Monday, July 30, 2007

The Dominos Continue to Fall

A short while after Michelle left for work, a thought occurred to me:

"What is the minimum balance we need to retain in our savings account per our agreement with the bank?"

I was so proud of myself! I called our local branch, gave them my account number and asked them.

"Two hundred dollars," came the reply.

Sweet! We'd be leaving at least twice that much on deposit until the VISA transfer could come through.

The phone rang. It was Michelle; she just happened to think about the very same thing!

Proudly, I told her that I had just called the bank and they said the minimum balance for our account is $200.

"That's funny," Michelle replied. "I remember it as being $750."

Spider sense is once again tingling. Even though I just called the bank and was told otherwise, Michelle is usually inerrant about these sort of things. I promised I would double-check at the teller's window before I made any withdrawals.

I was lulled into a false sense of well-being when I arrived at the bank with three-year-old in tow to find I could walk right up to the teller without waiting in line (or "on line" if you like to use that phraseology.)

I asked the teller to check my savings account and verify the minimum deposit requirements.

"Three hundred dollars," came the reply.

Uh oh! This doesn't match what I was told an hour before.

"Say, could you double-check that," I asked. "In fact, here's my checking account number, too. Does one influence the other?"

After tapping some computer keys, she came back with, "Oh, you have one of our older account packages. We don't offer this any more, so I'll have to get some help here."

The help turned out to be a sit-down with an accounts manager in her office. Again, the three-year-old is in tow, and she's getting antsy.

"Ah, yes, Mr. Davison, you have one of our old "Valliant SuperNova" accounts (I forget what she called it) and we no longer offer that anymore," she said as she was rifling through some dusty manuals. "It says here you have to keep $750 on deposit to avoid a monthly service charge of $11.95."

See? Michelle is always right about these things!

At this point Mariel is knocking over paperclips, wrinkling papers and causing a certain amount of attention-sapping mayhem.

"Oh, I don't mind!" said Ms. Account Rep. "I have one just about that age, so I'm used to it. Now, Mr. Davison, are you happy with your current home mortgage? Would you like a home equity loan? "

Sweet spirits of ammonia! Is there no one in Fayetteville trying to sell me something I don't want?

"Ma'am, we refinanced our mortgage four years ago and I don't want any kind of loan," I simpered. "What can do about my 'outdated' account package?"

"Oh, well, I can switch you over to our 'Free Checking' plan. That way, you can decouple your savings account and need only keep a $300 balance in it."

"Swell, " I replied. "let's do that."

At this point Mariel had pulled a huge "Afro" fight-wig from behind this lady's credenza and was parading around the office with it.

"Ha ha! Oh, she found the wig I wore when we dressed up as the Jackson Five last Halloween," laughed the Rep.

I'm entrusting my money to these people?

She set about clackity-clacking the keyboard to switch me over.

"Oh," she said. "I just thought of something. With this new account, you won't be getting your cancelled checks mailed back to you with your statement. Will that be a problem?"

Bam! My head hit her desk. Michelle is very vigilant about stapling certain cancelled checks to certain receipts. This could be a deal breaker.

"Oooh," I groaned. "I'll have to check with my wife. You're open tomorrow, right?"

"No, sir," replied the account rep. "Tomorrow's Saturday and we're no longer open on Saturdays."

"I'll have to get back to you," I mumbled as I grabbed my young perpetual-motion machine of a daughter.

I stumbled out of the bank and drove home to call Michelle at work. I laid out the most recent unforeseen twist. Would the lack of cancelled checks scotch changing over the account?

She was fine with that. (We'd have to finally set up an on-line account so we could view scans of the cancelled checks, so there was that much of a consolation prize.)

I made a decision then and there.

We'll go ahead with the checking account update, but there have been too many unpleasant surprises this morning. We're going to wait until we can do that VISA checking account transfer so that we have the cash in-hand before we buy anything.

Michelle agreed.

All that remained to do was call Mel at lunch time and let him know...
Dominos: GAME OVER!

Armed with my decision to hold off on our car purchase until the VISA transfer embargo has been lifted, I called the car lot, as promised.

Mel: Hello, [Insert Name Here] Motors.

Me: Hello, is this Mel?

Mel: Yes it is!

Me: Hi, Mel. This is Craig Davison, the guy who looked at that 2000 Taurus last night.

Mel: Oh, hello, Mr. Davison. So, how do we stand?

Me: Well, Mel, it turns out I won't be able to get my hands on that money for another thirty days. So go ahead and sell that car to someone else and I'll look you up once I have the cash in hand.

Mel: Um, may I ask what went wrong that you're not able to get the money?

Me: (I'm getting pissed here, folks.) No, that's my business. I'll look you up in a month once I have the money.

Mel: Well, could I make a suggestion?

Me: (Forcefully) No thanks, Mel. I don't want any more of your suggestions. I'll look you up once I have the money. Good Bye. (click)

Whew! Well, at least that's over.

Ring! Oh, there's the phone.

Me: Hello.

Mel: Hello, Mr. Davison. This is Mel. Listen, I think...

Me: (That bastard star-69'd me! It's Clobberin' Time!!!!) Listen, Mel. I don't want any more of your suggestions on how I can finance this purchase. I don't want a loan, I want to pay cash, understand?

Mel: But, I think we could... (At this point, he started to babble, non-stop, like some sort of chipmunk cartoon character. I pulled the receiver away from ear and practically swallowed the mouthpiece.)

Me: Listen. I don't want your so-called "interest-fee" loan. I don't want to take out a home equity loan. I want to pay cash. Cash! And you know what? I'm not coming back to your lot! You got that, Mel? I AM NOT COMING BACK TO YOUR LOT! I AM NEVER SETTING FOOT IN YOUR LOT AGAIN, MEL! YOU BLEW IT, MEL! BLEW IT! NOW, L-E-A-V-E M-E A-L-O-N-E!!!!

I hit the hang-up button and that has been the last I've heard from Mel.

What a week. All this and I still don't have a car!

Yeah, it'll be inconvenient to muddle through with one car for a month, but I don't think it's anything that will kill us.

And you know what?

They've been making cars for, like, a hundred years now. I'm pretty certain there will be plenty of used cars still on the market come the end of August.

Well, that's my car shopping saga to-date. Now, maybe I can get back to blogging about something more wholesome.



Blogger Unknown said...

I'm sorry man. I have to tell you though I'm still laughing over the Michael Jackson wig thing. I don't often actually "laugh out loud" reading blogs but that cracked me up

July 31, 2007 12:56 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ugh. Toddlers and banks. They just don't mix. Not at all. I'm usually willing to agree to ANYTHING at a bank if I have my boy just to get the whole process moving faster so I can leave.

July 31, 2007 12:57 AM  
Blogger CS said...

Good God, you have sure been through the ringer with this car thing. I'm sorry. And Dorky Dad's right, but I'd take it farther - toddlers and anything public can be a trial.

July 31, 2007 11:35 PM  
Blogger AngelConradie said...

ha ha- he already spent his commission and you got mel into a panic!
doesn't it drive you berserk when the banks can't do anything quickly in this new electronically driven age!!?!?

August 12, 2007 3:32 PM  

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