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September 18, 2016

He, She, or They?

He She or They

Jeremy and others have often mentioned the “requirement” (in quotes because the laws regarding this issue probably vary by state) to cross out the irrelevant sections in a notary section. They reason that the notary is responsible to redact entries that do not “match” the person being notarized. I disagree.

In the thousands of notary sections that have my signature and seal, over a decade of doing this; not a single one has had the redactions. Not one. And, I have never been “called to task” for not completing the section properly. There is no mention in New York State law requiring such action. The model for the Acknowledgement that I use has both “he she they” and “his her their”; and is taken directly from the handbook for NY notaries. My Jurat is even simpler: Sworn to and subscribed before me by _____.

Long before “gender identity” was a news topic I concluded that I was not the person to determine the gender of affiants. If I am not the one, who is? Well, the best answer is probably the affiant. However, some may consider a medical doctor more appropriate. It could also be a Judge. I do not see it as my function, in MY statement, to declare the gender of the affiant. Now the gender identity issue has become a hot topic in the media. To me it’s a personal issue, one for the affiant to declare or not declare as they see fit. Whatever gender identity THEY say, outside of the notary section; is fine with me.

My sharp eyed critics, and they are legion; will have noticed I included “they and their” as items that I do not redact. They are thinking “surely you should delimit the notary section to one individual when multiple names are not being notarized”. Perhaps, but I offer two defenses to leaving it as is. First, the sole name, when there is only one affiant signing, is clearly entered in the notarization. Secondly, and admittedly this is a bit of a “reach” – the affiant might identify as being of dual identity. One ID, but they consider themselves two persons. Possibly one gender sometimes, different other times. Technically it’s proper for me to enter two names in the notary section when only one person is before me and taking the oath. This comes directly from the NY County Clerk office. If the affiant has two passports with a different name on each document – they have “proved” both names and “they” have the option of having each name entered on the notary section.

With the rampant rise of identity theft and similar crimes; the role of the notary has become more, not less, important in commerce. More important yes, but not of greater scope in our basic function. Many are the “notary signature only” documents I have seen included with the packages. Fortunately for me it is illegal in NY as a notary; to make statements of fact. The most common being for me to state that I have determined the identity of the affiant(s) to an absolute certainty. The State standard is to view “adequate proof” – not absolute proof. These statements by the notary will only admit you to the litigation chain if, in fact, you were conned by a good looking forgery of the ID.

But, let’s get back to the gender issue. A person is a person, nobody will refute that. We notarize people, they come in a wide variety – and it’s our job to accommodate all of them; within the bounds of our respective state codes. I leave my notarizations “open” to be all inclusive. It’s for others to decide issues of gender. It’s so easy to make false assumptions. I have asked the Sister of the affiant to sign on the Spouse line. Ouch, that was awkward for a moment. Clearly including the name, as taken from the ID is what works for me. Of course care should be taken to not provide an “open ended” notarization to which some additional name(s) can be added at a later date. As the County Clerk told me: “You notarize the name as on the ID, nothing else”. Thus, I make no determination as to he, she, or they, and leave the form alone.

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September 13, 2016

The Self Nanny-ing Notary

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:24 am

The Self Nanny-ing Notary

We all hate to be micro-managed by others. But, we really do micro-manage ourselves. We make thousands of little decisions every day. That decision making does not trouble us; it’s a natural part of our daily lives. It’s the intrusive and disruptive that we perceive as being obnoxious. Well, there is a good lesson to be learned from those “newbie” shops that recruit fledgling notaries. They, if one is open to learning from them; provide an excellent tutorial on notary/client communications. That’s an area many of us have room for improvement.

In addition to the baseline of providing a perfectly executed set of documents, you will be judged by your attention to communications. This is one area when “too much” is way better than “to little”. Some examples: I have confirmed the date, time and location with the affiant. I received the documents via email. I printed two sets, some went to letter size, and some went to legal. I have the airbill. I am leaving for the assignment (tells them that you can no longer receive an updated document). I have arrived and am with the affiant. We have completed signing. I am taking the package to the shipper. The package has been scanned and is trackable. I am sending you my W9 and Invoice. Thank you for selecting me, I appreciate your business.

