Pesach is coming and I'd like to start handing out my own unsolicited advice about how to keep the costs under control. I've been MIA here, but now that every bedroom and bathroom has been scrubbed clean (I even found one piece of chometz amongst the crumbs here and there), perhaps I can sit down and relax a bit because I can't tackle the kitchen, dining area, or living room yet (thanks ProfK for inspiring me to get moving on Pesach!).
I also plan to revisit two topics that I have neglected to come back to, but intend to revisit: retirement and "Our Finances." I welcome anyone that wants to Guest Post on keeping Pesach under control and you don't have to limit yourself to just the financial aspects either.
I was angered to see this Letter in the Yated about frum people bouncing checks, especially checks for items they obviously should never have been purchasing in the first place. And I also want to say it is time to stop sugar coating these aveirot by calling them a "chillul Hashem" because they are far greater than a chillul Hashem. Failing to pay someone is theft. I'm afraid "chillul Hashem" just doesn't pack enough punch.
The letter writer kindly pins ths problem on irresponsibility and financial disorganization. I'm not so kind, especially after a businessman from Boro Park and his wife shared their method for cashing (large) checks received from those in their very own community, a method I think is worth sharing because it really stinks to have checks bounced on a business and I've seen it "from the inside" and I'm mad about it:
He goes into the bank the check was written from and asks if there is enough money in the account to satisfy the check. If not, he finds out how much he can draw and makes a determination if those funds are enough to satisfy him. If so, he cleans out their checking account and writes off the remaining balance due (i.e. he is happy to take what he can get and is resigned to the fact he won't be able to get the rest of the balance due).Being part of the community, he (sadly) knows not to be so trusting. Unfortunately, this was not the case for this Korean family business.
HOW COULD YOU?
This past Erev Shabbos, I made my weekly trip to what’s known in Flatbush as the nicest and freshest flower shop in town. I always say hello, goodbye and thank you to the owner of the store when I visit. After this week’s thank you, the Korean owner and his wife showed me that they just hung up a couple of bounced checks on the wall. They wanted to know if I can help them locate these people. The names were all Yiddishe ones. They told me that they usually don’t take checks, but before Pesach last year (4/07), people came rushing in right before “the holiday” and begged the store to accept their checks. The storeowner and his wife told me, “We figured that with such nice people, there’s nothing to worry about, especially with checks amounting to less than twenty dollars each.” I was so embarrassed and shocked. How irresponsible can people be? You bounce a check for $12 last year Erev Pesach and you don’t bother to take care of it? I mean, don’t you read your monthly bank statement? Because of you, Hashem’s name is being desecrated over and over again, with literally hundreds of people walking into the store throughout the week and viewing the checks. We are so busy fixing the world’s problems, but maybe we ought to give lessons on how to open and read your mail. Please pay the store the money you owe and figure out how to do teshuvah for making such a chillul Hashem by being so last minute and so tzufloigin. There is no excuse.
Embarrassed on Avenue N and Coney Island
Can some "askan" go in and pay the store owners their loss and (if they so choose, which they hopefully would choose to do) pursue the non-payers since this small "mom and pop" business will probably never see their money? I'd label buying flowers for Yom Tov with money you don't have as a "hiddur ha-ba'a ba-aveira." Could stealing flowers for yom tov, to be even worse than stealing matzah (a classic mitzvah ha-ba'a ba-aveira)????? I'd say so. While nice, the flowers were not even necessary in the first place.