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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2002
It is the very reason for getting yourself a business in the first place.

After the wrasslin' match with whatever form of government you have in your locale which choses a bone to gnaw on semi-annually, after a similar bout with the federales over how much they will siphon from your pocket, and after dealing with customer/vendor/shill artists of every sort, you finally get to do what your talent and interest allows.

Make money.

Trust me on this, it is the very essence and purpose of having a business. Hee hawing with the customer and jollying the vendor do not rate.

You must collect the fee, my children.

There is, of course, an entire sub-culture devoted toward the avoidance of this transaction. They have set up boundaries and rules toward collecting the money due to you. Rules that are set and modified at whim by those who owe. For the edification of those not familiar with these unsung and largely illegal rules, let me pontificate. The Reasons for not Paying You:

1. "We can't pay you because we haven't been paid ourselves." (why hire us in the first place if you can't afford it? what if you never get paid by the first party? does it strike a chord with you that all my guys have been paid for this job, as well as all my suppliers?)

2. "The owner's weren't happy with..." (fill in whatever reason strikes your fancy here, this is an off-the-cuff reply that buys you a day with me)

3. "We never received your invoice." (oh really? Your e-mail, fax and postal service all chose last week to go completely out of service? because that's the 3 methods I always send it by, usually all 3 at the same time)

It is fitting, in the world of games that we call business, that you have a bad cop partner to tag along and watch all of this in a bemused sort of way. Enter Corporate Partner Stu.

Outfoxed: "Fellini Brothers is jerking us around on paying for that job."
Stu: "Oh yes? Is it time for Guido to surface?"
OF: "Might as well. I'm not getting anywhere with 'em."
Stu/Guido: "Heh. Gimmee the phone and get outta the way..."

It is indeed one of his chief delights in life. The normally placid Stu clears his throat and practices his best Italianese accent for a moment Bunches his shoulders and glares a bit. Dials the number.

Stu/Guido: "Lemmee talk to da bookeep."
Bookeeper of Fellini: "Yes? Hello?
SG: "I'm coming over in an hour for my check."
BK: "I'm sorry sir we haven't been paid for that job..."
SG: "Makes no diff ta me. And don't be going ta lunch neither."
BK: "Uh...."

It is remarkable how often he collects based on this premise. Being a large man with a bushy mustache certainly does not hurt. The black sunglasses are good. I've often thought that the Al Pacino bit was a touch overdone but it seems to be effective for him.

And how many times I have sat in the truck outside, waiting his emergence from such a 'pickup'. Invariable routine he has.

OF: "So how'd it go?"
Stu: (brandishing check) "About like always. She caved."
OF: "Did you see anybody else in there? Say, the president?"
Stu: "Why the hell would I want to see him? He's the one been putting us off for a month, right?"

I bow to the superior and intimidating logic of Guido. I notice that he has taken to having a forbidding object stuffed under his jacket in the shape of a 45 caliber.

Turned out to be a bananna, but I'll never tell.

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