The man in the middle is named Anthony. Anthony works in a call center where he is tasked with the job of collecting on unpaid debts.
Anthony is often accused of being a “vulture” or a “scam artist” by those who owe money to the credit card company where he works. Sometimes, he has to call people and demand payment even when he knows they cannot pay him. He hears stories that make him sad and is spoken to harshly by those who are really angry about other situations. Anthony is not allowed by his employer to defend himself when he is verbally abused. His self esteem suffers from the things people say sometimes.
Usually, the people Anthony calls simply didn’t understand the terms of their credit offer. They are upset about the fees accrued and blame Anthony, personally, for the amount of money they owe. Anthony has no control over the fees. It is simply his job to collect.
He would like to find another job, but the economy where he lives is sparse. There aren’t many opportunities outside of the call center, which is the main employer in his town. Some people on the phone think Anthony enjoys harassing them for their money, but in truth Anthony wishes he didn’t have to. He also wishes there was a better system for helping those who have fallen behind.
Anthony knows about financial trouble. He, also, has a poor credit rating because of hospital bills from a prior illness. He knows how it feels to lose your job and be unable to make your payments. It truly bothers him when he has to call someone that is unable to make their payments because he knows these calls are another overwhelming reminder of their bad situation.
Sometimes, Anthony wishes he could skip certain names when they appear on his list. There are some customers he has called multiple times over several weeks. He knows they are in a tough situation and can’t pay him, but he will get fired if he doesn’t make the call.
Other times, he sees names that make him dread calling them for another reason. He doesn’t want to be berated or abused by a person that simply chooses not to fulfill their obligations, but he has to. It is easy for people to forget, he thinks, that he is an actual person and not just a voice on the other end of the line.
Hopefully, most of us will never find ourselves in a position to receive a phone call from someone like Anthony. However, should trouble arise in our lives and we do receive such a call, what are some things we can remember about the person on the other end? How can we maintain our composure to treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve, even if we feel they aren’t respecting or showing dignity to us? How might situations be resolved with a bill collector to prevent these conversations from turning ugly?