Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Criminals are Made

I never want to move again! It's not the sorting, packing, cleaning loading, unloading, unpacking, cleaning, etc that I have decided I never want to do again (though it's not a process I'd do for entertainment). It's the thought of going through all the flippin' paperwork.

So far it's taken us three full days to deal with the endless letters, forms and examinations. When did they start requiring a colonoscopy and a full body scan to get a post office box key and a new account at the credit union? (Thanks Dubya!)

At the post office our ID was unimportant. We could have been the advance scouts of Ghenghis Khan's army and they'd not have been concerned. But they suspected we were prevaricating when we told them where we live. With steely eyes and grim expressions they "checked the book" to make certain that the street we told them we lived on actually existed in their municipality.

Then they checked to see that there was a postal drop box at the location indicated and that it covered our "alleged" address. They checked our site rental receipt and declared it unconvincing and unsubstantiated evidence. Despite having the park name, address and phone number, our name, our site number and the signature of the park manager on it, it was inadequate to convince them to part with their precious postal box key.

They required an official letter from the park owner, reassuring them that we were permanently parked on their doorstep. This took a further ten days to acquire, and we had to go through the same interrogation process all over again. Every clerk in the place had to look over both us (hmmmm) and our letter. After 15 minutes of muttering and consultations they consented to allow us a box and key. Then they turned sunny as daffodils and chatted us up like we were all childhood next-door neighbours.

Then we went across the street to the credit union. The woman at the desk looked at us over her glasses and asked for 17 pieces of ID, blood samples and pedigree charts back to our grandsires. She looked over the stack of ID we'd brought and said of her demands (which we could not meet), "This background check is necessary. Everyone knows that the criminals choose small town banks and credit unions to launder their money." (Sheesh, you could launder every red cent we own in a salad bowl.)

By now I was feeling the need to check the mirror to see if somehow I'd morphed into a Hoochie Mama or a Harley Queen. Tony looked the same as ever, slightly myopic, bald as an egg, a little paunchy, and somewhat disheveled after wrestling with the guardians at the post office counter.

I guess we looked the part of the career criminals Ms. Credit Union has personally known and prosecuted. Maybe we resembled the masterminds of some diabolical plot! Two wrinklies, overweight and grey, schlepping into the credit union in our crocs and elastic-waist jeans seeking to defraud the nation. And she and her supervisor were absolutely certain we didn't live where claimed to. According to them, no such address exists, because they don't have their computer set up to accept site numbers. (This is the opposite of "I think, therefore I am". This was "We doubt, therefore you ain't!) She said, "Anyone who comes in and gives us an address like that doesn't know what they are talking about."

She wouldn't give us a joint account because Tony doesn't have a valid driver's license. Well, why would he? He can't see two feet in front of his nose and he hasn't driven in almost 20 years! He applied for a BC ID card three months ago but it's never arrived, and the application itself is not good enough for the citizen protectors of the financial system. All his other ID meant nothing. Passport? Has a photo but it's too old! Canadian citizenship papers? BC Medical card? Birth Certificate? No photos.

We endured the questioning. We cooperated with the authorities like the passive Canadians we are. After removing her latex gloves with a snap, and allowing us to resume our seats, Ms CU marched off to check our credit rating. Apparently you'd better have a good one or they send you and your potentially treacherous money packing. She finally allowed me to open an account, but my husband is not on it. He is persona non identifiable according to the credit union.

We reeled out of the credit union and down the street to face a new pharmacist. We couldn't believe it when they offered to fill our prescriptions, deliver them later in the day and put them on account, which we could settle whenever we were around again. I went weak in the knees and almost cried on the spot.

My tears (of joy anyway) were premature. When they delivered Tony's prescription the dosage was wrong. We had gone to the doctor in Oliver before we moved to get a new prescription for Tony. We asked (at the specialist's suggestion) that the dosage be increased.

