Man: “But she’s given you money, so what’s the problem?”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I’m not completely sure where the disconnect is here. She has an agreement with us that says she will pay every Saturday…”

Man: “She agreed that she’ll pay you, and she will. There’s no problem, so leave her alone.”

(This went on for twenty minutes, getting nowhere. The concept of “must pay by an agreed-upon time an agreed-upon amount” was lost on this guy, and apparently, his daughter. They all figured that they could just get around to paying when they felt like it and that was their prerogative. The story with this customer continued for another few months, with her eventually getting behind by nearly six weeks in payments. We couldn’t do a legal replevin, however, unless she threatened to deface or destroy the goods. So, we made up a story to the cops about her threatening to smash her stuff if we didn’t leave her alone and we were able to get into her house and take it back. She wasn’t happy and cried a lot, but that’s the game you play with a rent-to-own store.)

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They’re Not Going Far In Life

, , , , | Right | September 12, 2018

(We not only rent equipment, but sell bulk material; topsoil, sand, and gravels, etc. We load customers’ vehicles, but cannot tie down loads or do maintenance on their vehicles for liability reasons. A customer has just had a large, top-heavy piece of equipment loaded into the bed of a pickup.)

Me: “Okay, you’re good to go as soon as you tie that down.”

Customer #1: “Oh, I don’t have anything to tie it with. Do you have any ropes?”

Me: “No, unfortunately, we don’t do that anymore as they were never returned. All we have is twine, and you’re welcome to that.”

Customer #1: “It’s okay; I’m not going far.”

(Later, another customer has just had half a yard of gravel loaded into a utility trailer that looks like it hasn’t been on the road since the 1950s. The threadbare tires are so flat that the trailer is practically riding on the rims.)

Me: “Ooh, that doesn’t look good. If you can pull around to our service bay, we have an air hose so you can top the tires up.”

Customer #2: “It’s okay; I’m not going far.”

(Later, yet another customer has rented a 40-foot extension ladder — 20 feet long and quite heavy. He has us put it on top of an old compact car with no roof rack. We give him some cardboard to protect what’s left of his paint.)

Me: “Okay, you’re good to go as soon as you tie it down.”

Customer #2: “I don’t have any rope. Can’t you do that?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we can’t; you have to do that.”

Customer #2: “Well, what do I do?”

Me: “Well, we can give you as much twine as you need, but you have to tie it down yourself.”

(The customer takes about half an hour and half a mile of twine to strap down a ladder that’s far longer than his car. Finally, he’s done.)

Me: “Are you sure that’s going to hold it?”

Customer #2: “Sure. Besides, I’m not going far.”

(The customer was traveling to another town about 30 kilometers away. Sadly, just about everyone who failed to understand their responsibility to safely transport goods or equipment had the same answer: “I’m not going far.” We had a running joke that there must be a vast, subterranean city beneath us, as nobody seemed to ever go “far,” and feared for those who had to share the road with these stunned weekend warriors.)

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Intern(ment) Camp

, | Working | June 6, 2016

(I’m an intern at a sound and light rental company. Since the beginning of my internship there, i have been nothing but degraded, put down, and had to deal with remarks like ‘are you retarded or just incompetent’ and ‘lazy ass cow.’ I’m already in the process of finding another place to do my internship but decency obliges me to stay in this firm until things are settled with my next intern address. Plus, my boss is on vacation so I can’t just leave. I’m busy loading the truck with equipment that’s quite heavy. Meanwhile, my colleague is testing some microphones, taking his sweet time doing so. I can’t lift one piece of equipment onto the truck on my own so i ask him to give me a hand.)

Coworker: “Can’t you see I’m busy? I’ll help you in a second.”

(I wait for a bit. He is still taking his sweet time testing the mics. I look around if there is other stuff to do, but there isn’t really anything. I go and ask him again.)

Coworker: “Geez, girl, can’t you do anything on your own? I’ll be there in a minute! Go smoke a cigarette or something.”

Me: “You know I don’t smoke.”

Coworker: “Whatever. Go do something for yourself. See if I care.”

Me: “Really? It will take you like ten seconds to come and help me out. If you could just do that we both can get on with our business.”

Coworker: *inaudible mumbling*

(Again, I wait. I get a text message in the meantime and go check it. Right there and then, my other coworker, who has declared himself ‘boss’ in my actual boss’ absence, comes to me.)

