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

Dear readers,

HOORAY! We made it through another year of credit, collections, and sales rep humor. Usually about this time, I roll out the best of the year's excuses for non-payment as shared by many of you over the past year. This year, I thought I would do something a little different, to shake up the status quo, and share something a little personal. A credit manager cohort gave me the best gift ever for a credit manager and, in the spirit of the season, I am sharing it with all of you.

We were at a conference talking all things credit, when she pulled out this wicker basket and said "Here, when your day goes to hell, you have a hand-basket - enjoy." The basket had a small note tied to it with a beautiful red ribbon. The note said "There is no crying in credit. Just an unusually large number of $50.00 mommy words." I opened the basket and it was full of small ribbon-tied notes, all sharing wisdom to help get me through my credit managing day.

Depending on the kind of day I am having and where I happen to be, I often dig into that box, sip my coffee (or whatever, you really can't tell what's in a coffee cup), and select various notes of wisdom. Sit back, sip your brew, and enjoy a few snippets to ponder:

  1. If you want to give a man credit, put it in writing. If you want to give him hell, pick up the phone.
  2. Friends (credit managers) don't let friends (other credit managers) have bad credit customers.
  3. My tolerance for idiots is extremely low. I sued to have some immunity built up, but obviously there is a new strain out there.
  4. Square peg - round hole. Some days you just need a bigger hammer.
  5. Sometimes the best part of my job is that my chair swivels.
  6. Maybe if we tell people the brain is an app they'll start using.
  7. Trust your instincts...simple as that!
  8. Bad decisions (in life, not in credit)make for great stories. Face it, no good story starts with "I was eating a salad when..."
  9. Just rub some dirt on it.
  10. Revenge sounds so mean. That's why I prefer to call it "returning the favor."
  11. The creditor hath a better memory than the debtor...
  12. What is the difference between "fat chance" and "slim to none?"
  13. Everything is funny as long as it is not happening to you.
  14. No witnesses, never happened.
  15. I like rumors. I find out so much MORE about me that I didn't even know!
  16. Stress does not go with my outfit or my shoes.
  17. All you have to do is run faster than your slowest sales rep.
  18. Yes, sales rep, your cry baby, whiny-a** opinion would be what?
  19. I don't take anything personally, I am a kick-a** credit manager.
  20. My mom used to say "Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."
  21. Don't even mistake silence for ignorance.
  22. Ever look at one of your sales reps and think "How has no one hit you with a shovel?"
  23. If you can't convince them, confuse the crap out of them.
  24. Never pet the kitty backwards. Seriously...don't. It will not end well. Seriously, it won't.
  25. Dear credit life, when I said "Can this day get any worse" it was a rhetorical question, not a challenge.
  26. If only "you dumba**" was an appropriate way to end an email. Damn you, Human Resources!
  27. Behind every great sales rep is a credit manager rolling her eyes.
  28. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer.
  29. You wanna play? You gotta pay!
  30. Sales and profit are built with good-paying customers, not "good guys."
  31. The question isn't "who's gonna let me," it's "who's gonna stop me?"

There you have it. Nothing says "true meaning of Christmas" like a list that rings true to you world, gives you hope, or the ability to commiserate with others in your shoes. Those are a few of my favorites (of the notes that are printable in a family friendly format) from a basket of over 200. So, when this list loses it's luster for you and you need a little more, hit me up. I will dig another gem from the magic basket to help you pull through. I hope they make you smile as much as they do for me. If nothing else, sitting quietly at your desk with a bizarre smile on your face freaks people out and keeps them moving past you without stopping. Merry Christmas, y'all!