No problem said the doctor, tapping his foot and looking at his watch. This is three-minute appointment Freddy. Every appointment is a "quickie" but not half so much fun. He never writes notes, and after a year and a half still does not recognize either of us, or remember anything about our medical histories, although he did say to me once, "Oh, you're the one with that weird stuff." We won't miss him. That day, after a minute of discussion he said, his usual, "Whatever..." like a bored 15-year-old and printed Tony a new prescription increasing the dosage.

We photocopied the prescription for our records and took it to the pharmacy to be filled at a later date. But when the medication came from the pharmacy a few days ago the dosage was wrong. I called and asked why. They said the pharmacy in Oliver had made a notation to halve the dose.

The pharmacy here called the pharmacy there and asked why the notation. They said they noticed the increased dosage and called the doctor to make sure that was what he intended. He said no, and hence the notation. (sigh)

I called the doctor's office and they said to come in. I said we've moved and I can't come in. I asked her to talk to the doctor and get it fixed, because I can't drive 100 miles to spend three minutes with him when he can fix it by simply calling the pharmacy. So far this is unresolved. He's probably trying to remember who we are, but not very hard.

I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning writing and printing letters to various governmental agencies telling them we have moved. The credit union called to say we can't live where we say we live, and we can't get mail at that address. I felt like asking her who delivers the mail, the post office who gave us the address or the credit union? I told her 100 of our neighbours get mail at the same drop box, call the post office and sort it out with them. They can examine each other's colons, mine is still a bit tender.

I am still hacking and blowing like a surfacing orca. I am grumpy, aggravated and feeling very un-Buddha-like. If I drank I'd be after a big bottle of something strong and stupifying. As it is a glass of water will have to do, but I am eyeing that bottle of codeine-laced cough syrup on the counter. Worse, I found a dime which got left in a pocket and went through the wash/dry cycle. Drugs and money-laundering. This is a clear-cut case of the credit union lady's worst expectations fulfilled.

You'd have to get a crowbar under me before I will move again.


Anonymous said...

Your frustration is relatable. I must say however you wrote it with such bitter humour I was on the floor Laughing Out Loud or was that Laughing My A** Off?

Had I known you bought The Beach House to launder money I would never of sent that pair of stinky is alright...maybe they will go to the lass at the Credit Onion?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see that you moved to such an inhospitable town. We moved to Nelson, BC 4 years ago and everyone has been so helpful (po, bank, credit union, doctor, neighbors).

At the bank our new accounts person even told us a genuine Nelson story while she was setting up our account: recently a fellow came to the bank and want to open a new account with 25' cash. She asked where the $ came from (money laundering regs as you mentioned) and he said - why from my harvest. Argh, says the bank person, surely you know that we can't accept money that shade of green. But why says he - I just sold my crop over the border, I earned this money.

A true Kootenay story.

PS he didn't get an account - at least not that bank, that time...

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb, sorry you are experiencing such frustrations. I thought that Summerland would have been a friendlier town than that. You should never have left the Wine Capital.

Trying to argue with authority is a bit like swimming in porridge, you work like H--- and get nowhere.

Lucky you, you left Oliver before the Great Postal Change, took place. some (obviously bored) woman has decided to change all the RR numbers in Oliver. We used to be RR1, but are now RR4. Three miles away, by Tuc-el-nuit lake, they used to be RR3, but now they are also RR4. Guess what, we all have the same site numbers, so getting the mail is a rather slow process, involving much switching of numbers and writing of notes on the envelopes. The PO then expects us to put another stamp on, so they can forward the mail to the correct address. As a result, bills are arriving too late to be paid on time and tempers are running on HOT.

When you complain to the PO, they refer you to the idiot, in Penticton, who did all this. This is a woman who, up to now hasn't answered any of my voice mails. She probably gets fifty calls a day from frustrated patrons, and is lying low.

I hope you do sort out this mess soon. Tony must be pleased to be a 'non person', really making him feel good about himself.

take care and keep on writing your entertaining column. Pat