Creditors and the Scheme of Things

Welcome to 2009. I am in debt and out of work, optimistic and yet oppressed by over 30 phone calls a day from creditors screaming for money – they should be thankful, it’s people like me who keep them in a job – and yet, all things are right with the world. Ironic, isn’t it?

I don’t talk to my creditors a whole lot, gets kind of repetitive, but I wanted to share some of the humor I’ve found it in for those of you also suffering and needing a lift. There is a script and the script goes as follows:
After they dupe you by asking casually for you by first name only, and then asking for you the way your mother used to when you were in serious trouble, they make the brash assumption that by telling you you’ll be making a payment today that it’ll magically happen. After you stupefy them by saying ‘No’ in a flat tone of voice, they pause and then turn to the script, asking the following questions, usually in predicable order:
Are you receiving any unemployment? As if the pennies you get in Nevada for the maximum benefit will cover your rent, car, and food, plus 7 seven credit cards (according to one TV ad, we all have 8).
Can you borrow from your 401K or savings account? I personally have a problem with endangering my retirement to pay credit cards in times of crisis.
Can you borrow from family or friends? If you read my blog around Christmas you know there isn’t a snowballs’ chance in hell that my folks would loan me money. Aside from that, these companies don’t realize that you like your family and friends and care if they hate you were you to owe them money. With creditors you don’t.
Can you defer a car or home loan payment? This one really kills me. This insinuates that a credit card payment is more important that having a roof over your head or wheels to dash to that interview when the call comes. I was asked this when the payment was $7.
Can you give us your banking information for a payment scheduled to post [sometime weeks from now] and you can call back if you still don’t have any money? This one actually left me speechless for two seconds before I asked the lady if that was the same as writing a check knowing it wouldn’t clear and hence illegal. It’s a policy at our house that you NEVER give anyone you owe money any information from your bank.

So, now that you know what they’re going to ask you can head them off at the pass and drastically shorten the conversation by simply declining all their questions in a single breath before they even ask. It doesn’t work every time – I had a lady today challenge me with ‘who’s paying your bills if you’ve been unemployed for three months?’ The short answer is no one. Duh. That’s why you’re calling me. Repeatedly. Please note: this will not stop the phone calls. I don’t have any magic method for that unfortunately. I’m hoping eventually the auto dialer will get tired or they’ll just send it to collections and it can sit there until I’m working again.

The first key in all this is to remember, acknowledge, and enjoy things like the sky still being a fabulous blue, even if it’s accompanied by uncharacteristic weather for this time of year which is probably environmentally bad, that the sun still rises, the world still turns, and people still love you, no matter how much money you owe some asshole who can’t take no for an answer without losing his job. It’s all relative. And unimportant in the scheme of things. So you don’t buy things on credit for a while, you don’t answer calls from strange numbers, you ignore completely the nasty gram mail that, and you get on with your life, knowing that at some point when you’re ready you will take care of things. I know for a fact that if left with no other options (meaning no one to talk to and no one answering the mail) creditors will turn things over to collections and whatever you owe will sit there, not bothering anyone, until you want something you can’t afford on your own – in my case, 6 years without a peep.

The other key is don’t be bullied and don’t cave. I haven’t got it, no matter how small, because the $7 they’re asking for is what I have to survive on for the next 5-7 days and has to cover food, gas, any necessity I run out of, and all of the unexpectedness that happens in life on a regular basis. I’m down to paying the bear essentuals – and let me elaborate here because my version and yours may differ greatly. I’m talking food, gas, insurance so my license doesn’t get suspended, meds, phone so I can get potential job offer calls, internet so I can search for those jobs, post this amazing blog, and keep Honey’s website up (so cable), and the website itself to keep Honey’s photography on a roll. After that it’s whatever I can do, which right now doesn’t include the car, the boat, or rent – thank God I live with my mother in-law and there’s no chance of getting evicted. It’s all material, not coming with me when I die, and not stuff I planned on keeping until then anyway. Let it go with grace and be thankful you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

We’re currently planning the biggest trip of our lives, in the midst of economic crisis, no income, and an assumption that we’ll eventually lose the car. The insanity of it is what makes sense. Go with me on this – now is the best time to do something unexpected, unplanned, and absolutely nuts. At no other time would you (or at least anyone I know besides us) willingly give up comfort and security to go do something amazing, so now, when you don’t have a choice about the comfort and security, is the perfect time to do it. Accept that you may lose some things. Also accept they weren’t meant to be yours. And do something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.


TLNeasley said...

This stuff is all too familiar! Hang in there guys!

Anonymous said...


Just sneaked over to your blog for a peek after you commented on mine.

Good to see someone else is desperate to travel and going to despite sitting in front of a large bowl of Credit Crunch (not the exciting cereal we all imagined).

Hopefully you'll be on the road sooner than you think. And as for me hopefully London will spin me a few travel-style tales to blog while I save for my next trip (or at least find a job to start that saving).

Happy travels.

Purl Interrupted x