Max Made The List

I keep two lists – one is entitled ” Moderate Desires ” and one is ” Untouchables “. They correspond to a ” Bucket List ” and a ” F***it List “. I edit them occasionally and this week I added Max.

Max is henceforth an Untouchable, which is quite a humorous thought considering from whence he has come. He would probably not be pleased to hear it, as his caste was possibly somewhat higher back in his Old Country.

My episode with him in the bank where he works has finally convinced me that dealing with his form of rigid and demanding official behaviour is dangerous for my health – if I avoid all contact with him I will feel better. But like any unpleasant experience, there is a seed of self-improvement there. I can benefit from it.

In the future I will strive to make sure that I am less pedantic to others – if they are in need or concerned about something, I will listen to them and not compel them to listen to me. I will not threaten them with bureaucracy to force them to obey me. I will be kind, without  acting like an Indian traffic cop with a badge and a stick.

I’m not sure I can honestly thank Max for pushing my button so thoroughly, but I shall make sure that it is not within his reach in the future.

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The Easiest Way To Remit Money To The Moon

I note that there is an advertisement current on Instagram that seeks to have me send money to the Philippines. It does so by telling me that it is easy. If ease were the chief consideration, I could point out that I have a pair of scissors in the desk and can cut cash up into small fragments and blow it out the window. To much the same benefit.

I understand that there are perfectly legitimate reasons for sending money to Manila, or Managua, or Memphis, for that matter. Relatives. Rent. Ransom. I would be the last to stop people from pursuing international trade. But I am also equally sure there are perfectly normal agencies to do this that do not involve Instagram , Twitter, or Gofundme…or any other such marginalia. I also include the Indian grocers and 7-Eleven operators with money transfer signs on their windows in this category.

Folks, ANY bank in any shopping centre can do it, with a paper receipt for you and a real live teller behind a window that you can return to if you are worried. Your money may be destined to be tamped down a tropical rat hole when it gets there, but if you are dealing with the Commonwealth Bank or Westpac, or the ANZ you can at least be sure it will arrive at the rathole intact.

 

” This Is A Courtesy Call…”

I was standing in a store when my pocket phone rang.

” Hello, this is Bankwest. Am I talking to Richard? ”

My name is Richard and I agreed that the young woman was indeed talking to me. She asked me whether I would be prepared to identify myself in the store. That’s a rather unusual thing to say…and she was just a voice on a pocket phone…

She said it was just a courtesy call. I asked whether there was something amiss with my bank accounts. She declined to say, but asked me to call at a Bankwest branch, where she would send details of the call.

You want to panic? Try panicking about your bank accounts. I’ve been hacked through Mastercard before and I realise that it is well to jump on these things as soon as they are flagged. I said I would go to my normal local branch immediately…and took off in the car.

The official at the bank took my security passwords and we agreed that I was me and he was him; then we looked at the accounts. All was well…there was no need to  panic…whatever courtesy was intended in the original telephone call was probably some form of marketing idea that they compel junior staff to do…

Note for the future: I would readily identify myself to a recognisable police officer, local or AFP. I would do so to a recognisable magistrate or judge. I would identify myself to a recognisable Australian Defence Forces officer or warrant officer, if we were on Commonwealth property at the time. Other than that, my identity and any proof thereof, will be my own business.

Careful, BW. Your girl was indeed courteous, if a little mysterious, and your branch staff member was helpful, but there is a limit to what you should do in the marketing snoop line.

Please Verify Your Password

I used to be terrified of Soviet bombers appearing over the northern horizon. They would be  bringing death and destruction to all I knew. Then times changed and they wouldn’t. It was a relief but by then I had built up a good reserve of anxiety and needed a release for it.

I’ve found it. Now I can be terrified of someone asking me for my password.

And everyone does. From the bank to the computer shop to the makers of everything that I own and everything I do – they all want a password. I’ve been tempted to give them all the same one, but this is apparently a bad thing. If I did they could all get access to my data and…wait a minute…they all have access to my data right now…for all I know they could be sitting in the cyber equivalent of a dark tavern and plotting to over throw my regime. Just as well I don’t have one…

An older person forgets. It is a fact of life. An older person forgets. Frequently they repeat themselves. An older person forgets. I gotta pee…

No, seriously, the profusion of personal passwords is a curse. I can see the utility of it with a bank account – and I DO remember mine. But I also see the folly of having one password for the on-line enquiries and a separate one for the over-the-counter dealings. When you combine this with words for computer programs that you may need to reset, it makes for a nightmare. Many of us oldies actually delete the apps and avoid the sort of contact that requires a password. Things are missed out altogether as just too much flaming trouble to do.

Answer? One password. The bad idea mentioned before. I have one in mind that can stay in my mind and be unique to me in all the minds of the world. I plan to change the rag-tag of all the other passwords to it, and then use it exclusively. The only other word I’ll keep is the one that locks my bank account – it too is unique in all the world.

