Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I finally understand the Tale of Two Cities - from a different perspective. Sorta.

Actually, I understand the entire French Revolution in a much more up-close and personal way, and it is all thanks to Mr. Geithner, Mr. Bernake and the miscreants at AIG and the other banks.

I see all around me folks being evicted, forclosed homes being sold at auction – sometimes for pennies of what they were worth. Not all of these homes are McMansions, some of them are very, very modest dwellings where people lost their jobs, or had some medical tragedy that just destroyed their delicate financial balancing act.

And then I hear that someone who FUCKED UP – and destroyed the financial system in general and the savings of many of these folks who are being evicted in particular – are getting MILLIONS of dollars as a bonus.


Think about this – this isn’t their usual Salary. This isn’t money they depend on to pay their bills and feed the dog – this is a BONUS – EXTRA money. Presumably their regular pay would be considerably larger – as a BONUS is usually just a fraction of the amount of one’s annual salary. No wonder these assholes can’t figure out why people are angry at them. They not only don’t “get” it – they cannot possibly FATHOM a life without their every slightest whim being immediately catered.

The amount of just ONE guy’s bonus would probably pay off the ENTIRE mortgages for 20 or more of the houses in the area around my subdivision that are empty due to foreclosure. And now the government wants to calm us down about this – they don’t want a “mob” mentality.

I’m sorry, but I disagree. We NEED a mob mentality. We need Madame DeFarge and the knitting ladies, and Madame Guillotine – OFF WITH THEIR HEADS. Grab pitchforks and torches. It seems that every few generations it is necessary for the MANY to remind the privileged FEW that they only get to beat us SO much before we take it back – and do so in rather painful ways.

The Marie Antoinette’s and Barbara Bush’s need to both be treated equally. The time for “peasant revolt” is NOW.

Viva Le Revolution!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disfunctional Banking - one red flag at a time

I am typing this today having had only one cup of coffee and seriously needing another pot or 3 to get my blood moving around my body in a serious "capable of performing simple tasks" sort of way. This is my excuse for what will probably be disjointed and incapable of being followed logically.

Shaddup, Piston - it is NOT always like that. Just mostly.

So! I've had a number of issues PROBLEMS with banks in past. The majority of them have been with business accounts - the only personal account problem had to do with Harris Bank deciding to put a "service charge" on savings accounts that didn't meet their "minimum balance" requirements.

Now, I dunno about you, but my savings are in 2 diff. categories. Retirement savings that I can NOT ever touch ever ever ever ever for any reason ever ever ever, and savings for STUFF.

The savings for stuff account starts small, then gradually builds up until it is big and I spend it all on something like a new car or remodelling the bathroom or suchnot, at which time it goes back to real small and works it's way up to big again - rinse, repeat.

Harris Bank, however, did not like this idea. So they started to charge me $7.50 every month if my balance was below $350. They did, however, give me interest on my savings. At the rate of like 0.0000005%/annum. So the upshot was that I'd get my statement, and I'd have $0.02 interest and $7.50 in bank fees. I was literally PAYING them to steal my money. The part that REALLY cracked me up was the dumbfounded look on the face of the bank agent when I went to close my account - he just couldn't fathom WHY it was that I had a PROBLEM with that.

That's really the only personal banking problem I've had, and switching banks certainly solved it. I've had a few "we miss you" mass mailers from them, but I just chuck them into the trash and ignore it. Of course they miss me... DUH!! I'm sure they'd LOVE to get their greedy mitts back on my cash. Probably would use it to pay some fucking MBA middle-management-tard a big undeserved bonus, the asswipes.

At work, I've had a few problems, but most of them were simple and easily solved... until I started working for my Most Excellent Employer.

Do not for a moment think this is a jab at my Most Excellent Employer - heaven's no! None of the incidents that have happened over the last 5 years, involving TWO different banks, has been my Excellent Employer's fault. Sometimes it's not even been OUR bank's fault. But nonetheless, I've had more, and more INTERESTING problems with banks in this job than I've ever had before in the entirety of my Loooonnnngggg working life. (I'm old. I am going to die soon - be nice to me.)

The work problems have been much more spectacular. An interesting example:

Sent a payment for a HUGE sum of money - (to me, huge is anything over 10K, and this was much, much, much more than that.) - to VendorB (not to be confused with VendorX from a previous post) in payment for a number of huge invoices. Note: Huge is pretty much a standard unit of measure in my bizarro world, k?

About 2 weeks later, I get a call from VendorB looking for payment. I cheerfully (yeah, right) give them the payment information and they go away happy.

About 2 more weeks later, I get another call from VendorB - they haven't gotten the payment yet. Now, this is a bit unusual, as their remittance address is to a "Lockbox" - which is usually much faster getting the cash to the vendor. Just so happened that I'd gotten my bank statement that day, so I checked - and the bank statement said that the check had cleared several weeks ago. I told VendorB this, and they determined to check with their bank.

Later that day I got another call from them - No, their bank had no record, blah, blah... Can I send copy of front and back of the cancelled check? Of course I can. This is S.O.P., and the major reason that for years and years I would put all returned checks into numerical order and file them along with a copy of the bank statement in the fireproof safe. Now banks make you beg for a copy of F&B of checks. Asshats.

Anyhow. I sent them the copy. Oh - did I mention that it was kind of odd that a business check sent to a lockbox had a SIGNATURE endorsement? **Red Flag #1**

Yes, Gentle Reader (and you too, Piston) - the check had been stolen in the mail, or from the lockbox, or something - and then "endorsed" and CASHED by someone. The check was for more than many people make in a YEAR. How that bank could have allowed it to be cashed is purely amazing.

Took us over 6 months to resolve it. Eventually one of the involved banks (never knew if it was their bank, or ours that had to swallow the insurance claim) gave the money back to us, we re-paid the vendor with a check that was overnight Fedex'ed to them AT THEIR CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS - no more "lockbox" nonsense. "Mission Accomplished"

(more later - yes, there are more examples.)