Bill Collectors Expect So Much

When people sue their deadbeat friends, Judge Judy always says to the plaintiff: "I know she promised to pay you back but you've known her for 20 years. She's never had a job in 20 years. She has a drug problem. She's been in and out of jail 6 times. She's sleeping on someone's sofa. Where'd you think the money was going to come from?" I can relate-- to couch girl. Maybe I should have Judge Judy talk to Time Warner Cable (and Verizon, and the electric company, and the bank, and MasterCard) for me. I mean, except for the drugs, the jail and that I've always had a job and a bed... That's me in a nutshell...really.

Time Warner and Verizon et al are all old friends of mine. We go way back. Are you kidding? I've been getting their final notices since the eighties. They know me. Every month like clockwork, I call them pleading for an extension on my cut-off date. I start the negotiating high with an offer of "2018". They start low with an offer of "Tuesday". Ten minutes later, when the haggling is over, we've settled on "Tuesday". Well, I try. They always reject my suggestion that they take a play from the furniture chain's marketing playbook: "No payments until 2018".

The cable company and I are so close, it calls me more than my sister and sister-in-law combined. Of course I never pick up the phone so they just leave a polite message: "There's been a change in your status." I might actually react more swiftly to an impolite message: "Yo Bitch, we're about to cut your ass off. Think about THAT when you got NO housewives from NO-where!" And anyway... That polite message is a lie. What change in my status? I owed them two months ago. I owed last month. I owe this month. Where's the change? They call non-stop from the morning until 8 O'clock at night. Last night when the phone rang and the caller ID came up on the cable TV (nice feature they have) my husband was really irritated: "Why are they calling us now? It's the cable company. They can see we're watching football. They couldn't wait for us to ignore them at halftime?"

I don't know why they stress out anyway. I pay them every month. It may not be exactly the day or amount they're hoping for. Maybe they need to lower their expectations.

MasterCard checks in on me pretty often too. We had a love affair for 10 years. Then one month, I misread the minimum payment due as $50 instead of $58 dollars. They lovingly told me to pay the entire $8000 balance or pack up my shit and get out. I chose the latter. So now their collections people call me too. My husband and I have made their calls into a game. See, there's always a beat in the automated message where somebody inserts your name. When we see it's them calling, we turn up the speaker volume, crowd around the answering machine, and take turns pointing to my face every time they say my name: This message is for: "Lori---Shandle---Fox". If you are not "Lori---Shandle---Fox" please hang up. By not hanging up you are confirming that you are "Lori---Shandle---Fox". We'd turn it into a drinking game but they call pretty often. We'd both be face down on the kitchen floor by day's end.

So if anyone reading this is one of my debtors and considering taking some sort of action, all I can say is: I look forward to hearing from your collection agency. One of our representatives will get to them shortly. They are currently number 26 on the queue.