“Why are you sending me threatening letters?”
One might imagine I was talking to a stalker, an ex-girlfriend or maybe even just some crazy stranger. Ron Wolfe and Associates may count as crazy strangers, but being involved in business with them makes them a little more than strangers. It makes them people that I know are out to get me. “Threatening letters? What do you mean, exactly? Spare no details, then. Pay or quit type letters, ma’am. We don’t really owe you anything.”
Yet in the past week, my apartment has received two letters, one saying simply that between the five of us, we owe Mr. Wolfe & Co. about $700. The next wasn’t quite as polite. Were this an isolated incident, it probably would be all right. However, this isn’t the first time they’ve accused Mr. Anthony & Co., my fellow renters and me, of delinquent payments that were not only not delinquent, but not due at all.
“You’ll have to talk to accounting about that. They’ve just stepped out for a while.” They were awfully good at not being there whenever someone needs to chat about their accounting errors. If they put a quarter of the effort they put into avoiding me into their math, these things probably wouldn’t happen.
“Okay.” The hunt begins.
This time, a new strategy was called for. “Can I leave them a note?” The expression on the receptionist’s face told me that this was a new one.
“Yeah. No problem.” She offered a legal pad and a pen my way. I set to work immediately, writing nice and big so they wouldn’t have any problems. You know, second-grader-learning-how-to-write style, each letter taking up two lines of normally spaced paper. There’s no way they couldn’t read that.
But one can never overestimate the treachery of accountants who can’t seem to keep their numbers straight. If you go to college to earn a degree in something, one would expect that you’d have a pretty good handle on what it is you’re doing. Most of the time accounting positions require a bachelor’s at least. High school grads probably cost less, though. Slumlords cut costs wherever they can; maybe this is just one of those things they fudged a bit.
Or maybe accountants who can’t keep their numbers straight, provided they’re crooked in Se–or Wolfe’s favor, make him more money than those who keep less confusing books. This isn’t an accusation, mind you, I certainly wouldn’t put it past anyone in that office to be a little confused. They all tend to have a look of frustration, confusion or lust on their faces when I enter the office.
They also can’t be blamed for the lusty looks with those receptionists they’ve got.
But I digress. Last time this happened, right after I moved in early this autumn, all it took was tracking down those wacky money-counters and gathering together a few rental payment receipts. That’s probably the moral of this story: Don’t trust your local slumlord’s number crunchers. Keep all those receipts they give you when you pay your rent and never believe them when they say you owe them more money than usual.
Sometimes all it takes with these chimps is a good stern talking-to. We could give them the benefit of the doubt and just assume that they’re lazy and a bit slow. The other option is that they’re corrupt, money-hungry little devils that are out to get you at every turn. True, the jury’s still out on that one.
Now it’s time to give the ol’ accountants a call and make sure they’re not gonna empty my bank account or do anything hasty.
“Hey, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. Y’all seem to think that rent that we don’t owe is late. And I’ve got this hole in the ceiling above my shower that’s been there for upwards of a week now. Which I presume the people who were sent over here to fix the leak made.”
“I’m sorry, all I can do is take a message about the hole. There aren’t any accountants here right now.”
Drugstore Cowboy: 0
Cory Anthony is the Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor, and is hoping that Not-Lone Wolfe won’t get the pack together and hunt him down.