Friday, March 30, 2007

Pay Day

When I started this business I received a lot of warnings about dealing with locals from the locals that I already knew. Porteños will rob you as sure as rain and you can’t trust any of them where the main messages.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out just the opposite in most cases. Business people are business people and it’s just not good business going around cheating people. If you cheat people word will get out and you will not be able to grow and prosper. In fact, I had heard some disturbing things about one of my current clients before they became my clients.

I did not approach Al Queso, queso right away because I had heard some rumors about them. This client is a cheese, cold cuts and wine shop. They also have some imported beers and other gourmand delicacies. On hindsight I should have investigated a bit further. I had heard that they had a reputation for not paying well and stringing you along once you were their provider. There was some truth to this but it was only for certain shops under the control of one individual. This individual is no longer around. Most of the shops are owned by the original owner. This is a family business and it is growing.

When I approached them, the owner was the one that would make the decisions and he is a very busy man. He has almost 20 stores under his belt and they are not linked by any computer system. He is still doing it the old fashioned way.

Anyway, he tries the products out, he negotiates the deals, and sometimes he is there at payday but usually it’s only his employees. Payday is once a week. You show up, sign in and wait. It’s first come first served. Sometimes you would be there 15 minutes. These days you are lucky if you only get to wait two hours. I took advantage of this time to meet the other providers. Some of them were business owners just like me, others were sales people sent out to collect payment. All of them had one thing in common; they did not like waiting around to get paid.

But this happens every week, rain or shine

These days I have someone else go and get paid for me. I do not miss standing around for 2 + hours waiting. I do miss listening to the gossip, jokes, and stories about that other guy who would not pay.

I have clients who are a bit more modern, bigger, centralized office with full time accountants and guess what; sometimes they don’t pay on time. I guess, if I ever go back to waiting at Queso, queso I can pitch in with a couple of stories of my own now.

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