Top Hat on Your Tail

El Cobrador del Frac

It’s not exactly a scarlet letter, but a Spanish debt collection company has been using a very odd tactic to shame deadbeat debtors into paying up:

If more confirmation were needed of the funereal state of Spain’s economy, it can be found in the shape of The Debt Collector in Top Hat and Tails.

That’s a translation into English of “El Cobrador del Frac,” the name of a company that specializes in sending out men dressed like extras from a 1930s Fred Astaire movie to humiliate debtors into paying up. Its business is booming.

“At the start of the year we noticed demand was increasing,” said Juan Carlos Granda, head of El Cobrador del Frac’s international department.

[…]
Mr. Granda refers to the top hats and tails, whose appearance has unnerved so many Spanish debtors, as the company “uniform.”

“We send collectors in uniform and collectors without uniform. It depends on how the debtor reacts. If we need to do it to collect a debt, we send a collector wearing top hat and tails, so his debt attracts more attention,” he said.

The ethics of public shaming aside, Izzy is dismayed to see a look that was once was the epitome of elegance being debased by such negative association.  It ought to make every hatter mad, and Señor Cacahuete nuts.

3 Responses to “Top Hat on Your Tail”

  1. ChaChaHeels August 27, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Holy Illegal, Batman. From the public shaming these
    “uniformed” cobradors try to create (people should just refuse to be shame–hell, if business is booming for these people, everyone’s in debt and no one’s paying) to the smug “no women employed here” discrimination practices.

    This look is about to become as glamourous as prison wear. That would be a fitting parallel.

  2. Joe in ATL August 27, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Black tie with a tailcoat? Collar worn incorrectly? And a cummerbund? The very least they could do is learn how to wear it. I shudder to guess the rubber soled shoes he’s wearing.

    I’d suggest a morning suit for this activity. Very English. I believe that English undertakers still wear them as a uniform, thus they’re readily available and probably inexpensive.