All of that, every time? Of course not – but, as those are typical of the nanny shops; they show information that is meaningful to your employer. If you have a reputation, have done many jobs for them, perhaps only 2 or 3 of the above are necessary. But, if you wish to make a great start with a new client; keeping them informed is really the right thing to do. Not sure if they want a minute by minute email – ask them; let them tell you the level of communications wanted.

Most, but not all, of the example I routinely do. It’s easy with a properly set up cell phone’s email software. Result? Many comment that they like the communications. Keep in mind that even though we receive a modest fee; others are depending on us to earn their substantially larger commissions. And, they do want to know that things are proceeding smoothly. Your updates let them know that no problems have developed; otherwise you would have mentioned them. As mentioned, ask if they would prefer frequent progress updates, or just the final “signed & shipped”.

Today I had a client frantic about a package that had not been delivered on time. Fortunately, it is my custom to either scan or cell camera photograph the drop off receipt and email that with my “signed and shipped” statement. Of course when they supply the airbill they have access to the drop off location and time. However, my email with the client name (the initial “work order” that they sent to me) and the drop off image makes it much easier for them. That email from me ties the client name to a tracking number. It also puts me “out of the loop” at I can prove the drop off was punctual in relation to the signing completion time.

While I don’t permit others to micro-manage me with frequent calls, I have no problem providing very frequent status updates via email. Incoming calls are intrusive, they busy my line; possibly costing me a new assignment. Sending updates via email, short and to the point is the way to go.

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September 10, 2016

The Big Con

The Big Con

First, the “sense of urgency”.
Are you available right now, I mean immediately? I have a situation that demands instant resolution. My documents must be notarized and faxed within the hour. The attorneys are, as we speak, waiting for the notarized documents. Very big money is at stake and I will pay for you to cancel any conflicting other jobs. I cannot go into great detail, time is of the essence. How long will it take you to get to my location, only three notary stamps are required. You can also triple your routine fee. You must agree, the situation is extremely urgent and demands your instantaneous response, at any cost.

Second, a smokescreen about details.
I ask the usual what, where and when, what ID he has; and does his ID match the name on the documents. We can go over all of that when you arrive. I need you to depart now to meet me at the FedEx (location given). Instinctively I perceive a nightmare not a dream assignment. I’m not going anywhere until I have more details. I press on for the details. Mixed in with exhortations about instant departure, some details are reluctantly provided. The job is for a deed and related documents. He only mentions that he has “positive ID”, and the notarized documents were drawn by his attorney and has his name.

Third, an odd New York Requirement
My caller mentions arriving in New York solely for getting the documents notarized. Arrival from Boston was only an hour ago. I am told a story that the document can only be notarized in New York City. Now my BS sensor is full scale. Unless I can be convinced that assertion is truthful, I have been told a lie. So, I ask why only in New York City. I am told it is a requirement of the seller of the Boston property. This makes no sense whatsoever. Still intrigued by the caller’s BS, I ask specifically what ID will be shown.

Finally, the big Con is Exposed
I know you are not going to be comfortable with this but the only ID I have with me is a photocopy of my passport! Just a second, I also have my credit card. I ask: am I to understand that you just flew in from Boston, passed airport security with a photocopy of a passport and credit card? Yes, I showed them the documents, and “due to the amounts involved” they accepted my passport copy at Boston airport. My credit card paid for the flight and that was enough for them. They were more sympathetic than you seem to be about my forgetting to bring my wallet with me when I went to the airport.

Well, I now fully understand the situation. It is totally unacceptable to notarize without the original government issued photo ID. Now for some hostility, though still speaking politely. What kind of a notary are you to refuse an urgent request? Not wanting to inflame my caller, I again stress that notaries are subject to regulations; the same as police and taxi drivers – “It would be illegal for me to proceed”.

That ended my involvement with what I perceived to be a Con. Two of the most “powerful” documents that we routinely handle are POAs and Deeds. But, I submit even the most humble of notarized items require full application of all requirements. A “low level” document is a letter of recommendation for the babysitter. Really? I think not. How would you feel being drawn into a situation where your notary work assisted a “monster” obtaining access to a child; and doing something improper? Terrible, of course. Thus, it follows that each time you sign and stamp there is a risk, but that risk can be managed. Wiser heads than mine have established regulations and guidelines for us to adhere to, without exception. It’s never trivial, each notary act is serious, has potential consequences; and must follow the law, to the letter.


