The Handfull Ob Gimmee

This used to be accompanied by de mouth full of Much Oblige’. I met many people who could do the routine perfectly. That decency seems to have gone by the boards lately – the gimmee is now the only thing that takes place.

It has, at least, streamlined the handling of the pan. I suppose it was a matter of efficiency – reducing the transaction to the basics; demand and supply – without pretending to a moral or social connection. In the hands of the government charity can be made cold, smooth, and mechanical – and like any cold, mechanical object it can lay dead to the touch. This must be a dreadful thing for those who actually need it – as opposed to those who take it for fun. If the latter might be miffed at their support being delayed or retracted, the former face real disaster.

My own experience of gimmee has been mostly one-sided – the support that health funds have afforded me in times of crisis were paid for with decades of premiums, good health, and no monetary return. I suspect I won the lottery of being healthy for the most part, but it seems like I should be complaining about it…Hmmm.

A recent brush with what purported to be charity but turned out to be bureaucracy and intrusion has convinced me that there is little to be expected from organisations – at least little that cannot be obtained with a revolver and a curt note thrust through the teller’s cage.

Other charities that ask for money based upon co-religion or implied guilt can go get stuffed. Particularly if their planned use of the money is gestures and theatre – I can mewl and puke for myself at a much reduced cost.

 

 

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The Crayfish Pot

Lobster pot to the readers in Maine. The underwater fish trap that lets a crayfish in but doesn’t let it out again – until it is hauled up to the surface and boiled alive. I have just received a mild boiling by my bank.

The bait was the Mastercard that I use for so many transactions nowadays – petrol, liquor, overseas purchases, dinners, etc. My habit is to pay it off regularly once a month – pay it to the penny, and incur no interest charges.

Then in December I looked at my Mastercard statement and misread the required amount – misread it by $ 2.70 and underpaid it. In the month that has passed an interest charge has accrued of $24.70…

It’s all legal, and it sits there biting and biting and biting each day that passes. And it is what bites people into irrecoverable debt. Trapped in the crayfish pot.

I shall not take the tinsnips to the Mastercard. It can ride with me in my wallet for the emergency aid that it might be – but I am headed back to the bank with my chequebook to  pay the entire debt I owe – as of this day – and will not be using it for transactions that can be done with cash in the future.

It’s probably a $ 35 dollar lesson in economics by now…but I’ll pay it and remember.

 

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.

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?