Protocol on Lending & Recovery

I’m no expert in management and I’m positive I need lessons in planning and organising, especially when it comes to managing a household. But I’ve taken this responsibility and I’m doing my best in spite of having no prior experience whatsoever and while having to combat a major flaw in my personality – Laziness.
But even the best of planners cannot foresee deficits that may arise due to under budgeting and over consumption. And that’s when you need to borrow because you’ve exhausted your stock and need to pick up stock from the market because you’re either short on funds or on time. Because really, who could have foreseen that on a particular day you’d be short of four tomatoes.

I’ve never bothered with kitchen and related stuff before, but now that I’m head of that department I have to ensure that it is stocked at optimum level, that stock is consumed on FIFO basis and that new stock is ordered by the time the existing stock reaches its reorder quantity. And all this effort is made just to ensure that I do not have to start the manufacturing process without the use of an important ingredient.
I’ve been doing my new job for almost two months now and I’ve figured out the need for a system and the need to maintain it. But apparently my neighbours; who seem to be doing this for more than a decade, haven’t. I don’t blame them for this though because not everyone is born with the genius to know how to manage a kitchen. It is difficult, I understand and empathise, and that’s the reason why when my neighbours’ cook knocked on my door last week and asked for exactly four tomatoes, I gave them to her without questions or judgement, especially because she immediately told me that she would return them.
Noticing that after the lending, I had about two tomatoes left in my stock, my husband and I bought new stock that very evening, even though we were expecting our stock to be returned soon.
A week later, there has been no sign of the tomatoes. Not that I am short, it’s just that she said she would return them and she hasn’t, yet.
Now I’ve bumped into her a few times in the corridor and we’ve exchanged smiles and I have been polite enough to not ask, mostly because I have never been in this situation before and I have no idea what the protocol in such a scenario is. So help me out here.
Do I…
  1. Check Credit Worthiness before I lend groceries and other household items to anyone in my building?
  2. If I don’t have resources for a background/credit check, should I flatly refuse?
  3. What about things that have already been lent? Should I send reminders at 7, 14 and 30 days intervals?
  4. If the borrower does not respond to reminders, what is the appropriate rate of interest that should be charged on such items, if any?
  5. Should travel costs, packing expenses, time cost, service charges, etc. be added to the total tab?

Once I know what the right way is to go about it, I can do the needful and have my resources back instead of blocked.

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