If you don’t allow people to retain their pride when dealing with them especially when it’s dealing with chasing slow payments – they will take their own steps to do so. This is a true story.
Many years ago, the Branch Manager of a Finance Company in Mackay, Queensland, had to repossess a washing machine from an overweight, 50 year old mother of five who lived on the top floor of a three storey block of units. Now, if you’ve ever lived in a block of flats you know that everyone knows everyone else’s business – or would certainly like to.
Mackay, sub-tropical, mid-January, high humidity, extremely hot.
Manager, a white, short-sleeved shirt, sweating profusely, an unpleasant task to be done.
Assistant Manager, same attire, equally hot.
They arrived at the units, climbed the six sets of steps to get to the top and knocked on the door. Neighbours peeking. “Come in. Come in“, she said. After the door was closed she burst into tears – couldn’t live without the machine – 5 children – dirty clothes, etc, etc. (Repossessions are NOT fun.) The Manager had no choice, many repayment arrangements had been made but broken and his supervisor had instructed him to take the machine if she didn’t/couldn’t pay.
So, lifting the heavy machine, getting grease on their hands and clean clothes, the Manager and Assistant Manager carefully negotiated the machine down the six flights of steps. Neighbours still peeking. With their now-wet shirts clinging to their bodies they eventually heaved the machine onto the utility and shut the side-flap and started to get into the vehicle to drive away. At that precise moment, as the Manager’s left foot was in the vehicle, his right still on the concrete, he heard the woman’s voice from above.
With a sidelong glance at her nosy neighbours she shouted,
… until it’s fixed properly“.
She had retained her pride.