Slot meters? Yes we all know what they are – don’t we?
We used to have a sales division who sold TV’s by way of a slot meter attached to the TV. The customer would put in the coins and when the meter was emptied they would enjoy a considerable rebate because the rate was set too high.
After the meter had been emptied a couple of times, the salesman would suggest to the customer that they didn’t really need such a big rebate offering them the opportunity to buy something else like an item of furniture. Over a period of time some customers had their whole house furnished by this method of hire purchase.
Now this was all okay until their TV broke down and had to go in to the workshop for repair. The meter would be removed and left with the customer whilst their TV was away. Without the demanding meter, the customer was either unable or unwilling to put the HP money aside. This of course would
prolong the debt repayment period especially on TVs that made regular visits to the workshop! Sometimes customers were still paying for things long after they had worn out!
One time a customer was at her wits end when there wasn’t enough money in the meter to make her payments. She swore blind that she had been putting the money into the meter. The initial solution was to adjust her rate so she would have to put more coins in, but that didn’t work, there still wasn’t
enough in the meter at the next collection. This is where I came in so to speak; I was sent to inspect the meter for functionality and evidence of tampering which all checked out okay so I ended up replacing the meter. I never had any doubts about the customer’s honesty as she genuinely appeared concerned by the whole affair.
The mystery was finally unravelled when the new meter was emptied. There were too few coins and those that were present were going rusty. It transpired that the unfortunate lady had been giving the money to her teenage son whose job it was to put the coins into the meter. Unbeknown to her, he had been manufacturing 50p pieces by pressing a coin into plasticine and filling it with water. Each time she handed him 50p he must have approached the back of the set via the freezer!