Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I'd been living in the sticks, bringing up my children. During this time I'd been completely out of contact with other grown-ups - being married to the-man-who-didn't-believe-in-telephones (see previous postings).
I wanted to phone my old friend Carla. But I didn't have her number. I DID have her husband's number at his place of work however. Rob (the husband) was a pharmacist and so I phoned the pharmacy. We chatted a bit and then he gave me the home number saying, "I know Carla will be home; the dishwasher broke so she's waiting there for the repair man. He was meant to come first thing in the morning but he's not there yet. She's in a BAD mood."
What came over me? I know full well what it's like to be waiting home for a repairman from a large company. But all humanity left me when I phoned Carla who had not heard a peep from me for over ten years.
"Hello," I said when she answered, realizing she was unlikely to recognize my voice after so long a period. "Is this Mrs Strongarm?" "Yes," she answered.
"This is the dishwasher company," I replied. "I am calling to inform you that we no longer service your model. You will need to throw it out and buy another one."
Dead silence. I panicked. Had she had a heart attack? Become catatonic?
"Carla, it's me. Kate!" I yelled.
"Bitch!" she replied.
In the long run, life is fair. I have to tell you dear Carla - today was payback time for yours truly.
Today I decided to see how much I could borrow to finance a rental property (see A Room with a View).
First I called Wells Fargo. I'd had my first mortgage in America there and it was all paid out. Impeccable references. The loan was mine.
I was on hold for a hundred years and then I got a "Jason". I should have known. I have written about customer service reps called Jason before. BUT - they used to exist only in Australia. O my god - are they spreading, multiplying?
However Jason turned out to be OK. He told me I had gotten through to the wrong department and that he'd put me through to the right one. After a few centuries I was put on to an "Andy". Maybe it was because I misheard and thought his name was "Randy" and kept calling him that - but whatever - Andy-Randy insisted on getting ALL my details and then told me, "Wrong department." There ensued a number of other wrong departments till I got Paul. Paul was a real man. And human as well. He cut the bullsh*t and told me it didn't matter how much I owned, earned, where I wanted to buy - I could only borrow $480,000 or 68% of the property value. Wells Fargo policy on investment properties.
Not what I wanted but at least he was honest and didn't say I was at the wrong department.
Next stop ING. I have a few accounts with ING. I didn't really expect they'd have different lending policies than Wells Fargo, but better to be sure, so I called.
I was on hold for a few decades when a "Peter" came on the line. "Hello I am Peter and I am happy to help you," blah blah...
So I explained that I wanted to borrow money to purchase an investment property in New York.
Pause and then.
"Oh so you want to borrow money to buy a rental property and you want to borrow from ING," said Peter.
"Noooo," I drawled, "I have called ING because I want to borrow from the toilet."
He hung up.
I'm not meant to be a landlord.
As MJ said, "I think I told you, I'm a lover not a fighter."
And I'm sorry Carla!