I didn’t charge eight guests because theirs was the first call from that hotel, and I wanted to make sure they had a good experience. I stopped when I realized that most hotels that call for the first time never call again. The important call is the second.
Assistcard, which insures travelers from Latin America, owes me for six visits from the 1980s. Other doctors had warned me of its reputation as a slow payer, but I was eager and young. After several years, innumerable calls to its billing department, and with my business prospering, I began refusing its requests. A few checks owed to me drifted in over the following year but not all.
After ten years, an Assistcard employee called to announce that the company was under new management and to promise to pay more reliably. Since then I’ve collected on every visit but often after months of reminders. I finally decided to cut back on pestering but add $100 to my fee. Assistcard knows this, but nothing has changed. Most of its bills are vastly higher than mine because they come from hospitals and emergency rooms, so delaying payment helps their bottom line so much that making an exception for me is probably too much trouble.