Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I sat at the desk looking out the large glass windows toward the street and the shops on the other side. There wasn’t a lot to do, take in payments and answer the phone and neither was busy nor constructive. It was a job in an office and I was doing what the job consisted of. Other than the money I was making I felt as though it was a waste of time. I spent most of my time looking at the clock wishing it was time to go home.

I didn’t have to work. My husband preferred that I stay at home, but that was boring, too. I needed something to do, and something to occupy my time, and this seemed to be it. Or at least it was the only thing I could think of.

At this point in my life I did not have a very good track record. I was still trying to find myself, still trying to decide on a job, and trying to decide what a job was, other than a place to receive a paycheck.

Starting at the age of 16, I had worked in retail sales for two years, worked in the catalog warehouse for a major retail store, and worked in the personnel office at a Federal Agency for a few months. None had been good choices, but they had provided a little experience.


I had found this job about a mile from where we lived which allowed me to walk in good weather, since we only had one car.

I had not worked for a loan company in the past. I was somewhat familiar since we had to get a loan to buy a car, but I soon learned that working for them would be a pragmatic eyeopener.

I’ve always been good at observing, listening and making mental notes. At this job I needed all these resources. I soon discovered how things worked. My bosses needed collateral that was worth more than the loan amount. It seemed that in the back of their minds their first thought was the possibility of a default on the loan, since the interest rates were high there was a good chance the customer would not be able to make their payments, in a timely fashion. The owners made sure that the collateral was the amount they needed, so that they could repossess the item or items.

When I learned this, I knew that we were paying a higher interest on the car we bought, than if we had spent more time searching for a better and cheaper way. That was disheartening


Then a young couple walked in with their child. They spoke at length with the loan officer, as he made notes on a pad of paper. The next step was to hand me the piece of paper with the notes and I was to type the information on a legal contract.

They continued talking to one of the loan officers and they were about ready to sign on the dotted line. The loan officer walked out of the room, to speak with the manager and maybe to give them time to discuss the deal between them. The young couple nervously spoke and argued in an almost inaudible tone. I could tell by watching and hearing as much as I could that they were not sure this was what they wanted, but it was what they needed. They were going to do it.

I walked up to the young couple and told them, don’t do this. Walk away. The interest you are going to pay is very high. They are planning on repossessing the item, because they already have figured out that you won’t be able to make the payments. I chased them away.

Yes, they said, thank you and I was happy to know that I helped someone.


The loan officer had been listening and he ran outside to see if he could catch the couple and bring them back to the office, but it was too late. They were gone.

Needless to say, he was very angry and on the spot he and the manager fired me. And it was a good thing, because otherwise I would have had to quit. I would not want to work in a career or for people that deceived their customers and actually hoped they would fail.

Was I sorry? Absolutely not. I felt the young couple should know the real truth before they made a decision and the loan officer was not telling the whole story.

These loan officers were concealing facts and concealing the way they do business, but it happens all the time and especially to unsuspecting people who are led by their fears. This scene is similar to situations with mortgage companies convincing people that they can afford homes that they can’t and selling them mortgages that ultimately increase interest rates and monthly payments they cannot afford.


I don’t know what happened to the young couple. Hopefully they did more research or maybe realized that saving money to buy something is the most responsible way to make purchases.

I learned to be more careful with my money. If I need to borrow, car loan or mortgage, I make sure that I understand everything, if not I ask questions. It’s reassuring to have the experience and wisdom to make better choices, even if this experience means working at lousy jobs or making mistakes.

  • Are you wondering why you have your job? Is it the paycheck?
  • Have you ever watched unscrupulous actions of someone you’re doing business with?
  • Have you ever stood up for yourself or someone around you?
  • Are you willing to walk away rather than stay in an uncomfortable or dishonest situation? Even if it means giving up your paycheck?


1 comment:

  1. Joanna, what a great story. I love that you did that! BTW, I read your story about your Dad and secrets and wanted to respond...at length. But am not sure if this is the place you want a long reply. If you have an email address, I can write to you there. Otherwise, I'll respond on your site. Way to work from your gut, girl!