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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesdays with Gindy. The Assistant Manager at Snuffy's

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A finance company hired me away from another finance company.  One of the main reasons they hired me was because they had purchased many credit accounts from the Western Auto Store in Iva and were having a hard time collecting them.

They had hired a new assistant manager just after they purchased the accounts with the idea that he would collect those accounts.

When I started working at this finance company, it was plain to see that this new assistant manager had a serious dislike for the town of Iva.

The assistant manager would complain whenever he was assigned to chase
Iva. Chase is the term we used when we went to collect face-to-face with someone in the field by going to their house or place of employment, or wherever.
Our manager would send me to Iva most of the time. And, most of the time I would come back with money.

The assistant manager could not understand how I did this.  Our supervisor assigned the assistant manager to go with me to Iva to meet the sheriff’s deputy to go serve Claim and Delivery papers and pick up some items.  We were to meet the deputy in the parking lot at the now closed Western Auto Store.
While we sat and waited, I got thirsty.  I decided to go across the street to Snuffy’s Tavern and get a Diet Coke.

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I asked the assistant manager if he wanted one.  He went berserk.  He said that those people would kill me and that he would not have my blood on his hands.

I went anyway.  I went in, got my drink, and ran into an old friend from Iva and talked in the doorway of Snuffy’s.

We walked towards the car and the guy asked where I worked now. I told him "X" Finance.  He said, "Oh yeah, I owe ya’ll a little money. I would have paid it, too, except they sent a little jerk to collect it."

 He asked how much he owed.  I had his card in the car because we were supposed to look him up while we were in Iva.  I asked the assistant manager to hand me the card. He shook as he handed it to me.

The man I was talking to recognized the assistant manager as being the little jerk who had tried to collect from him. I explained that the assistant manager was a city boy and did not know how to act around people. The man handed me the money to pay off his account.  I gave him a receipt.

The deputy came and we served the papers.  Then, the assistant manager and I went to see some different people who had past due accounts.  I knew all of them and where they lived. 

We went to one house and I was invited in to supper.  The assistant manager and I sat at the table sipping tea while they ate and the subject came up about where I was working.

I told them "X" Finance and the man said, “Oh yeah, I owe them some money.  How much do I owe them?”

I looked at his card and told him and he gave me the money. He then realized who the assistant manager was and said that he was the reason he did not pay.  I told the man that the assistant manager just did not understand people from Iva.

We went to two more houses.  Each time the story was the same.  People paid and then recognized the assistant manager as being the little jerk who told them they had to pay or else.

When we got back to the office, the assistant manager told everyone that he could not believe what he had seen.

People were begging me to take their money. We collected more than we went after and I did not have to raise my voice or threaten anyone.  He went on to say he never heard me ask anyone for any money.

People respond when you treat them with respect. When you tell people they have to do something, they will do all they can to fight against you.  The secret to handling people is to remember they are people.  They are not “debtors” or “past dues” or something else impersonal.  They are people just the same as everyone else.

Race doesn’t matter either.  Everyone is a person.  Years ago, some people would harass my father about selling to people of other races on credit.  He said, “In my eyes, everyone is green.” 

When I was a collection manager at several finance companies, I found the best way to let people know you were trying to help is to ask, “What can we do to help you get caught up on your bill?”

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  1. Great story, I agree everyone wants to be treated with respect.

    1. You are right. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. When it doesn't happen, it makes them mad. When rednecks get mad, look out. Have a great week.


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