Hey Ron! - New York

Hello dear readers, welcome to our fabulous new advice column, "Hey Ron!" Once a week, Vice's accounts receivable manager, Ron, will be spewing forth sweet nuggets of precious wisdom and life lessons he's learned over the course of his illustrious existence. If you have a pickle that needs to be unbrined, click here to send an inquiry with the subject line "Hey Ron!" and you may just find your answer in next week's installment. Since Ron's day-to-day job is to collect money from people who don't want to cough up what they owe us, we polled the office and found a fitting dilemma for the Wise Wizard of Arrears.

The question from a staffer who shall remain anonymous:

Hey Ron!
My roommate has owed me $200 for about a month now. I've tried everything but he keeps stalling on paying it back. What the fuck do I do?

Take it away, Ron...

First, I would send him a formal letter stating, "If I don't get my $200 back by a certain date, or at least an attempt to pay me my $200, there will be consequences." They do not get to pick those consequences--that's your job. If they haven't paid by the deadline, that's when you should begin doing things.

It's best to start small and progressively ramp it up. You know he has food that he wants to have when he gets home from a hard day of not paying you back--that should be gone when he arrives because you should eat it or throw it away. If his girl calls it's like, "Who's this? Oh... didn't he go out with you? I saw him leave with some girl in a car." You need to make his life miserable until you have your $200. By the way, all of this kind of stuff is tax exempt, meaning it doesn't count toward his debt. They're like late fees at the video store. Just keep on doing things to piss him off until he wants to pay you.

The most important question you have to ask yourself before doing any of this is: "Can I whip his ass?" If you can't, you're going to have a problem. If you can, this advice is great because what's he going to do? If you can't, the next step is to find someone who can. But the person doesn't have to necessarily even know about it or do anything. Let's say I'm hanging out with the guy who's owed the $200 and he asks me to go on a drive with him. I don't have to know anything about what's going on. So the guy says he has to stop by a friend's work to talk to him, gets out of the car, walks up to him and says, "That's my friend Ron. He's the one that's gonna do it." And he's thinking, "Man this big black guy is going to smash my head in."

You can even say, "Well, I owe Ron $200 and I told him you won't pay me so I can't pay him. If you don't give me the cash, Ron is going to come knocking on your bedroom door one night." That's how you get your money. It's a mind game.