Coworker #2: “God-d*** it! Now I see you fiddling with your phone again! You lazy, stupid girl! I’m so d*** tired of you! If you think you’re too good to do anything around here you’re in for something!”

(I’m baffled with the injustice, and I try to say something but decide I’m not in the mood for a fight.)

Me: “You know what, dude? You’re right. Okay? You’re absolutely right. Whatever you say.”

Coworker #2: “Don’t you put on that disrespectful tone towards me! You know who you are talking to? I deserve some d*** respect from you!” (the guy is my age: 24)

Me: “For real?! Do I still have the right to stand up for myself here or not?”

Coworker #2: “No, you don’t! And if you don’t like it you can pack up and leave!”

Me: *suddenly calm* “Okay.”

(I grabbed my stuff and left. Coworker #1 suddenly hurried to lift the equipment into the truck, giving me an absolute death-glare. When my boss returned he didn’t even have the decency to have a normal evaluation talk with me without picking a fight. I never came back after that. Thankfully I found a new intern-place right after that was a hundred times better!)

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No Mower, Mow Problems

, , | Right | July 23, 2015

(At our equipment rental store we also do repairs on lawn equipment. Each spring, we get slammed when people can’t get their mowers started for that first cut. It’s strictly first come, first served, and customers are told what the approximate wait will be and that we’ll call them when the job is done. I am working in the back area where rental items are returned and fix mowers were kept when a well-dressed man in a very expensive car drove up.)

Customer: “I’m here to pick up my mower!”

Me: “Sure, what name was it under?”

Customer: “It’s [Name], and I can see my mower right there.”

Me: “Sure, just let me get the work order on that.”

(I go to the ‘Done’ folder but there’s no work order. I double check the name and number on the tag on the mower, but still can’t find it.)

Me: “Did you get a call saying the mower was done?”

Customer: “No, but you’ve had long enough. I’m a doctor and my time is very important!”

(I check in the shop and find the work order in the mechanic’s “Done” pile, but he hasn’t had time to complete it with parts, prices etc. I return to the customer.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but it looks like the mechanic has just done the work, but hasn’t totaled the charges on the work order yet. I’m afraid he’s on his lunch break. If you could come back later this afternoon, I’ll make sure he has that ready for you.”

(The customer goes into a tirade about how valuable his time is, and fully expects just to be able to drop in and pick up his mower at his convenience even though he hasn’t been called that it’s ready. With dread I go to the lunchroom, where the mechanic is relaxing after already putting in six hours to keep up with the rush.)

Me: “[Mechanic], there’s a guy to pick up his mower. It’s done, but the work order isn’t completed. He ‘insists.'”

Mechanic: *with a sinister look* “Send him to the counter; I’ll write it up.”

(I overhear the customer giving the mechanic a piece of his mind as the work order is written up, then load the mower into the customer’s car. Afterwards I go to apologize for interrupting the mechanic’s much-needed break.)

Mechanic: “Don’t worry about it. The carb’ on his mower was shot, so I took one off one of the dead machines and rebuilt it. I was going to give it to him for free, but since he was such an a**hole I charged him $50 for it. The guy was actually happy that I had ‘saved’ him money.”

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His Brain Is Out Of Gas

| Right | June 9, 2014

(I am working at a rental outlet – construction, landscaping equipment, etc. I am in the ‘back shop,’ where we receive and send out items. Part of our job on sending an item out is to ‘train’ the renter, as many are first time users and have little if any tool using experience. All gas-powered tools are started up in front of the customer with the exception of pressure washers (which needed to be hooked up to water before starting). I’m dealing with a customer renting a pressure washer. I’ve given him the printed instructions and gone through the demonstration about five times.)

Me: “So, you’re clear on it now?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’ve got it. Hook up the water and turn it on, turn the ignition switch to on, turn the fuel switch on, choke on, pull the cord and when the engine starts turn the choke off, then put the throttle to high.”

Me: “Yep, you’re good to go. Let’s get you loaded up.”

Customer: “One last question. Do I need a heavy duty extension cord for this?”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Oh, I guess this runs on gas, doesn’t it?”

(Sadly, this was not the dumbest customer moment I had there by far.)

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