September 6, 2016

The Rapid Response Notary

The Rapid Response Notary

We frequently see the flashing lights and hear the wailing siren. It could be a fire truck, police car or an ambulance. They know the value of a rapid response, often minutes, sometimes seconds will make the difference between being –on time- or being late. Their systems have evolved to, in many ways; shave seconds wherever possible. They use short radio codes in lieu of lengthy verbiage. Often they send a signal to the traffic light to turn green for them. The classic image of sliding down the pole to the fire truck, so much faster than stairs; is known to all.

While our clients rarely have life threatening situations, they too desire a rapid response. Most of use endeavor to avoid our incoming calls going to voicemail; a good start. True, we make lots of calls ourselves, tying up that very important incoming line. Simple solution: use two phones; they are certainly cheap enough. One should be dedicated to incoming calls, and nothing else. The other is for outgoing calls, and those critically important email and text functions.

You just completed the signing, time to send “signed with no issues” to your client. Soon after you have just dropped off the edocs with FedEx. Being a good communicator you send a second status of “package is with FedEx, scanned, and now trackable”. But, that’s not worth setting up an external keyboard, so you “thumb” it into the tiny phone keyboard. However there is a better way. Install on your phone(s) a macro facility that can generate the standard messages, and many others. I use the “signature” facility in ProfiMail (my email program), to select the appropriate message. It took a while to setup; but now those routine messages can be sent with little effort. More importantly: they are sent moments after the event.

Possibly on your business card you list both your home and cell numbers. When you are out on an assignment and a call goes to your home phone will it be forwarded to your cell? Most phone providers allow this, and if you configure it to forward on the 5th ring, you will have plenty of time to answer the phone when home. The objective is to not have clients connect to voicemail.

I assume you use a Bluetooth hands free device with your phone. Just holding a phone while driving will qualify you for a traffic citation, and possibly a fatal accident. You have the phone mounted where it can be seen and reached easily, great. Another problem, the caller wants to give you some detailed information to write down. Most of the time I request the caller to send me the information via email, and offer my email address. But, they are driving too, or unable to text or email. That is when I ask permission to start the voice recorder in my cell phone. A quick tap of a widget on the home screen starts the recording function in Dictomate.

I prefer a separate GPS device and rarely use the one in the cell phone. At a critical turn, a “pop up” for an incoming call can be annoying. No GPS? – you become a “Delayed Response Notary” while you struggle to ask at gas stations which way to your destination. It’s a good idea to go to the right house the first time. But, the GPS does not indicate which it is in a “cluster”. That’s the time to use a powerful flashlight to find the house number; avoiding the neighbor’s guard dog!


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September 4, 2016

Manhattan Notary Ride

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:38 am

Manhattan Notary Ride

Prior to writing this blog installment I chose the 3rd assignment of the following day to chronicle. It turned out to be a routine business document at a midtown location. Like they say “getting there is half the fun”! Note: Dashboard mounted camera for hands off safety employed.

I’m going from 74th and West End Ave. to East 39th between 1st and 2nd avenues. It’s a noisy start; the garbage truck in front of me (with mechanism running and cans clanging) is silent compared to the Cadillac Escalade limo honking behind me. Slowly we advance one car length at a time. Finally at the corner, pedestrians ignoring the “don’t walk” (actually a red hand) cause me to miss the green light. Going west, about to cross Amsterdam Avenue; suddenly a delivery bike, going against traffic (illegal) cuts me off – braking hard – stop in time. A lady seizes the opportunity to push her baby carriage, against the “red hand”, again I miss my green light.

Finally, across Amsterdam, going east on 74th St., it’s narrow, only one lane. In the middle of the block a cab is pulled to the right. There is enough room to go around. I do so slowly, and am able to stop when the passenger exits on the “road” side; not the “curb” side. Got a green light at Columbus Avenue, right turn – almost. There is a “kiddy caravan” – dozens of toddlers literally tied together at the wrist to a central rope. They are taking the pre-schoolers to the park. I’m stuck in the intersection blocking the crosswalk and receive 1/5th of a “high five” from someone.

