Could somebody give me a hand? Just for an instant, while I climb up on my soapbox? I'm not as surefooted as a goat. But I really must get up on that soapbox.
There's a commercial that has gotten stuck in my craw. Perhaps you've seen it, if you watch a lot of reality television, or Malcolm in the Middle reruns on FX between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time. There's a woman sitting on a couch. She answers her phone, and becomes agitated. "I told you we can't pay. My husband lost his job. Stop calling me!" That's not verbatim. But that's the gist of it.
Here's what bothers me. That woman, let's call her Debty, has the unmitigated gall to castigate the collection agency (or creditor) for trying to collect money that she owes them. She does not say that they are mistaken, or that they have the wrong phone number, or that she put the check in the mail. Debty flat-out states that she can't pay. Like that makes everything hunky-dory.
What does Debty expect? That her creditor will forgive her loan? "Oh, that changes everything. Sorry, Debty. Since you can't pay, we will leave you alone. Go ahead and keep that car and big-screen television and 4000-square-foot house. We'll get our money from somebody else. I'm sure they will be happy to cover your payments for you. It's not your fault that you can't pay us. We expect that when we loan money. Actually, we look upon it more as a gift. You deserve to have the same things as people who, crazy as this may sound, pay for their stuff. Forgive us, Debty, for disturbing you. Let us know if we can help you in any way. Take care."
Come on. The loaner or collector made a phone call in an effort to recoup their money from the borrower. It's not like a goon showed up on Debty's doorstep and offered to snip off her pinky finger with a bolt cutter if she didn't count out the full amount in crisp one-hundred-dollar bills. Debty's husband is not going to be whisked off in the dead of night to become the cellie of Richard Hatch. It's a phone call. Lose the attitude, Debty.
This process doesn't take shape overnight. Several months of nonpayment must occur before it gets to this point. I'm guessing that for the level of ire exhibited by Debty, she's been receiving calls for a while. Surely, Debty could have contacted her creditors before things went this far, and set up a reduced payment plan, or made arrangements to give back the unpaid items. Surely.
And while we're holding Debty's feet over the coals, let's comment on her slacking, layabout ways. What's she doing on the couch? Couldn't she be out looking for work? Cutting coupons? Reading Help-Wanted ads? Babysitting? Crocheting beer-can hats?
Debty does not look like she's going to be moving into a cardboard box anytime soon. She appears to live a comfortable life. Before she hops up on her very own soapbox and declares that the world owes her not only free stuff, but peace-of-mind from phone calls by people wanting back the money they loaned her, let's tone down Commercial Debty's attitude. Make her a more sympathetic figure. Then hawk the credit-counseling service.
And while I'm up here on the summit of Mount Soapbox, I have a message for Geico. Bring back the Namby-Pamby Jackwagon commercials. People living under rocks are poor substitutes. Furthermore, the three tangoers, and Honest Abe insulting Mary Todd, just don't cut it. Even the woodchucking woodchucks would be better.