When an email comes in with one word on the subject line that says “Priceless!” I do not set it aside to read later. This is a day brightener that outshines many day brighteners. I loved every word since it was written by a well-seasoned lady like me. I would love to know the woman who wrote it — she is my kind of people. Here is this choice piece of “Priceless” writing, sent to me by local reader John Reeder, of South Beach.
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This is an actual letter sent to a bank by an 86-year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.
Dear Sir: I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.
I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity, which your bank has become.
From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by check addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an application contact, which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.
Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be counter-signed by a notary public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course, at my convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:
Immediately after dialing, press the star (*) button for English.
#1. To make an appointment to see me.
#2. To query a missing payment.
#3. To transfer the call to my living room, in case I am there.
#4 To transfer the call to my bedroom, in case I am sleeping.
#5. To transfer the call to my toilet, in case I am attending to nature.
#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone, if I am not at home.
#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that authorized contact mentioned earlier.
#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 10.
#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.
#10. This is a second reminder to press * for English.
While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?
Signed, Your Humble Client
And remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to tick us off.
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Yep, I would love to know the lady who wrote that letter to her bank. Just think, her letter, so far, has made it into two important newspapers. Thanks, John Reeder, for making our day.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to Rotary International Foundation, is available on Amazon, at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]