Stories from Rent-to-Own
J.J. Sefton has quite a few stories of his own...
Is it really just scummy people that rent from these things? Or do "normal" people?
We had a few customers that were in a tough spot and had no other options. I remember a divorced guy who got wiped out by his wife. Lost the house and all of his furniture. Needed gear for his new pad but he couldn't get credit anywhere so he turned to us. Good guy, never missed a payment. When he came in to make his last payment he asked for a printout that showed how much he paid. The total was about 3-4 times what he would have paid retail. I thought he was going to scream.
We also had a few lonely old people who liked the service. They would call for repairs when the merch was in fine working order. They just wanted someone to talk to...
Of course some people rented big screens for Superbowls. We also delivered some merch to pro athletes who kept apartments in town during the season.
Also tell us about the time you were offered sex. I am picturing you going into a house with twenty people huddled around a small tv and one of them looks up and says you can fuck his sister.
There were numerous offers of sex-how sad is that? Once I was sent to pick up a Sega game system. This house was seriously disgusting. It smelled of human grease, sour milk and cat piss. The kids went bare foot and they all had was I liked to call "dirt slippers"-the floors were so dirty that the kids had a black layer of caked filth on their soles. The lady of the house actually opened the door (she had pretneded not to be at home for the previous month) and let me in to "talk". She was about 50 lbs overweight, had bad skin and you can guess how she smelled. She was wearing a ratty terrycloth bathrobe with what looked like nothing underneath.
Anyway, I told her unless she paid the past due I had to take the game. She had no cash but perhaps I would let her keep it for an extra week if she cooked something for me. YOW, I didn't even want to be in that house, let alone eat a meal. I politely declined. She smiled seductively (she thought) and asked if there was something else she could do for me? She made a move like she was going to reveal a sweaty, greasy breast and I recoiled like a frightened puppy. "What's the matter, baby-scared of a little kitty-kat?" I was thinking, "No but I'm TERRIFIED of your stinking, disease-ridden mountain lion!"
I managed to keep my cool and told her I was just there for money or merch. She snapped. She started screaming for me to just take it. Her kids were playing Sonic or some other crap. I had to unhook it from the TV while she was screaming and the kids were crying. One of the kids asked me "Why you takin' our game?"
His ultra classy mom, who only moments before had offered me sex in order to prevent this said "Cuz he's a low life mother f*cker that's why!!!" Charming. I got it all unhooked and bailed the heck out of there. I remember almost feeling giddy after getting my first lungful of unfunkified air in over 20 minutes.
There were times with women who were actually attractive, but the horror stories are more fun. And no, I never accepted...
What was the absolute worst repo you had to make?
Hoo boy, there are a few that contend for that spot.
There was one fella that stopped paying for awhile so we had to run him. Weeks passed with us leaving doorhangers, sending letters calling the house, all to no avail. Finally, I made on last attempt before the manager was just going to write the account off and file a replevin. I knock on the door and it flies open. There's our customer, clad in skivvies with a crazed look in his eye. He points to a gun on the coffee table and screams at me- "You think you can get this sh*t, you just try it!" I don't know if it was adrenalin, stupidity or just a desire for closure-I was really tried of being sent to this house. Instead of running for the van, I told him, "C'mon,man,you don't want to shoot me over this stuff. Just let me do my job and I'll go away."
He freaked. He ran over to the home entertainment center I had come for and started unhooking components. Screaming in a high pitched voice "You want, it, take it!" He tossed the VCR and stereo at me and pulled the TV to the floor, screen first. Then he started kicking it across the living room until it was at my feet. I had sidestepped the prvious compenents, and just bent to pick up the TV. We usually asked people to sign for pick ups, but I let that one go. I got about a block away in the van, pulled over and looked myseld in the rear view.I wasn't visibly shaking, but I was jittery as heck.
To top it off,when I got back to the office the manager gave me a hard time for not getting the cabinet.
The was another pickup at a house that must have been some kind of training/recruiting house for a white supremacist group. They had swastikas, white power signs, all of that fun stuff. Well I happen to be a 6'4", 240+lb black male, so you can imagine how much they loved me. They didn't say or do anything while I was in the house. Once I left the house I could hear a doozy of an argument break out. I wonder what they were fighting over-whether they should have done something to me? Maybe the reason they didn't was because I had been sent by my corporate overlords and would be missed. I don't know.
There was another where my partner and I were sent to get a house full of furniture. Turns out our customers had been evicted due to severe roach infestation. I'm talking horror movie levels here. They were everywhere. We called back to tell the manager that the merch was a write off but he refused to let us off the hook. We picked up a bedroom set, living room set and several TVs, all while brushing roaches off ourselves and the merch. We got everything into the truck and rode back in silence. Once back, the manager nearly gagged at the smell. He "decided" to write the merch off as a loss. When I got home from the shift I threw away the clothes I was wearing and showered for what seemed like hours.