Credit guru Thea Dudley has spent more than 30 years in LBM credit management. Now she's here to answer your credit and collections questions. Got a question for her mailbag? Contact Thea at [email protected]

Dear Readers,

Over the years, I have received a number of questions that are easily answered with a quick one-liner. I have an entire folder on my computer that holds observations from you that are just hilarious, but do not fall into the "question-to-be answered" category.

Not wanting anyone to be left out, and not feeling quite right about bogarting your witticisms, I have put together an assortment of ramblings, questions, comments, and the occasional rant (my personal favorite vehicle of expression) for your enjoyment. Grab a fresh cup of coffee, shut your door, take a satisfying sip of that brew, and relish in the knowledge that you are not along in your quest for credit sanity.

  1. How many times do I have to explain the difference between a preliminary lein notice and an actual lein? Answer: Until you retire.
  2. How many millionaires are there in my industry? Answer: Countless, until they start buying from you and then sh** gets real.
  3. How many times can I argue with a sales rep about the exact same customer's credit line? Answer: INFINITY.
  4. Does everyone in my company think they can do my job better than me? Answer: Yes, they do, but no one will put on the ruby slippers.
  5. Can you send me your internal sarcastic list of the column "how to say NO nicely?" It sounds like it would be way more fun than the one that was published. Answer: I will provide the list, you provide the beer, and we'll meet in the middle.
  6. Why do customers think dropping a bankruptcy threat into a conversation will solve anything? Answer: Because they can. Some days, customers are the Monday of your life.
  7. Can you call my boss? Answer: Sure, what would you like me to call him about? Just to be clear: I am not the type of person you put on speakerphone.
  8. Is everyone who buys building materials a good guy to my sales rep? Answer: So many good guys, so few good payers.
  9. Why does it seem like every customer—or least my sales rep thinks— is offended by the suggestion of using joint checks or preliminary lien notices? Answer: How offended will they be when you serve them a lawsuit IF something goes wrong and they can't pay?
  10. How stupid do people (customers and co-workers) think I am? Answer: They forget who you are, so some days you just have to put on the hat, call the flying monkeys, and remind them who they are dealing with.
  11. Reader tip: Thea, sometimes I like to just stare, silently, at the sales rep until the comfort level reaches maximum weirdness and they awkwardly back out of my office. Personally, I though that was brilliant and can vouch for the effectiveness of this technique. Thanks, dear Reader, you Credit Overlord T-shirt is on its way.
  12. Reader rant: "I just sat through the worst sorry a** blankety, blank blank excuse for a reason not to pay me. THEN the son of a blank had the nerve to complain to our sales rep that I was no sympathy and he was offended by my lack of compassion, and because of that, he was not going to purchase with us anymore! Like it was an option. Sorry for the language, didn't think you would mind." Dear Reader — for the record, I am completely not offended and found your rant to be of world-class caliber.
  13. Another fabulous addition to the list of the "The 7 D's of Credit" has been added: Declared (as in bankrupt).

There you have it. A small break in your day. A little something to help you make it through your week. It's a good day to be in credit my friend. Let the holidays begin.