Credit Matters Blog

So You Think Most People Are Honest?

Kim Radok 22 April 2014


The world around us has changed and is constantly evolving with different practices, ways of doing things and use practices which appear almost alien to the traditions which have been important to us over the years.

No where do we see this change more so, than when money is concerned. Peoples' attitudes to money have changed, both in their personal and business lives. Let us review a few changes.


1  If you were to invited to a wedding today, inevitably two changes have become noticeable. First, the happy couple in many cases would prefer your money rather than your gift and kind wishes. It is increasingly obvious when you read the wedding invitation, " ... please give money."

Secondly, for those who want to give money, a locked box is now provided to take the envelopes which may contain any money. Why, because the guests often steal the money not locked away in the box.

2  It is Friday night at the pub. Have you noticed, there is almost a reluctance to be the first person to buy a round of drinks? Why, because often the beneficiaries of the first rounds have gone home when it is their turn to buy their round of drinks.

3  You are out to dinner with friends. You will often see one person (or a couple) eat half the menu and drink the best wines. In the case of BYO, they bring the crappy stuff and drink your good wine first.

Then to compound the problem, these friends have left their wallet or purse at home and say they will pay you next time. Of course they rarely offer to repay you afterwards on the first occasion. Inevitably you be forced to remind them to get your money back and sometimes more than once.

Alternatively, one set of friends "will insist - not ask" on paying the bill with their credit card, whilst you give them the cash. Why, because they want the fly-buy points.

In Business

1  Service providers offering service calls to fix whitegoods and appliances now insist the consumer pay up front, and even before they  get in the van to fix the product. Why, because inevitably after completing the visits and repairs, the customer didn't have the cash, the dog ate the cheque book or their credit card was no longer valid.

2  You offer a service and complete the service, and the customer "accepts" your terms of trade and service charges. Suddenly after delivering the invoice, the customer insists your services were too expensive and they want a discount and will not pay the invoice until it is discounted.

3  The customer signs your terms of trade and agrees to pay you in "x no. of days". However after receiving your goods and services, they suddenly say, "... we only pay x + days." Alternatively, if they are need your goods and services to complete work for one of their customers, they then advise "... we will pay you when they pay us!"

4  The debt is small and the customer refuses to pay. You threaten all sorts of legal or debt collection action; but they know, you will not follow through. They just laugh off all your threats and if you should list them through as a defaulter, they just tell lies to their next supplier as a way of explaining the default notice.

I could list many more of these situations. The theme remains the same though. Most people are not scared of the implications of their actions when money is concerned. Why is that so? Well that's a story for another blog.

In the meantime, I suggest you review your business processes to see whether you are still selling and being paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, look at your business through the eyes of somebody who would steal from you. Why should you take this attitude you may ask. The fact is because that is how most of your customers operate these days, either intentionally or by force of their circumstances.

At the end of the day, experience shows us that people are only as honest as you force them to be!

May you be paid today rather than tomorrow

Kim Radok