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.