Bad Check

At the beginning of the month, I sold five of my young cross-bred ewes to a woman downstate. Yesterday I received a backlog of mail from over the holiday, which included a notice from my bank that the woman’s check had been rejected for insufficient funds. The check was re-submitted and rejected again. I have now been fined and am out the $400.

I feel like a fool. A naive, trusting, stupid fool.

Last summer, when I realized I had to downsize my flock, I vowed I would do my best to find my girls good homes rather than taking the easy way out and sending them to slaughter.

With that goal I advertised the ewes on Craigslist at a very low price and even offered to keep them (and feed them) an extra month so they would be bred when going to their new homes. I would not break even on the deal but in my sadness, profit wasn’t a priority.

This woman agreed to buy all five in September. She wanted them to stay on to be bred. I am not a total idiot — I asked for and received a deposit. This check cleared without a problem.

The woman’s email communication was erratic, and she did not pick up the ewes until early November.  Still, in our single telephone conversation before pick-up day we had clicked immediately. She is one year older than I and had grown up in a neighboring Connecticut town. We had laughed over our similar journeys from tennis whites to muck boots. It did not occur to me to object when she brought out her checkbook to pay the remainder after we had loaded the ewes in her truck.

I was a fool.

I have emailed her twice, to no response. I’ve tried to convince myself that the bad check might be an accident. However by now she has surely heard from her own bank. I try to find excuses: maybe she has been out of town? But then who would be caring for the sheep? I find myself wondering if dear Bean, Smoky, Briar, Snowy, and Chai went straight to a slaughterhouse.

I have the woman’s telephone number and am steeling myself to make the call. I shrink from unpleasant interactions. I hate to use a telephone in the best of times. Ugh.

I just feel sick.

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9 Responses to Bad Check

  1. tricia says:

    ah crud. So make the call. She has 72 hours to send you a certified check or money order. Things happen BUT she needs to fix it asap or you will press charges. It is illegal after all. Do NOT let this go.
    Any where near me? I know LOTS of farmers and sheep owners….

  2. grasslakehomes says:

    Make the call. Tell her how hard it is for you to make this call. Let her know that you understand that hard times and emergencies befall us all. Then extend the warm hand of friendship and ask her to kindly pay what she owes.

  3. Oh, no, that is a drag. Small claims court?

  4. Missy says:

    Oh no, my heart sank when I read the title of your post. The others are right, you gotta make that call. Poor you, really really poor you. I hate situations like this too. I hope it sorts out quickly and easily. Do you have her address? You could always go “retrieve” $400 of sheep!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Thank you all for your good advice. I too thought of “retrieving” the sheep, Missy! 🙂
      I had not realized that writing bad checks was a crime for which one could notify police. However luckily I now believe it may not come to that. Last night the woman finally responded to my emails. She offered no explanation and her apology, “I’m sorry,” was brief, but she did say she would send a new, good check out today. We shall see. My fingers are crossed. But in the meantime I have learned my lesson and from here out will require cash transactions.

      • Missy says:

        Well that’s good news, and a lot less trouble than sheep rustling! Hope she does.

      • David says:

        Definitely a hard lesson to learn. Hope it does turn out all right in the end. Many times I have had people pull out their check books after we have loaded goats in their crates and placed in the vehicles. I politely unload the goats and direct them to the nearest ATM 5 miles down the road. Even though I always direct in the email or by phone to bring cash. Unfortunately that is how it is and some do get upset. When selling most things you do not obtain the buyers address. I have a hard enough time selling any live animal never knowing what happens to them after they leave your place.

      • adkmilkmaid says:

        Yes, it is always hard to sell animals, or even give them away, because, as you say, you never know. Luckily I did get my money in the end. However, the check was “in the mail” for some time and it was only when I reluctantly let her know that I would contact the authorities that she immediately sent a postal money order.

  5. Tracey says:

    I really love your blog and can’t wait to read more. You’re an inspiration and I just hope you keep posting!

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