BGAcoin – The Crypto Currency That’s Gentle On The Stomach

Are you ready to become rich? Are you ready to become famous? Are you ready to become legendary?

Are you ready to lose your shirt?

Well, now is your time. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia has just prepared its first $ 500,000,000 of BGAcoin and it is ready to be mined. And the good news is you do not need to understand economics, bitcoins, cryptocurrencies, or bunko games to join right in. The BGA is ready on the line to take your money right now…no questions asked.

You may be a little wary of the whole cryptocurrency thing…though if you are like most middle-class people you would be loath to admit it. After all, who wants to be Left Out – or worse – left out of the barbecue conversation when crypto currency conversation starts up. Fear not – the only thing you will be left out on with BGAcoin is a limb…to dry.

You may have heard a great deal about how secure cryptocurrency is because it used a block chain. The people who invented this will tell you how good it is. No problemos. They will be able to explain how secure it is until you lose interest in the question and go into a daze. The BGAcoin designers are ready on the other side of the daze to assist you to spend.

Now about when you will be getting that million. As Joh Bjelke-Petersen used to say ” Don’t you worry about that, Girlie…” and wasn’t he always right in the end? The BGA will see you right. She’ll be apples. No worries, mate. Bewdy. Bonza. Coo-ee.

And finally, remember that you will be taking your place in history with all the investors who speculated in tulip bulbs in Holland, in ventures with the South Sea Company, or in basketball cards. It’ll be a cheap enough way to ensure that you are remembered far into the future, even after you are forgotten. People may point at you and laugh, but at least they will notice you for a short time.

And isn’t that what money is all about?

 

The Valley Of The Shadow Of Debt

I am astounded at the literature that floods into our mail box that promotes and endorses indebtedness. It seems as though it is written in English, but is entirely divorced from the roots of the culture.

I look back at the folk sayings and aphorisms of earlier times:

Franklin:           ” A penny saved is a penny earned “.

” Rather go to bed without dinner than rise in debt “.

Folk saying:       ” Out of debt, out of danger “.

Emerson:             ” A man in debt is so far a slave “.

The pamphlets and letters would have me borrow money from powerful institutions so that I might possess a boat, or a luxury car, or go on holidays to Europe. I should borrow this, incurring a solemn legal debt, and then be required to give them guarantee of my house or other possessions against a repayment – a repayment that would command a fee that is 20 times the interest rates paid on bank savings.

I have been sent a plastic card that allows me to run up a debt that is equivalent to half my annual income – upon much the same basis. It is tough plastic but fortunately you can cut it into pieces with tin snips.

I am immensely lucky in several things; a loving family, a secure house, a modest capital. I am also lucky in the fact that as I get older the desires for debt-trap goods has reduced to practically zero. I regard boats with no interest, I have an adequate little car, and I can see all the Europeans I want in Melbourne, the city of Stirling, or the Swan Valley. Fine dining for me is my own cooking and as I am retired, every day is a holiday. I should not flaunt smug in the face of my friends, but I will certainly do so in the face of financial institutions that wish to enslave me.

The Fountain Pen – Dear Sir…

Dear Sir,

Enclosed please find my cheque for $ 89.43 in payment of your invoice number 567 dated the 5th of January, 2018. Please return the receipt to the above address.

Yours faithfully,

And another piece of business is done. Provided the cheque has the correct date, payee, amount and numbers, and has been signed correctly…and provided that there is money in the account to cover it…the invoice should be paid for and the debt discharged. Well done.

The business of business is rarely taught in the historical style these days – and so much of the flow of money and words is done electronically that the young may pass into their legal majority ignorant of the correct forms of address and attention that business requires. While it is true to say that business comes down to demand and supply, and these can be done with barely civil forms of communication, there is social judgement inherent in even the simplest exchanges. In short, if you write like berk, you will be treated like a berk.

Let me de-berk you.

If you write to demand a payment, write clearly who you are, and where you are. Give the date when the demand is made and detail the reason for which it is made. ie the invoice number. If there are governmental numbers such as an ABN number or other taxation details, list them and tell the person that it is a tax invoice. This is law.

Being polite is also law, though only upon a social basis. If you are polite initially you will have no reason to apologise if further demands become stiffer. Also remember that an invoice, statement, or demand for payment passes through many hands and they will all judge you. You are not obliged to please or flatter, but you must not offend.

If you write to tender a payment, say what it is for in clear detail. Many offices have a great deal of business in hand and appreciate a quick route to the correct spot in their records. Help them to find it, and they’ll help you to get your receipt faster. You’ll also be marked down mentally as a reliable person with whom to do business – a valuable thing.

Note that it is also good manners to proffer a note of payment even if your transfer of money occurs via Direct Debit. Oh, they’ll see that you paid in the bank statements, but seeing it also as a letter is good communications.

And good communications make for a continuance of good business.