Puny Primitive Disputes,
A Pre-hysterical tale!
By Andrea Schlack
Way, Way back at the dawn of time, Bob, a starving caveman, was primordial ooze and bones and in dire need of food. Not being the typical aggressive Neanderthal he never really mastered the art of hunting, and farming was not yet invented so he often went hungry. One day, while contemplating his navel, and dreaming of a dino-steak, he had an epiphany! A sharpened stick would make an excellent fishing spear.
If Bob had to choose between hunting a two-ton saber tooth tiger versus fishing for a jawless Pteraspis, he, of course, preferred seafood to become cat food….and the spear worked!
Steve, a neighboring caveman who was lurking in the bushes, had witnessed Bob’s genius and decided at that instant he HAD to have it! No, not the spear: Why bother taking a spear when he could steal the sturgeon, and besides, if he took the spear he would have to fish. Work! The thought of it made him cringe. ‘UGH! (The first primeval expletive)I deserve a better fate than to tackle pterodactyls, and Bob would never miss just one fish’.
Like all cons, Steve could not stop at stealing just one so he kept pilfering Bob’s fish until he finally was caught, dead fish In hand.
Bob, being the wimpy caveman he is, never developed that troglodyte aggression for dominance, so rather than fight he decided a merger would be more practical. He proposed an alliance with Steve where he would provide the fish and Steve would handle the distribution, thus they created the first primitive contract and formed The Cro-Magnon Clan Company, a Stone-Age partnership.
The contract between Steve and Bob was finally set in stone. It did take a bit longer because their chisels were still the first generation, but eventually, they sealed their deal with blood (signatures were not yet valid because names would not be used for another thousand years).
Bob and Steve prospered, eventually finding new digs in a better cave. They now lived the good life in an upscale mountain. They both believed it was what they deserved being so industrious, but as with all poorly conceived business plans eventually, the newfound alliance went bad!
Bob noticed his shares were shrinking. He was again hungry and began to wonder if Steve was stealing his fish. So he watched and sadly discovered he was once more Steve’s victim. Bob knew he would have to confront Steve and decided to do so the next time they went clubbing.
Bob finally worked up enough courage to ask for his scale of fish shares. He stood upright, no longer dragging his knuckles on the ground, and pointed one of his now opposing thumbs at Steve and demanded his fish NOW or else!
Steve pretended bewilderment then claimed he had no idea what Bob was grunting about: ‘I would never steal anyone’s fish, and besides I saw the woolly mammoth take it’. When the excuses did not work he tried compliments; ‘Hey Bob, ‘nice under the butt nut hut, can you make one for me, I would love to look as good as you’ or ‘Gee Bob, I am so sorry I lost your pebbles I wish I were as smart as you and wore an over the shoulder boulder holder to protect OUR pebbles.’
The excuses went on for eons until Bob finally had heard enough of Steve’s lies and could not stomach any more of his cheating, conniving, and thieving ways. He tossed Steve out of Cro-Magnon’s and demanded immediate payment.
Bob went to see Mr. Gottrocks, the first Jurassic lawyer. Gottrocks, who resembled a troll, was a mean son of a T-Rex who took no bronchus burgers from anyone. He agreed to represent Bob and demanded payment be brought to the communal fire that night or suffer clan justice served the HARD way.
The first lawsuit was filed shortly thereafter.
Bob’s complaint alleged Steve stole from Cro-Magnon’s by taking more than he was entitled to and that there was a debt due that he now demanded to be paid. Sadly Bob forgot the circumstances of how he met Steve and so naturally when Steve denied all of Bob’s allegations Bob was shocked. Steve filed a complaint not only denying he owed any pebbles to Bob but he actually blamed Bob for Cro-Magnon’s losses claiming Bob was negligent in the asset management of Cro-Magnon’s. Steve’s cross demand claimed he was entitled to payment greater than what Bob claimed due and he should be compensated thusly…….The battle was on!
The case is still on-going but we expect a ruling soon.
The moral of this never-ending story is even puny primitive disputes take eons to resolve when you trust the wrong caveman.
PICB’S TIPS TO AVOID THE CAVEMAN’S
SCHOOL OF HARD ROCKS
- Use credit agreements that clearly define your payment terms
- Make sure your contracts have a rock solid indemnification, dispute resolution statement, and a clear statement of limitation of liability
- Make sure ALL customers fill out and sign your credit agreements. Remember, an attached fact sheet is NOT binding to your terms
- Check the customers’ information by performing due diligence prior to granting any terms
- Remember credit is a privilege not a right
- Ask for cash when the risk outweighs any benefit
- Periodically re-verify the information to determine stability, viability, or any structural changes
- Maintain a good paper trail.
- If it was done with a handshake it cannot be proven!
- Do not be afraid to ask for payment when it is due
- Adjust terms if a customer is not doing as they promised
- Know when you need help and don’t wait to ask
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