Finally on Columbus Ave, which feeds into 9th Avenue, part of my downtown route to 38th Street. It’s five lanes wide but the construction at 50th street narrows it to one lane. That area, for blocks has a terribly rough road, 15 MPH to avoid damage. Naturally the cab behind me could care less about vehicle damage – the driver does not own the cab – constant honking and flashing of high beams for me to speed up. I don’t. Now on smooth road to 38th street and a left turn. I cross 8th avenue and come to a stop. This is the theatre district and its intermission; vast crowds overflow the sidewalk into the street. They stand in the middle of the road sipping their drinks and puffing cigarettes. Fortunately the sirens of a fire truck behind me cause a path to open.

I’m crossing the Times Square “mall” area. The place is jammed with tourists gawking at the cartoon characters who, for a fee, pose for pictures. There are also some definitely “XXX” rated characters, “The Naked Cowboy” and some females only wearing high heels and body paint. It’s difficult to keep my eyes to the road ahead of me. What little I can see, there is a mass of humanity that consider the cross street part of the mall area. Finally a “white hat” law person, gender indecipherable – clears a path. Usually they only write parking tickets! I start to go but a delivery bike glides directly in front of me, breaking hard it’s a near miss. Finally I am on 7th.

Bike and turning lanes cut my downtown 7th Ave to 3 lanes, make that 2 when you count the double parked delivery trucks. Left onto 38th to York and 2 left turns to destination! All of the streets are “No Standing except for Commercial Vehicles” and even those must obtain (at $3.50 an hour) parking passes. A block away – oil truck can’t make it past double parked car. Finally arrive, elapsed time 1 hour, distance travelled 3.4 miles, gas gauge moved one line!


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September 3, 2016



I just received, in the same day, 3 emails purporting to be from Amazon. The subject said that my package had been shipped. That’s strange; I’m not expecting anything from them. Of course it was a virus; and an especially nasty variant. Ransomware encrypts the contents of your hard drive and demands payment for the password to unlock the drive. If this hits you – you only have two options. Pay it ransom and “hope” they send you the password – and not ask for more money. Or, just wipe the drive and rebuild your system from “nothing”. Depending on the specific variant, the encryption can be done using either the AES 128-bit or RSA 2048-bit encryption algorithms – which are extremely difficult to break. Put in other words, unless you have the computing power of the CIA, you can’t break the code.

Regular readers know that I have been a computer person all my life, really. My personal PC has many layers of defenses. Think of a castle: high walls, archers on the ramparts, a moat, alligators in the moat, you get the idea. Well, my system has 9 layers of defenses, and those emails were not caught till layer 7. They should have never been forwarded by my Internet Service Provider – but they were. You, yes YOU need to learn how to protect yourself – or – eventually pay the consequences. I have discussed PC protection in prior blogs and will not rehash, but rather present some new material.

With the assumption that you have a decent anti-virus program, AND it automatically keeps itself current by downloading updates – at least daily; AND you have a backup methodology – read on. Wow, that was a long sentence even for me; but those two are the most important things you can do.

Next, you need to understand that some types of attachments can be nasty. Most of the time, there might be exceptions; good old .doc files are safe, as are .txt – most of the time. Some types are poison, the very commonly sent .js or java script is the classic virus spreader. The one that attacked me was .docm that little M at the end is really, really, nasty. It stands for document with a Macro (executable code that can do ** anything ** to your computer) – just by opening it with your word processing program. Now that’s really sneaky. The little “built in” macro does not actually scramble your computer, it needs help. So, it contacts the “mother ship” and downloads the real ransomware – slick, efficient, and deadly.

To protect yourself – DO NOT BE CURIOUS. Just delete the email, I’m good with computers, I know enough to not open emails that are unexpected – NEVER. Next, make sure your PC is set to show you the file extension. When you look at the attachment does it say ClosingDocs or ClosingDocs.PDF? Learn how to configure your PC to show the “file type” – and change it to show the complete file name. Be aware that some will have, to fool you, multiple “file type” such as ClosingDocs.pdf.js – if you are not configured to see the complete file name it will appear without the final extension of .js – make sure to do this. You should not ever “hide” the file extension – there is NO good reason – it’s commonly the default to make the files look “simpler” to the casual user. Check to see if your word processor supports prohibiting some “file types” – if so configure it to either not allow .js .docm (and many others, find out which) – or to at the very least to ask you “are you sure you want to open this type of file”.

