5/28/2015 11 Comments
Last night I realized I’ve been had. The deadline, the arbitrary third deadline, had come and gone and you suddenly quit answering your phone. The bank informed us that no wire had come through.
A friend told me last week, “As long as he is talking to you don’t get nervous. But when he quits answering the phone you’re screwed.”
On April 18 you decided to be somebody. You decided to play the big shot. You said you were a cattle guy, claimed you just sold a $53,000 heifer, and needed to put that money somewhere.
Lucky me – you were putting it at sheep. And you bid. You bid and bid and bid. You were loud and proud – you cussed out my customers who outbid you (ones who would later actually pay). You laughed when you outbid other customers (one’s who would have actually paid).
After the sale wrapped up, and you had purchased nearly $20,000 in sheep, you wanted to talk about how everyone would be asking who you were. You thought everyone would be calling to get your business. Everyone is definitely asking who you are now – and they definitely will not be calling for your business.
You were going to mail a check. But then you ended up in the hospital. You were going to overnight it, but then you mom died (according to a Google search she actually died back in the winter). You were headed down to get them, money in hand but you were waiting on your brand new trailer to come in. Then you were back in the hospital.
Then a few weeks ago my phone rang. It was a fellow sheep breeder who asked if you had bought sheep from me. My heart sank. I knew it was bad news. You had told me you’d never had sheep before.
Turns out you have quite the history in this business. Several lawsuits, thousands of dollars of unpaid sheep, judgements totaling nearly $100,000. Looks like I was last in line on a long, long list.
Now I know, after some quick research and a trip to the lawyer, that you have nothing. You have no way to pay for the animals; it doesn’t even appear you actually have anywhere to keep the animals.
I can take you to court for the difference, and they will grant me a judgement pretty easily. And I think, for the principle of it, I will. I realize there is nothing to collect, but I also don’t think you should just walk away.
For a few days I sulked. I was embarrassed I let you participate. I was even more embarrassed I had bought your story. I said a prayer for you when you were “in the hospital”.
I was scared to notify the other buyers and bidders. The entire sale that we had celebrated so openly, that was such a monumental success for us, was now going to be defined by you.
Instead of talking about the success, the story line would be about the guy who didn’t pay.
Matt told me I had to notify everyone, because we had to sell the sheep. I refused to ship them. You had “bought” some of the best, including my yearling ram that was the animal I hoped would pass on our legacy.
So I sent out an email and I prayed.
My heart is OK with what happened now. I have mixed emotions towards you. One minute I feel a rush of anger, the next I feel deep sorrow. Matt thinks something is terribly wrong with you, to need that kind of attention or amusement.
Either way, I have decided I will not let you define my sale. I will not let you define the industry. The fact that we have sold sheep for so many years, to so many people and never had this occur on this level speaks more about the industry than you do.
The fact that the buyers and bidders instantly reached out to tell us how sorry they were this happened (instead of the anger I had feared), speaks more about the industry.
So on June 14 I will once again sell some Tunis. And I will have faith that each of our bidders is acting with honest intentions. Because I will not allow you to define the way I do business or to define the faith I have in humanity.
I will also not shy away from being public about what has happened. You have done this entirely too many times and my attorney has assured me I have no concerns when sticking to the facts.
Full sale report available here.
List of animals selling June 14 can be seen here.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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