Tue - Sep 18, 2007 : 01:20 pm
So I made a mistake recently. A mistake that I knew at the time I shouldn’t make, but did anyway in the interests of “friendship”. The mistake was entering into a purchase “arrangement” for a car that I owned outright ( and didn’t have much use for) with a co-worker who is/was down on his luck. You’d think that would be a pretty universally noble thing for someone to do, and there shouldn’t be any issues, but that isn’t how things work.
The whole thing started almost a year ago with the addition of this co-worker to my department. He’s older than I am (much older) and from what I can gather about him has either had nothing but a string of bad luck that stretches across his entire life, or he’s not very good at taking care of himself and making responsible choices. Based on my recent interactions with him I’m starting to side more towards the latter. He has numerous medical problems, most of which stem from a life of smoking and being rough on his body (bar fights, sports, crap like that). Due to these medical problems he spends a great deal amount of time away from work, and then adds to these “sick” days by taking at least half-a-day each off in personal time for one reason or another. This wouldn’t necessarily bother me I guess if:
1) I didn’t have to work harder to cover his end.
2) He didn’t owe now me money.
Several months ago his car broke down and he began to ask everyone he knew if they had a car he could purchase from them and, even though I was reluctant to do so, I tried to play the good Samaritan and offered my unused vehicle to him. We agreed on a price and a (what I thought was reasonable) system of payment at $100 per month with a $300 down payment, and off he went with my car. That was 4 months ago, and to this day I’ve received $200 from him. To say that I’m “displeased” would be a severe misuse of the word.
I guess I somewhat expected this, I should have gone with my gut and told him to take his sob stories elsewhere. But it isn’t really the money doesn’t really bother me; it’s his total lack of respect that unhinges me. I’ve tried not to hound him, really I have. I do not call him daily demanding money. I do not yell and scream and make threats. I simply ask, about once a week, when he thinks he could make another payment, and every request is met with more anger and disrespectful comments from him than I think I’ve ever stomached (from anyone) in my entire life. He complains, he makes excuses, he accuses me of changing the deal on him, he says that I am trying to take advantage of him. To this point I’ve been more shocked and taken back by his behavior than I have been angry, but that time has passed.
I am not an easily angered person. To both my benefit and detriment I am a very even-tempered person, perhaps TOO even-tempered. However yesterday when I calmly expressed concern to this individual about the future of our business dealings and was dismissively told “don’t worry about it” I’d had enough. Instead of causing some kind of dramatic scene in which a verbal (and possibly physical) showdown ensued I simply took my leave of the situation. I don’t like making scenes. I don’t like getting the everyday passerby involved in my affairs. Instead I’ll just wait a day or two to cool off, then I’ll calmly explain to this individual that I expect a reasonably large payment by the end of the month. He is of course entitled to argue and not pay me, but if he doesn't I'll just skip the me getting angry again and move straight on into me getting a lawyer on retainer.