Delay equals demure.
The minute someone begins to delay in completing a task for you, suspect that their ultimate intention may be to not perform the task at all. Many people adopt the practice of calculated delay, because they learn that others may either forget their obligations or passively accept non-payment/non-performance. The true lesson of this aphorism is that one should not brook delay (even the first time it occurs) without clearly setting a new, mutually agreed, deadline for completion of the work. Although agreeing to a delay is often acceptable if one has confidence in the person performing the task, or the circumstances of the delay were justified, the key is not to simply let it pass without comment or correction.