Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Unexpected

Life’s full of little surprises—some good, some not so good. But variety is the spice of life and surprises make up some of that variety.

Wendy and I got a little surprise in our mailbox last Friday. There were two thin, postcard-size mass mailers, addressed separately to me and Wendy. Coming as it did during the Christmas season, I figured it to be some sort of advertisement.

But I was intrigued by the return address, Foreign Currency Fee Litigation Settlement Fund. I remember spending some time pulling together old credit card slips from a trip to Canada to submit for a class action lawsuit. Ordinarily I don't save credit card slips over a year old but I keep credit card slips from vacation purchases as trip souvenirs, pasting them into my trip journal (this particular trip occurred in 2005). So I filled out some paperwork and submitted it to someplace I forgot about years ago.

The wheels of justice do turn slowly but eventually it paid off for Wendy and myself. Those two non-descript mailers when torn open produced two checks for $18.04. Oh, yeah. Christmas has come early.

Not so fast, protested Wendy. How did we know this wasn’t a scam? What??? Like this check has a virus attached that’s going to siphon the funds out of our account? Wendy wanted to see proof, copies of the papers I submitted. Well, that was going to be a problem. Finding the credit card slip to a restaurant we dined at in Savannah, Georgia five years ago is a piece of cake. Finding legal documents like the deed to our house proves much more of a challenge.

But Wendy relented when I showed her on the internet how the Better Business Bureau, who responded to hundreds of similar inquiries, determined these checks not to be a hoax. I got the okay to do the deposit.

So that was unexpected, but good. Here’s something on the flip side. I arrived home on Monday to find some packages on our doorstep. I had just gathered them up and put them on a table inside, when I heard somebody insistently blowing their horn in our driveway.

My first thought was that my wife was pulling our Saturn Vue into the driveway right behind me, blowing the horn to let me know that she was home. But that really didn’t make sense as my wife is not accustomed to making such grand entrances.

I looked outside and saw no Saturn, only our year-old mini-van which was having some kind of honking fit. Why? I had no idea. But it already was drawing stares in our neighborhood, so I grabbed the remote entry key and began pressing buttons. It just kept honking.

Then I ran outside, got into the mini-van, and started it, figuring that would pacify its honking fit. No. I turned over the engine, then turned it off again. Not only was it honking at fire alarm strength decibels, the dashboard was flashing all kinds of strange lights. It’s times like this when I wish I would have read the owner’s manual.

Finally, I’d had it. I was driving to the dealer where I bought this stupid mini-van, which was only a couple miles away. I’m sure if I pulled up next to their showroom with my car, still under warranty, having honking fits, servicemen would be racing out to help. And driving over there, I imagined drivers would be clearing the road to let me by, with my car going HONK-HONK-HONK-HONK incessantly all the way. Either that, or I’d be the victim of some road rage.

But when I pulled out into the street, the honking suddenly stopped. It was as if the car was saying, “Gotcha.” *Sigh*

New saying. Instead of “More wags, less barks”, make it “More checks, less honks.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think those checks are a scam. The wife and rec the exact same checks. We have no idea why. Let us know if it worked out for ya.

8:49 PM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Yep I heard that too Dave better check it out again..Someone here got them too. Sorry bout that!
Hope your van never has a snit fit on you or that honking will seem like nothing. HAH!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS/CAROLDEE--This is from an article published in a Rochester newspaper in response to a question regarding these checks:

"She's right, it does look like a scam — I'd be worried that if I cashed it, somebody would empty out my checking account minutes later. Then again, in my case I'd come out ahead. [YIKES!!]

But in fact, the check is legit. If you were lucky enough to travel abroad sometime between February 1996 and November 2006, and you used a major credit card while you were away, and you filed a claim form in 2008, you're among the 10 million Americans who will get a refund from Master Card, Visa and Diners Club.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Perhaps it was Santa trying to pinch your mini-van...but you interrupted his attempted heist!!!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LEE--I found out what I did (yes, it was me). There's a "panic button" on my key remote. I apparently pressed it by mistake.

5:59 PM  
Blogger B.S. said...

Hey - I need a panic button! Where can I sign up for one of those vans?

I would have pushed the panic button upon the arrival of those suspicious checks!


6:05 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Thanks Dave, I needed a good laugh this morning. I did something similar with my husband's car and thought it was mine, so I had them both honking at 6:00AM. Nobody even noticed.

6:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home