Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Always the Sane Ones

Fernando had an irregular, but competent and timely, customer who came in about once a month to rent movies. No real problems with this person; she returned her movies mostly on time and, if she was late, came in to pay off the late fees in full when the movies were returned.

All this changed one fateful day when she rented two decidedly mediocre movies, Astroboy and The Box. Movies were one day, two days, three days late. Quite peculiar for her. Fernando calls her up, phone rings, and the most obnoxious answering machine recording ever assaulted him. You know people who let their kids do the recording? Now imagine the child is about three, and there are obvious, five-second breaks in the recording when the parent is coaching the young one into squeaking out the message. And the message is a good twenty seconds long. Not fun.

Anyhow, Fernando left a friendly message reminding her she still has the movies and waited a few days. Still nothing. So Fernando called again, endured the horrid answering machine, and left another reminder. Waited a few days. Still nothing.

Now Fernando was in a pickle. Nobody was clamoring left and right for the movies because they were very, very mediocre indeed; but on the other hand Fernando did not want people to start helping themselves to his inventory, and she was not making any effort at all to return his calls. So Fernando called a third time and proceeded to sit on the issue for three more days, hoping the problem will remedy itself as the woman snaps back to sanity.

Of course, that wasn't gonna happen.

So Fernando called her one last time on a Friday afternoon and informed her that unless the movies are in his drop box by the time he gets in on Monday, he would be getting the authorities involved to assist in any future action. Lo and behold, come Sunday evening she finally called back! She apologized most profusely for not getting back sooner and swore up and down she would be in on Monday to take care of things.

Monday rolled around and she finally showed up about 15 minutes before closing, not endearing herself to Fernando in the slightest thereby. By now she has racked up almost $40 in late fees. She put down $20 on the late fee and returned one of the two movies, promising Fernando that the other movie was to be returned the next day and the remaining balance paid off. Fernando agrees to this plan, contingent on her updating her account information.

Those of you with a realistic view on humankind might guess that it did not come to pass. Nor was she in the next day. Or the next. So Fernando called her again, suffering that hellspawned answering machine once again in the process, and left another, friendly, reminder of her promise. The waiting resumed.

Five days passed before Fernando called again. And still no response.

Fernando sighed in lament, shook his head, charged her for the replacement movie, and put her on the ban list.

Those who purport to take shameless advantage of munificence often find themselves losing everything.

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