The “Prophet” Margin and its Mental Design
Some time ago, I was sitting in the manager’s office with a client, listening to the different excuses why he was delinquent and why he couldn’t pay his ‘weekly’ loan on time.
His claims of business overheads killing him were, to me, a bit unfounded.
When he and I first met, we went through all that and his profit margin was on the positive side, yet his action of not paying was overwhelming. I tried every trick I could to get him to pay the heavy arrears he had, nothing worked.
That particularly morning, like a poker game, he exposed his hand and I couldn’t help but be guided by it. It was a bit dishonest but I couldn’t resist using it against him.
After a lengthy discussion, the manager got up from his desk and left the office for a bit and I was left alone with him. He sat there ranting and carrying on how the business was burdensome and no matter what he tried, he kept failing. I was on my computer running reports and ignoring him for the most part when he tipped his hand.
“Mi nuh know wah else fi du boss, fah it look like sey sumady a hol mi dung nuh mattah wah mi try.”
I looked at him with a seriousness and quietly said, “Close the door.” He did just that. I then spoke to him with a calmness and sincerity that took him by surprise. I said, “Nutten nuh du yu, a salt yu salt, is a bath yu want.”
“But mi a tell yu sey is like dem du mi sup’n bossy, fah a nuh now mi a struggle.”
I quickly checked his total arrears and saw that he was outstanding a little over $29,000 for a trying man. So I then said, “Yu si dah ring yah? It loaded! Mi nuh go no weh widout it.” I showed him the ring my mother gave me with the shape of a man on the cross and got his attention.
“Fi real? God know sey mi wudda love get a prapah link right now fah mi nuh have nutten more fi lose.”
Based on his eagerness, I went in for the kill and told him that I was going to take him to the “PROPHET” and he needs to carry a large bottle of Benjamin’s olive oil, two long rooster feathers, a dozen camphor balls and $30,000. He kept shaking his head affirmatively and responded immediately.
“Suh by wen mi fi get dat? Fah mi wah move in pon it fass enuh bossy. Mi cyah mek di chrimus come ketch mi tan suh.”
I noticed that he was so involved, that he didn’t even question the amount it would cost. I wrote my other number on a piece of paper and gave him. Just then the manager came in and we discussed his arrears a little more, with him asking for two weeks to clear it all. He left the office and the manager and I convened our meeting.
About three days after, during the night, my phone rang from a strange number and I answered. It was the client wanting to know how soon he and I can check the “PROPHET” because he had the olive oil; the rooster feathers; the camphor balls and the $30,000, cash. I wanted to laugh out so badly, I had to mute the phone for a moment….and I did laugh!
I made an arrangement to meet him in Mandeville where he said that he’ll gas me up and thing. Early as bird, I picked him up and drove around a bit, took the package from him and counted the cash. $35,000!!!! I stopped for a short while a told him that I’d be right back. He sat in the car patiently while I went. I was about to make his day!
I came back quickly and told him that I wanted to stop by the office and let the manager know I was going out of parish for a little while. I invited him in and we sat there a bit, then I gave him a bank receipt for $35,000, his feathers, olive oil and camphor balls then told him thanks for clearing his arrears and prepaying his account. He was shocked and the manager was impressed with my efforts.
The client, a black man became red and flustered instantly but could not say a word. He left shortly and I sat with the manager and told him about the client’s ordeal. He laughed so hard, I had to get him a glass of water. When I left his office, he was still crying.
Later that night I saw the phone ringing and it was the client’s number. I ignored it and let it go to voicemail. When I listened to the recording, the curse words were long and colourful with threats of life and death. He told me that I’ll soon get what’s coming. I calmly texted him, in response, “Sir, I may have tricked you into paying your loan but my ring is still loaded and I never miss my bath.”
It has been about a month now and I haven’t heard from him but he is now paying on time. Clearly his “profit” margin has moved upwards since his contribution to the “prophet” margin.
Oakley Lyle is an author and poet – Visit his Facebook Page HERE
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