Tag Archives: conversations

Supper Table Conversations: Laughter

Madeline: Luke started crying because I was making him laugh.

Luke: Well it hurts when I laugh.

Madeline: Luke, laughter is good medicine.

Me: They say laughter is the best medicine, Madeline. “It’s good for what ails ya,” as Opa used to say.

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Luke: Is it good for eczema?

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Me: No, but good question, Luke.

Madeline: What does “ails” mean?

Me: “Ails” means something that makes you sick or hurts you.

Madeline: Well, laughter ails Luke, so…

Me: Good point, Madeline. I guess laughter is the best medicine except for when laughter is the thing that is hurting you.

Evening conversations (England edition)

(I should add, by way of making sense of this conversation, that we are flying first class, where we will enjoy a variety of complimentary things.)

Me: [with some excitement] “I wonder what movies they’ll have on the airplane.”

Dixie: “How many times are you going to ask that? I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Me: “Have I asked it before?”

Dixie: “Several times.”

Me: “Well, I’m excited. Free movies! Free booze! Do you know what this means?!”

Dixie: “Yes. You’ll have to drink $8,500 worth of alcohol each way to get your money’s worth.”

Like a child

At the supper table today, the kind of honesty you rarely get between adults:

Madeline: From the side your head looks like it’s really skinny.

Me: Does it?  But I really have a fat head?

Madeline: Well, you have sort of a fat head.

. . .

Madeline: You should really dress up as Santa Claus for Halloween.

Me: Why?

Madeline: Because your belly is so jiggly when you do this.  [she pats her belly]

This call may be recorded

Part of my job is to pay out people’s mortgages when they sell their homes.  I request a payout statement in advance, but some banks or some mortgage types require confirmation of the payout amount on the day you plan on paying.  Today I called a bank to do just that.  (This bank has, confusingly, individual departments for several different loan types).  But I got to where I needed to get (through the phone menu) and had the following conversation:

Bank: [monotone, grumpy-sounding guy] Thank you for calling This Bank*.  My name is Roger Q. Bankguy, how can I help you?

Marc: Hi, I’d like to confirm a mortgage payout.  I’ll give you the mortgage number—I mean, loan reference number?

B: Hold on.  Is this a mortgage?  Or a Loan With A Name Unique To This Bank?

Marc: I pushed the “loan” button.  It’s a loan.

B: You said “mortgage”.

Marc: I meant “loan”.

B: I can only go by what you say.

[I said loan.]

Marc: You want the loan number?

B: OK.

Marc: 12345-6789

B: Just a minute

[I’m put on hold]

B: Which province are you calling from?

Marc: Saskatchewan.

B: Can I have that number again?

Marc: 12345-6789.  Do you want the transit number?

B: No, that’s fine.

Marc: It’s for Mrs. Jane Q. Pu—

B: Yep.

Marc: I’m looking for an updated payout amount.

B: I can’t give you the actual amount owing.

Marc: It says on your payout statement that I should call you to confirm the payout amount.

B: I can only confirm a number.

Marc: What do you mean?

B: I can only say “Yes” or “No” to a number you give me.

Marc: OK. . . The amount for September 1st, according to your payout statement, was $76,543.21.

B: No, I don’t have that here.  That’s not the right amount.

Marc: OK.

B: You have to add in the per diem.

Marc: OK.  Hold on [quick interest calculations] How about $76,553.21?

B: No, I don’t have that amount here.

Marc: You can’t just give me the payout amount for tomorrow?  Your payout statement says in big, bold letters that I should call the bank to confirm the payout amount.

B: I can only confirm a number you give me.

Marc: Can I give you another number, then?

B: Well. . . I can only stay on the line for so long.  You can’t just throw out random numbers.

Marc: It’s not random numbers, I’m just adding another day’s interest.

B: OK, go ahead.

Marc: How about $76,563.21?

B: No, I don’t have that amount here.

Marc: *Exasperated sigh* OK, thank you.

*Click* (firmly)

* * *

When Dixie read this conversation she said, “It did say ‘confirm'”, implying that saying so doesn’t mean they’ll give me an amount.  But how does that even make sense?  If they are just confirming an amount I give them, the odds are against me getting it right.  Unless I get the number exactly right, they will say “No, that isn’t right.”  So what’s the point of calling at all?

Last summer I spent probably 15-20 minutes on the phone with this same bank trying to get through to someone in a particular department: menus without the options I’m looking for, which leads to someone in the wrong department, who puts me through to the right department, who can’t find the file, who puts me through to another department, and so on.

And you know what they all say?  “We’ve made some changes to our system to improve your banking experience.”  FALSE.

There’s another bank running the following advertising slogan: “You’re richer than you think.”  Also false, unless I’m crazy and credit debt is actually wealth.  It drives me nuts every time I see it.  Could there be a more misleading and financially destructive slogan?

*grumble grumble*

Anyway. . .

*Names and numbers have been changed to protect the identity of those who were involved.  Except my name.  My name is staying the same. . .  and. . . I am. . . completely exposed.