Show Me The Money

It used to be illegal to show real money on television. Maybe it still is and they just overlook it. The people in Washington were afraid that counterfeiters would freeze frame pictures of the money and somehow figure out how to duplicate it using a rudimentary form of digital reproduction. Game shows handed out fake currency to winners and then the lucky contestants picked up the real cash afterward while signing a Federal Tax form. Contestants were warned by the production assistants before the show to act natural and excited about holding fake twenty dollar bills in their hands while on camera or go home with booby prizes or even nothing.

I don’t know if I would have been a willing enough contestant to act ecstatic over play money. You see, just like in the movie from a few years ago, the expression “Show Me The Money” has been my battle cry. It became ingrained after dealing early on in my self-employment career with stinkers who loved to kite checks. A few times I had to re-present a check to my bank in order to cash it while paying the NSF fee. Yeah, try to collect that back from the con artist, too. I’ve turned down projects where a prospect wanted me to do the work first and if they liked it, they would then pay me even more than I asked for. Yeah, sure.

When you sell a product, American business practice expects the seller to wait up to thirty days for remittance from the time of the invoice The invoice is usually sent immediately upon delivering the product. You factor the cash flow game into the product markup. But, when you are selling your labor, you want to get paid sooner than later. Quite often, I would put in three weeks of demanding work and then invoice. It wasn’t just invoicing for work done the previous day. The customer who would wait a full thirty days from the invoice date to pay me would be on my you-know-what list. The customer expected me to rush to get the project done, putting all my excess energy into it and working strange hours. So, I expected them to pay me sooner rather than later. Why should I wait close to a sixty day cycle from the time I provided service to the client?

I’ve noticed a new take on the cash flow game. Most product sold over the Internet is paid either by credit card or Pay Pal. No one in their right mind is going to accept receipt of a personal check after shipping goods. Everyone wants instant gratification, correct?

One time I selected two items from a website and put it on my credit card. The seller had only one of the items in stock. They processed the credit card for the entire amount of the order and put the one item that was available to ship to me on hold allocated to my order until the other item was back in stock.

I sensed this only because I went to my online banking site which is also linked to my credit card a few days later figuring that the order had to already have been shipped. I saw that the web store billed me incredulously for the entire amount a couple of days earlier but that there was no in-route shipment tracking confirmation. I called them and asked why the items were not shipped as they billed me for it. The customer service lady told me that it was back-ordered and did not know when it would be again in stock. I asked her how they could in good conscience bill me and expect me to pay for something that they did not know if they could ever ship. She had no answer. I canceled the entire order and also called my credit card company to register a complaint.

Like I said- “show me the money” or show me the end product.

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