14 December 2012

Now seems a good time to shut up

I sit here on a gray blustery Friday, trying to prepare for a Boy Scout camping trip this weekend, but my thoughts instead turn to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

An armed man entered the school just an hour or so ago, and for no reason yet known, opened fire. On a school full of innocent kids and teachers.

Right now, reports indicate upwards of 30 people killed, including at least 18 children.

Twitter and Facebook of course are already seeing the usual major camps draw into familiar circles: the conservatives calling for prayers and bemoaning the sad state of our national character vs the liberals working up some outrage over the issue of gun control, and all I can think of is "SHUT UP -- ALL OF YOU!"

We have people down. Kids. Teachers. Parents. Bleeding and wounded and dying and dead. We have parents of 400 kids terrified beyond belief that their children were in this slice of Hell this morning, and then forced to pray the horrible yet understandable "please let the dead include someone else's family and not mine."

THAT'S where our thoughts and concerns should be at this moment, not on your -- OUR -- silly damned opinions and politics and morality. Later there will be time enough (and seems like there always is, even when there isn't) to argue and bicker and belabor the "why" and "how" and "what went wrong," but right now to try and use a still-unfolding tragedy as support for some pet belief or cause just seems… staggering gallingly offensively arrogant and self-centered.

Right now it's not about you, or me. It's about us: we have people in harm's way and hurting badly.

If you can't physically help that situation, then have the grace and good manners to stay the hell out of the way and not demand attention for yourself. We'll all then listen to your idiot mewling and lecturing just as soon as our people get loaded into ambulances, OK?


04 December 2012

sucking the thumbs on their feet

So Bank of America credited our mortgage acct with a refund of incorrectly applied fees. They didn't tell me this -- they merely changed the amount due on my mortgage statement this month without explanation or remark. When I called to ask "yo- whassup?" I was bounced through three different offices -- having to re-verify all my acct info and ID every time -- before I was finally told by someone in the Research Office that the refund was for (drumroll...) "fees."

"What fees, assessed when?"

"We don't have that information."

"But you are the ones who charged them."

"Yes. That is correct."

"And you don't know why they were refunded."

"That is correct."

"And you work in the Research Office?"


"Is your office currently hiring?"

"No, sir. Why do you ask?"

"Seems like a cush job -- get paid to know and do nothing useful."

"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"'Else'? That kinda sorta implies that you helped on some previous or different matter, now don't it?"

. . .

So today I go to make the monthly mortgage payment, and the refunded fees no longer appear. So I call to ask "yo, whassup?"

Again, bouncing through multiple offices and departments to wind up with someone who says (drumroll...) "we returned them."

"Returned them where?"

"Uh, wherever they came from."

"Which was...?"

"Well, I'm not sure."

"Did you tie them to a balloon and release it out a window?"

"No, sir. Let me check."

[on hold for 4 minutes]

"Hello, sir? We returned them to you."

"To me? Ah. And how did you return them?"

"I don't understand, sir."

"I believe that. I mean 'by what mechanism were the funds returned' -- were they deposited or was a check issued or was a credit made to my balance?"

"Oh... we mailed them."

"Why didn't you just credit my account?"

"Which account, sir?"

"My mortgage account balance due, since that's where it was last time I called."

"Yes, sir, but last Thursday a check was issued."

"And where is this check?"

"You've not received the check, sir?

[deep sigh]

"YES. This has all just been a test. I received the check that I didn't know about for the fees that nobody can explain and I have that check in my hand and that's why I decided to call and waste twenty minutes with you trying to figure out where the money in my hand now exists. (sigh) Is there someone else I can talk to -- someone with some abilities in banking or at least verbal communication?"

"I'm trying to help you, sir."

"And failing. Badly. When was the check mailed, and to what address?"

"Last Thursday, and it was mailed to your home."

"Can you please confirm that address?"

"You need your home address, sir?"

"No -- I know my address. I'm trying to confirm that *you* rocket scientists have it."

"Well... OK."

He confirms that they did in fact mail it to the correct address.

"So why didn't you give me the option of just having the fees deposited into my checking account?"

"We don't know your account details, sir."

"Yes, you do. You send me monthly statements for my mortgage, my line of credit, my checking, and my savings accounts. I'm pretty sure you guys save copies of that info since it's all IN YOUR BANK."

"Well how are we supposed to know that, sir?"

"HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE? Is that what you are asking me?"

"Yes, sir."

"Would it be easier for you guys to keep track of who your FORMER customers are? I'm starting to get the distinct sense that you guys aren't really keen on the whole 'banking' thing."

[pregnant pause] How else can, er, do you have any more questions, sir?"

"Quite a few, but none that I expect will be answered in this call. I'll just go wait for my check in the mail returning fees from my account assessed for no known reason at no known date by departments unknown within your bank and now refunded for no know reason."

"Very well, sir."

"Oh-- wait. Actually, I *do* have one more question: if and when I receive this mystery check, I'll need to deposit it, and I'm wondering if there will be the traditional hold on that money."

"It will be a standard check subject to all standard treatment and policies."

"So Bank of America is mailing a Bank of America check to a Bank of America customer who will then deposit that Bank of America check into a Bank of America account which will then have those funds on hold for a few days as Bank of America waits to see if Bank of America has funds to cover their own check?"

[pregnant pause] "Yes."

"Excellent. Thank you so much, and good luck."

"Good luck with what, sir?"

"Avoiding accidental self-injury with a spoon. Good bye."



And so it goes.

people person B