People who are unable to understand the concept of my having no money—not on credit cards, not in a secret Swiss bank account or any other account, not on an overdraft, not in a drawer of my desk and not stuck up my arsehole—nor any hope of getting any in the immediate future.
A typical conversation might go like this:
Call-centre monkey: "Do you know that you haven't paid such and such a bill, sir?"
Me: "Yes. This is because I am effectively self-employed and I haven't been able to pay myself. I am afraid that I don't have any money right now, but I will pay it as soon as I do have."
Call-centre monkey: "Can you make a payment by Debit Card today?"
Me: "No. I have told you, I don't have any money."
Call-centre monkey: "Do you have a Credit Card, or can you transfer money from another account, sir?"
Me: [Gritting teeth because I know it's not their fault] "No. I don't have any money."
Call-centre monkey: "Shall I call back for a payment tomorrow, sir?"
Me: "You can if you like, but it will be pointless because I don't have any money."
Call-centre monkey: "You do realise that if you don't pay tomorrow, a £35 late payment fee will be charged to your account?"
Me: [Doubled over with hunger cramps having eaten nothing but one Gregg's steak bake in five days] "Yes, I do, but there is nothing that I can do about it because I don't have any money."
Call-centre monkey: "Do you know when you will be able to make a payment, sir?"
Me: "Well, not until one of my clients pays me, which should hopefully be in the next week or so."
Call-centre monkey: "Will you be able to pay next Tuesday, sir?"
Me: "Well, it's unlikely since no one's due to pay me until next Wednesday, and it can take up to 6 days* for the cheque to clear, or three days for BACS. And that's if they pay on time. Look, can I call you when I can make a payment?"
Call-centre monkey: "Do you know when that'll be, sir?"
Me: "Not exactly, but hopefully before the end of the month."
Call-centre monkey: "I'll make a note on the account, sir."
Me: "Thank you. Have a good day."
Freelancer: "So, will we get paid tomorrow?"
Me: "No. You heard me, I don't have any money."
Freelancer: "Well, do you know when we'll get paid?"
Me: "You heard me; when someone pays us."
Freelancer: "Well, I'm running out of money."
Me: "Well, you've been paid precisely four times more than me in the last two months so, really, I can sympathise."
Freelancer: "Right. So do you know when are we going to get paid?"
[Reaches for gun, unsure whether to shoot freelancer or self...]
Why is this concept of no money so difficult for people to understand?
The irony is, of course, is that if I had some credit, then I would be able to pay my bills on time. However, unfortunately, I can't get any credit because I can't pay my bills on time...
* Up to six working days for a cheque to clear? What the fuck? To add insult to injury, I happen to know that my bank routinely take 90 days to pay their suppliers. Who often bank with that same bank! And yet the bank's payment still takes 3 days to clear into an account in that bank. Or six days if it is a cheque...
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