Tuesday, August 26, 2008


A very large part of my job is collecting unpaid invoices - I make collection calls. This is strictly business to business, it's not like I call up the widow Jones and tell her 'pay up bitch or we're repossessing your couch', nor do I threaten to break people's kneecaps. Threats have not been part of the legitimate collection world for quite a while, except in Texas (don't ask about Texan collection agencies - they are the scum of the universe). And the whole field is rather well regulated - except in Texas (Texan collection agencies are the scum of the universe - but you already knew that).

Most commercial collection involves one company trying to get another company to pay a past-due amount. Reminders that "hey, that invoice isn't getting any younger you know, and if you really want to keep buying our marvelous wonderful world-saving products that come with buckets of good karma and puppies! - Huggable puppies! - you probably should pay us now".

Please move that scrap of paper to the top of your to-do pile. Give me a call, tell me the payment is being processed, and listen to me squeal with excitement and gratitude.

Occasionally I leave anxious queries in their voicemail along the lines of: "why haven't you called back? I left ten messages for you over the last week, and I was starting to think something awful had happened! You scared me! I was so concerned!!!"

Whatever your crappy reason for not paying quite just yet, fercrapsakes call me! Let me know what's going on, so I don't forward your file to a collection agency in Texas.

Sometimes the miserable miserly hosers have a good reason for not calling back.

While trying to track down a severely delinquent non-payer, I ran across a lovely obituary. Of my customer. She passed away three months ago. She was only thirty four years old, and she left behind grieving parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and nephews and nieces. She also had many friends, who keenly miss her.

Her store was closed for a few weeks, but is open again - her loving kinfolk are running it in memory of her (she had opened the business only half a year before her untimely death).

I am very glad I ran across that obituary.

Not because she is dead, but because I now know why she didn't return my phone calls to her cell phone number. And when I call her store, I will not ask to speak with her, but will just gently bring up the subject of an invoice that unfortunately got overlooked.

Sometimes the nice people I deal with have good reasons for not calling back.


The deceased left behind a recipe for pumpkin bars. I am not fond of pumpkin (nor of the other main ingredient (oats).

Pumpkin Bars

6 cups whole oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups yogurt
1 - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (she left cinnamon out of the recipe, but it really should be included).

Mix all ingredients. Decant into an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated in a closed container. They will keep for about 6 weeks.

Despite my misgivings (oats? That's what horses eat!) and opposition to the evil imperialist pumpkin hegemony, I will probably make these at some point in the future.
It seems like a good way to remember.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Anonymous said...

Oats. Gross. And yuck.

Anonymous said...

Probably keep you regular.

Anonymous said...

I misspelled my name, and that's the Humour of it.

Spiros said...

I know where you can find a barley used coffin...

Anonymous said...

Does barley use coffins? I had no idea. I think I'll stick with the original recipe, thanks. Now that I think about it... barley, gross. And yuck.

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Yup,, have had similar experience - I spent several months in 2002 trying to contact a rep. in Taiwan. Early 2003 i got a mail from one of his (ex)employees telling me that he had died - his widow had sold off the premises and all his (3) staff were now working elsewhere.
The guy who bothered to contact me is now the rep.


Business still has problems when people give up the ghost.


Anonymous said...

Leaving messages on the voicemail of the departed. Something tasteless there. Especially if they call back.

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Not as tasteless as either oats or barley.

Anonymous said...

I've fallen off my chair, Brian.

Anonymous said...

Buzzards and pumpkins. Oh my. Who is what?


Anonymous said...

May I go off at a tangent here and ask WHY the US Republican party has chosen to introduce the Palin family to the rest of the world - thus undermining the respect & love in which we were holding Michael????????????????????????????


Anonymous said...

The ever-growing Palin family...

Squash Rights! said...

Curse the evil imperialist pumpking hegemony!

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