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Turning The Tables On Collections

, , , , , , | Working | April 29, 2018

(We have a friend that has been a dear friend for decades. He has one major flaw: he doesn’t pay his bills, on time or sometimes at all. It wouldn’t affect us if it weren’t for one BIG problem: he always puts us down as a reference, so of course the bill collectors call us when they can’t get him. I have fussed at him numerous times, and he at last has stopped, but with some of the calls I have had to get rude and threaten them. I was once a collection agent, for a legitimate company, so I know the laws governing them and what agencies to report an agency to. I have one rude title-loan company call me and when I ask them to stop, the guy starts telling me he can call anytime he wants.)

Me: “Really? The 1977 Federal Fair Collections Department Act says otherwise.” *silence from him* “Yeah, I was once a collection agent. I know what laws you are breaking, I know what government agencies to report you to, and I know how to make your company hurt.”

(That company never calls back. But a hospital takes the cake. Like usual, I try to be nice at first and explain that the person they are trying to reach does not live here, has never lived here, and will never live here. No, I will not take a message, and do not call back. This one just won’t listen. So, after a month of getting several calls a day, I have had it.)

Me: “Okay, I will take the message.”

Agent: “Great, I am glad you have finally seen the light. Tell him—”

Me: “Now wait. If you are going to use me as a messaging service, you will pay me as such. I charge $200, payment due up front.”


Me: “This is my phone. I pay the bill. You will pay me to take the messages to someone who doesn’t live here. Now, do you want to meet me with cash, or do you just want to mail me a cashier’s check?”

Agent: *very angry at this point* “What are you talking about?! I am not paying you!”

Me: “Then I won’t be delivering your message. Do not call here until you have the cash.”

(At this point a screaming match ensues. He is yelling that he will not pay, and how dare I demand money to deliver a message. I start yelling back.)

Me: “This is my phone! I pay the bill. Don’t call here. Don’t call here. Don’t call here. I pay my bills. I pay my bills. Don’t call here.”

(I could hear someone in the background telling the agent to hang up the phone over and over again. After about two or three minutes of us yelling, he finally hung up the phone. They got the message and never called me again. I have no problem if you are calling me about a bill I owe, but I will not be harassed over a bill that’s not even mine.)

Backpack Attack

, , , , | Right | April 26, 2018

(I order a coffee from a kiosk, and go to the pickup window to get it. Just as I pick it up, the man next to me turns around, smashing his backpack into me, and spilling half of the coffee. He then stands there, unmoving, with his backpack inches from my nose. I lift the flap on his backpack, and pour in the rest of the cup.)

Me: *I ask the barista as I take out my wallet again* “May I have another coffee, just like the last one?”

Barista: *with a grin* “Absolutely, but you sure aren’t going to pay for it; that was awesome! Come pick it up at the order window; his backpack’s probably full by now.”

A Ticket To Getting Kicked Out

, , , , | Right | April 26, 2018

(I work in a single-screen movie theater located in a former live, stage theatre that was built in the 1920s. My friend’s dad is retired, but works about 25 hours a week as an usher. Frequently, a teenager will buy a ticket and come in and sit down. At an opportune moment, they will get up, sneak over to the side or rear entrance, and open the door to allow five or six of their friends to get in without paying. One evening, my friend’s dad sees a kid get up and head in that direction, so he goes around the other way and waits at the end of the corridor. Sure enough, the kid comes by, opens the back door, and lets in six friends. Just as all these kids get through the door, my friend’s dad comes up to stop them.)

Usher: “Stop right there, all of you. Out of the theater, now!”

(The kid who let everyone in shouts at him:)

Kid: “But I have a ticket! You have to let me back in!”

Usher: “No, I don’t, kid. You violated policy by allowing all your friends in this door. Get out.”

Kid: *shouting* “Oh, yeah?! Well, I’ve got a ticket to this show.” *while waving the ticket at him* “You have to let me back in, because I paid for this ticket.”

Usher: “No, I don’t. Get out now!”

Kid: “Well, screw you, old man. I’m going to get a cop and tell him you won’t let me in after I bought a ticket!”

Usher: “Oh, so you want a cop, huh?” *turns around and shouts* “Hey, [Cop]! Come here a minute. One of these kids would like a word with you!”

(Around the corner comes [Cop], a 6’4″, muscular, burly city police officer, who stares down the entire crowd of teenagers:)

Cop: “So, you boys have a problem, huh? Would you like me to come with you, to discuss what you did with your mama?”

(After a few seconds of shocked silence, one of them finally says:)

Other Kid: “Oh, uh, no, that’s okay! I guess we’re good.”

(He said he’d never seen a group of teens bolt out of the building so fast!)

Won’t Be Enslaved To Their Ignorance

, , , , , | Learning | April 25, 2018

(We have been learning about the slave trade for Black History Month. Our teacher tells us to bring in essays on other examples of slavery throughout history to use as comparison. Most of the others choose the Greek or Roman slave trades, but I decide to use the Barbary pirates. I write my essay and bring it to read in front of the class. I talk about how the Barbary pirates, mostly from North Africa, used to travel as far north as Britain and Iceland to take white slaves. At the end of it, my teacher faces me.)

Teacher: “[My Name], that was a very interesting essay, but we’re not talking about fiction here.”

Me: *surprised* “But Miss, it really happened, mostly between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.”

Teacher: *ignoring me* “We’d like to think that the Africans had a slave trade, but the truth is that the white men were ruthless and enslaved them, not the other way around. However, I will give you a B for imagination. Don’t do this again, though.”

Me: *annoyed* “But it did happen, Miss! Read any history book! Practically every dominant country or empire had slaves. It makes no sense for the Ottomans to not have slaves.”

Teacher: *picking up a book from the shelf* “Let’s see… Barbary… Barbary… Oh, I see no mention of these pirates, and yet this book is a history of the world.”

(I tried to point out that it was a young children’s book, predominantly on European and American history, and shouldn’t even be in a classroom for tenth-graders, but she told me to sit down. Next history lesson, I brought in my sources from a museum, as well as a very large and heavy book on the history of slavery. She was forced to change my grade to an A.)

This story is part of the Black History Month roundup.

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A Formula For Embarrassment

, , , , , , , | Related | April 19, 2018

(When my daughter was born, my mother-in-law hated that I was breastfeeding her and would try to order me to get her onto bottled formula. A couple of weeks after giving birth, I bring my baby to see my husband’s grandmother. My baby starts crying while she is being held by her great-grandmother.)

Grandmother: “Do you breastfeed her?”

Mother-In-Law: *grunts* “Yes, she thinks it’s natu—”

Grandmother: *cuts her off* “Well, get your boob out; the wee thing is hungry, and booby is best.”

([Mother-In-Law] never chastised me again for breastfeeding.)

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