A semi-regular customer of Fernando's rents a couple of movies, Up and A Serious Man. The individual in question had always been...flaky. Not very timely about getting movies back, at all, though the late fees were paid, eventually. Fernando kept a watchful eye open and made reminder calls for tardy films far sooner and more regularly than he did other customers.
Only this time when the movies went unreturned, the phone number provided in Fernando's records was no longer in service. Bollocks.
Fortunately, Fernando has an internet connection and generally lax privacy standards are coupled with peoples' obsessive need to plaster their personal information all over cyberspace, so it was an easy-pants matter of hunting down the individual's updated information. Phone calls were made and Fernando was assured the films would be returned.
Of course, they were not, despite follow-up calls having been made. But Fernando had extra copies of both films and he does not like to call up the authorities over every little infraction because, well, they are not a collections agency, so after about a week and a half he just charged her for the replacements, added that to the already-sizable pile of late fees, and called it a day. The account was placed on the no-rent-until-paid-off list and life continued apace.
About two weeks later, the lady comes in and tries to rent a couple of movies.
“I'm sorry,” says Fernando, “I won't rent to you until you pay off all your late fees.”
“Oh, ok,” she says. “How much?”
Fernando shrugs. “You still had late fees from the time before, then late fees from this, and then I just charged you for the replacements of the movies you failed to return last time. $108 is reasonable, all things considered, since I stopped the late fees before tacking on $40 to replace the movies.”
“Why $40? That doesn't seem fair. You sell the movies for $8 when you're done with them.”
“That would be correct. However, I was not done with either of them, and now need to drop money on replacement copies because other people want to rent them. It should really be $28 a pop, based on your true statement that I would otherwise have made an additional $8 through their eventual resale.”
“Well, how about I just pay for the movies and you let me rent?”
Fernando shakes his head. “Sorry, but no. Setting aside the $40 on those, there's still the matter of $68 in late fees.”
“B-but I've always been a good customer and we've paid them off!”
“$68...sorry, $108, is a far cry from $20-ish. Frankly, it's not a sign of a good customer to go for two weeks without returning a pair of movies and to not have made at least a token effort to call me letting me know what the deal is and to perhaps nip this problem in the bud. Furthermore, I had to track you down and do all the legwork in opening a dialogue with you in the first place because your phone number was changed at some point between the previous time you rented here and now. This is my property we're talking about, and the people to whom I lease it have managed to gain some degree of trust with me about its handling and return. You've broken that trust for the moment, and from where I sit the way to regain it is to pay off the fees you're accrued as a gesture of good faith. I am not a totally naïve idiot.”
She left in a huff and has not returned since. However, there is a Part II to this story....