Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another former friend

A friend of mine was having a play put on in New York, and a bunch of local citizens was chartering a bus so they could attend en masse.

I invited Linda to join me on a theater trip to the big city. This one would be great for both of us, because the question of who would drive would not arise. Because Linda wouldn't drive in New York. Her car was too new. It would be acceptable if my old Taurus were completely demolished by rabid New York drivers, but her Lincoln was too valuable.

Anyway she agreed to go, and I agreed to order and pay for the tickets. The price was something like $40, $50, or $60 per ticket, I don't remember.

So we went, and a good time was had by all. As I drove her home from the bus stop, I asked her to reimburse me. She said she didn't have the cash on her. I said I would take a check. She didn't have her checkbook either.

What could I do? The amount was more than I wanted to lose, but small enough so I would feel like I was hassling her if I kept reminding her that she owed me. Pestering people for small sums put the onus on me. Don't you feel defensive when you remind people of trivial amounts of money they owe you? You feel like the guilty party, somehow.

All this went through my mind as I approached her house, a big old Victorian which had been restored and refurbished within an inch of its life and was now worth millions. I knew that if I didn't do something, that money was going to slip out of my life for good.

So I told her I would go into the house with her and wait while she wrote a check.
In her dining room, which sported a priceless Oriental rug and a lovingly restored dining room table, she retrieved her checkbook and managed to write out a check in a most annoyed, "why are you so petty?" manner.

The next I heard of her, she sent me an invitation to her daughter's wedding shower. Since I knew neither the daughter nor her fiance--and was not invited to the wedding anyway--I decided I couldn't afford a friendship with Linda. She was too expensive a date.


Two Dogs said...

Thanks for saying that for the rest of us.

Just so you know, I have graduated from the trying to get money back from "friends" mode to the most more frustrating trying to money out of clients mode. It's the same thing, but with one of the parties ignoring the contract that they signed.


miriam said...

I can relate to that. One of my friends has her own small business, and her clients are very slow to pay.

Even large companies: "The voucher is on the desk of our CFO, and we will pay you when he signs off on it.

Meanwhile, she has to pay the people she hires.

Two Dogs said...

Luckily I don't have to deal with those types of situations, but I have gotten to the point of telling my clients, that are building million dollar homes, that they have to pay me before they get the paper.

It is not to the point of the Mexican Switch yet, but pretty darn close. Literally.

Steve B said...

My wife has had similar experiences with her "friends." Almost always the one with a lot of money. Maybe they figure because they don't care about money, you don't either.

She finally quit buying things for people without money up front. Or she does it, and just writes it off as a "gift."