Fanny May Bankertype was the office manager at Amalgamated Widget Corporation. A concerned and caring person, Fanny May directed the activities of Amalgamated's clerical staff of forty workers.
One day, a new restaurant opened just down the street from Amalgamated's offices. While the prices were a little steep, the food was excellent and the service outstanding, and it wasn't long before the new restaurant became "the place" for Amalgatmated's clerical staff to have lunch.
After a few weeks, the secretaries and bookkeepers began to feel the pinch; lunching at the new restaurant was the most enjoyable hour of the day, but it was straining their budgets. They didn't want to go back to the more economically priced carryout around the corner, and they wouldn't be caught dead carrying a lunch from home.
So it happened that one day Gus in accounts receivable was between calls to late-paying customers when a group of his colleagues came by and asked if he was going to lunch.
"No. I'm a little short today," Gus said. "I'll stay here and have an apple and a granola bar."
His colleagues laughed heartily as they left the office, and Gus' financial condition was the chief subject of discussion while they ate. By quitting time, the whole office was buzzing with talk of Gus' indigent state. Gus was so embarrassed, the next morning he stopped by Fannie May's office.
"Gus, what can I do for you?" Fannie May asked.
"Well, I need a few bucks so I can go to the new restaurant for lunch," Gus said.
"Don't be ashamed, Gus. Stuff happens. That's why I'm here. You know you're pre-approved."
Gus was ashamed for only a while, and soon he was going to Fanny May's money trough three or four times a week. And within a month, nearly everyone else in the office was tapping the new source of easy cash. As their debts mounted, Gus and his colleagues no longer favored Fanny May with prompt repayments. In time, they simply ignored their debts to her.
After a few months, Fanny May began to feel the pressure, and she went to talk to the president of Amalgamated Widgets. She told him how she was having trouble paying her bills, because all she had was a desk full of IOUs.
"Why don't you bring the IOUs up here, and we'll take a look at them," the president said.
So, Fanny May went to the maintenance shed and commandeered a wheelbarrow, which she filled with the IOUs, and went back to the president's office.
"It looks like you have $15,000 worth of IOUs here," the president said. "Fanny, you're so important around here, we can't afford to let you fail. How much money do you need?"
"Well, there's the mortgage, and a couple car payments and I'm really behind on all my credit cards," Fanny May said. "I guess I need about $7,000 to get back on my feet."
"Then, $7,000 it is," the president said. "I'll give you $7,000 for that wheelbarrow full of IOUs. Who knows? Maybe with the help from this guy I know in Youngstown, I might make a tidy little profit on the deal."
"Thank you, sir," Fanny May said. "You don't realize what a weight you've taken off my shoulders."
"Glad to do it, Fanny," the president said. "But there is just one thing."
"Well, you know I've been saying all along that our employees are in a strong financial position. That being the case, I know I can trust you keep lending them lunch money," the president said.
"Isn't that kind of foolish?" Fanny asked.
"No," said the president. "By lending money to our employees, you're helping us build prosperity."