I was on my way out at closing time when I stopped at the front desk to see if the company mail had been delivered.  It seems there is no reliable time when it does arrive from the USPS.

I observed, while waiting for the receptionist to transact a credit card, that one of the customers at the order desk was wearing a parka (nowadays these are called hoodies).  On the back of the parka read a company name that I had penned a collection note to ten days earlier regarding their severely overdue balance.

The note I wrote onto a month-end statement was to the point, stating that while we had been quite patient for several months, if the account was not squared away in three weeks I would turn it over for collection.  The debt wasn’t much, but I knew that the customer had been purchasing from us using cash or credit card for the past several months.  He was working, and in my opinion he ought to pay us for old purchases.  Most contractors and laborers were able to do exterior work during Michigan’s relatively warm winter, 2023-2024.

Now, I wanted to ensure that my note had been received and I figured the best way to find out was to simply ask the young man who I presumed was the owner.

I turned to him and asked if his name was Jason (not really his name, but for this story I need someone to identify with).

Now, as I spoke, I happened to see that he was standing with a lady.  I quickly processed that she was someone who may or may not know that he owes us money.  Worse, she could be his customer.

He replied “yes” that he was Jason.  I said hello with a sincere smile and said that I was Jeff.

He offered that he made a small account payment today along with his credit card purchase, and that his balance will be paid shortly.

But that did not answer my question I had not yet asked him.

However, when we shook hands, completing our brief encounter, I knew immediately that he fully intended to square up, and soon.

Old-school credit managers have mastered their job over the years, and it would be imprudent to not call them craftsmen (and craftswomen) due to how they carry themselves and understand the process.  For years they have collected money owed without confrontation or unnecessary dialogue, saving business relationships, and promoting future prosperity for all.

I also applaud the older “few” who remain vibrant despite big conglomerates buying up their second, third and fourth generation lumberyards, hardware stores and concrete companies where they worked for years.

Wrapping up, I recall a word used years ago that I could never quite grasp.  Perhaps today, I can.  Yes, indeed, I can.

Just like many office professionals who have honed their work and skills over many, many years, I think I too am “seasoned.”