Adulting 101 · Tête-à-tête · Wri-therapy

When Jones kept up with the Other Joneses

I will look back years from now after reading this post and I will give myself a pat on the back for making a good decision. I initially hesitated writing about this one but the purpose of this blog is to write for me, so I did it anyway.

I’m not a perfect friend (who else is anyway?) but I have always took pride myself for being a good friend.  You can always count on me to be objective, honest, trustworthy, and extremely loyal.  I have small group of friends that I am sure of. I am not much of a social butterfly but when I make a friend, I really keep a friend.

About few years ago, I have been warned of a certain friend in our small circle. They didn’t really want to get into the details but since they treat me like their sister, eventually they warmed up to the idea that I can be trusted with such secret. And I have kept that secret for years and counting. It’s about a friend, let’s call him Jones*, owing our other friend a huge chunk of money and intentionally forgetting to pay it back… FOR YEARS! So all this time, we have these inside jokes:

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And so on. You know, in your thirties, sometimes people just grow apart and that is normal. I have lost some friends before I even turned thirty. In our group, some have drifted away for a while due to change in priorities, and that is okay and perfectly understandable. When we get together it’s like there weren’t even gap years.

But Jones is a different case. We’ve been friends for a very long time and he is one of the nicest guys I know. Outside our circle, and to the other people he hangs out with,  people thinks he’s this Mr. Big Shot. Always with the nicest things, always with best travel and vacations, and always know this other-rich-person-who-owns-this-and-that, and so on. And because of this image, he tends to keep up with a lot of Joneses*. I’m sure you get the picture.

About some years ago, he went on a vacay and had to borrow emergency cash. To make the story short, he was lent a huge amount of money and never paid it back. I asked the person Jones owe money to why he doesn’t ask for the money back. He said “because that’s not how we roll, and we are friends.” So for many years, up to this time that I am writing this post, he was never paid.

A few years later, Jones and another friend made a purchase in a lay away plan. Actually it was just the other friend’s plan to buy, but Jones, not be outdone, decided to get one for himself even though it is impractical. Then a few months later, I hear straight from the source, that Jones is in hiding and at large and won’t pay the seller back. That other friend ended up paying for Jones’share just to save his face of being associated with him.

I never understood how Jones became like that. He was just a typical, quiet guy and I consider him one of the most appropriately mannered friends that I have. Still, I gave him benefit of the doubt despite the screaming evidences.

I opened a small business venture of reselling some limited item things. One of my first inquirer is Jones. Although I already had fierce warning from others, I still entertained his order despite my gut feeling. I keep thinking, he probably won’t fuck me  up, because 1) I am nice to him; and 2) I’m the last string that holds his shit together before he formally gets kicked out of the circle. But I was very wrong.

Few weeks after the purchase, he returned an item to me, with a complaint that it doesn’t work. I was so shocked because we quality checked it and it was working fine. He mentioned of a certain damage, I offered a full refund even if I have not seen it. I even offered a replacement from one of my collections because I am honest in this business plus he is a friend.

A few nights before the return purchase happened, I was talking to our other friends (the ones Jones owe money to) and they already had fearless predictions of what happened. They even thought this theory of Jones fucking with me. I thought it was silly but I can never ignore my gut feel. I even said, I really hope it is valid defective because otherwise I will lose all my respect to this person.

You can probably imagine my surprise when not only it was defective, it was wrecked. A total wreck.  And all the predictions were true. I can not tell you how many I told you so’s I got. Because out of all my customers, he is the only one with the complaint and the one who most definitely stood out.

Of course I asked for an explanation and I got answers that not only showed discrepancy, they were inconsistent. I will no longer put here in the details about what transpired but all of the predictions came true:

“He will tell you that it is defective but they ruined it. They must have accidentally did something or they did not know how to operate it.”

“He must have been pursuaded that he can return it. Because they must have made fun of it that he did not buy the original one (or someone have the original one).”

“He is not the one who operated it and that person who did, did not inform him about it.

“He is stupid. It’s  consumer’s risk. Why didn’t he check it upon arrival?”

I asked two more people about the incident that is outside our group to get a fair, outside perspective. My colleague told me: “He fucked with you, Maám.”

But I will not leave this post without a good take away. Here are the top three things I learned from this experience:

  1. Always check before release, eventhough you already did a quality check on it.
  2. Make them sign a “Received In Good Condition” form.
  3. Never, and I mean NEVER, transact business with Jones again. ( He fucked his best friends, you are not an exception.)

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But despite of this, I am slowly starting to see the humor behind this. This is my first business boo-boo. I guess the reason why it hurts twice as much is because I used to think he is [what I thought] a good friend.

Not anymore.

*Keeping up with the Joneses

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