Tuesday, August 08, 2006

no mercy

Being a secret agent has its ups and downs.

In addition to my current assignment from the CEO, I have inadvertantly stumbled into an advanced level graduate program titled poverty immersion/seclusion study (piss).

Piss is basically a hands-on course on what it's like to truly be in typical yet various poverty situations.

Piss is not working with the poor. Piss is not being with the poor.

Piss is just being poor.

Piss poor.

Once upon a time I was on the other side of that proverbial counter doling out help, food, assistence, love, even jesus to poor people.

For 2 years I have been on the poor people's side of the counter.

Let me tell you...this can kind of suck. Here was my most recent experience and lesson:

Last month we finally hit a low place where we could not pay a bill - our mortgage. The money was not there. It was a lousy feeling.

Having worked with poor people in the past, I noticed that they tend to run and hide from situations like late bills and debt collectors and such. I had always counseled them to face the music. Contact your debtor. Explain your situation. Give them a plan. And do not run.

Now I know why they run.

My mortgage came due on the 1st. It was officially late on the 16th. So on the 16th I called them. I engaged them. I showed them I was not an irresponsible chicken and was not running from them. I was prepared to explain that I was, you know, a secret agent (OK, missionary) with a sporadic income and had only around $100 to my name so I'll send $100 and send the rest when the CEO provides. I needed at least $500 more.

Bingo! My engage tactic worked. The lady on the phone was real nice and volunteered to drop the late fee! Woo-hoo. I hadn't asked for that. But, as far as my $100 partial payment goes...I had to work that out with the collections dept. Fine. So she transfered me.

Big mistake.

Collections department people are not human. Those jack asses were giving me hell for offering to only send a $100. They couldn't understand that I was calling them...and offering some money as opposed to absolutely nothing. They even threatened to send it back if I only sent a partial payment instead of the full amount. They had no mercy.

Well good. That'll be $100 more dollars I'll have in my pocket as opposed to nothing.

The whole ordeal was slightly belittling, but rolled off my back.

Being piss poor has showed me why the poor, who are already beaten upon with life's difficulties, would run from something like this.

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