Malware that simply destroys your computer is certainly still being created by sick puppies. This up and coming threat of ransomware is growing – they can, and do receive money from their victims. When you pay, usually via money wire to an offshore location – they may or may not “honor” their commitment. Again: anti-virus up to date, regular backups, file extensions displayed, and never click a link or open an email unless you are very, very sure what it is; and/or where you are going. You probably do thousands of clicks a month – it only takes one DUMB one to literally put you in a world of grief. Don’t be curious!

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August 30, 2016

Self Notarization Landmine

Self Notarization Landmine

I’m referring to the form where you are the only person signing. Ignoring the fact that the form asks you to notarize your own statement, what it says can haunt you later. Yes, I know; you feel the statements are the absolute truth. What harm can it do? It’s not a filed document, nobody will ever see it *except* when it’s not truthful. Then can land on you like a ton of lawsuits.

Typically it has a venue, a statement (more on that later), and a place for Notary Public signature, stamp and commission number / expiration date. Sure seems like a “notary” act. But, as I said; let’s just ignore the illegality and get to the possible later grief.

I, the above described Notary Public, hereby certify that I have checked the identification of those parties who have signed before me and I have attached copies of their driver’s license(s) or other picture identification. I have verified them to be the same parties as those described in the instructions acknowledged by me. Witness my hand and official seal ……………

Lawyers love ambiguous verbiage. Here the two key words are “checked” and “verified”. Really? Just how did you do that? Are you trained in spotting a forgery? I’m not referring to a mess made on a copier. The “bad ones” just Google “fake driver license from china” and order from the site that rhymes with snowflake. I looked at their site – it scared me. For about a hundred dollars one can get a VERY good fake driver license from any state. Perhaps a police officer with real time access to police information can determine the serial number is not appropriate for the issue date or the birthdate on the document. But can you? I certainly cannot.

Thus, how can I make a statement that I certify and verify the identities? I know that is what notaries do – “check ID” – but there is a limit to our ability to detect forgeries. Some states have a specific “proof” list – the only items that can be used by the notary. Here in NY, it’s a bit fuzzy, the law requires the notary view “adequate proof” – seemingly a lower standard than verified.

I have followed articles and reviews of the “snowflake” – they have the technology to fool anybody who does not have police type access to driver license databases. It would easily pass my visual inspection. There are forgery detection manuals that go over “hidden” aspects of the various state issued licenses. I’m sure “snowflake” has a copy!

So, there is a good chance that, over the years; I have notarized by accepting a forgery. To me it was “adequate proof”; to you it was on “the list”. So where are we now? Well, I feel I followed my states laws, and so did you. The real issue is making a statement often entitled “Positive Proof Identification and Notary Signature Affidavit” that goes beyond my state requirements.

Recall the Miranda warning “anything you say can a will be used against you in a court of law”. The same admonition must apply even more strongly to things that you sign and “notarize”. I just return these forms untouched, with the exception of attaching a business card.


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August 16, 2016

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital visits present the greatest personal risk, even greater than jail visits. When you visit a prison the staff knows your personal safety is their responsibility. At a hospital you are virtually ignored. The passing of infections is an obvious key issue; both ways. If you have the slightest contagious aliment it’s best to avoid hospitals. Two main reasons: your personal defenses are reduced, and you can infect a patient, potentially with dire consequences. Most of the NY hospitals that I go to have both facemasks and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Use both, also press the elevator button with a pen; generally avoid touching things. If you ask someone they will usually give you a pair of thin rubber gloves – additional protection.

Hospital visits should always be prepaid. You should stress the potential problems and frankly inform your caller that the risks are theirs. Your fee is earned when you to go to the facility and notarize if you are permitted to do so. There may be objections by the facility, ID issues, access limitations, ability to sign, ability to understand, etc. There is a good chance your client will be named as Agent on a Power of Attorney. Persons obtaining POA authority are quite willing to pay mobile notary fees; and have a great interest in obtaining the notarized document. Though their interest is irrelevant to your go/nogo decision; it’s worth mentioning. The majority of hospital POA jobs are, in my experience; for loving, concerned relatives who want to help. Of course some wish to exploit the afflicted – it’s virtually impossible to derive their true motivation.

But, your job is to notarize, if you feel doing so would be morally and legally proper. Hmmmm, just where did morally enter into the law? There are (at least in NY State) some “judgment call” aspects. Do I feel that the affiant understands the document and consents to it? Did the ID meet the standard of “adequate proof” – perhaps the photo on the license was a long time ago. Let’s continue with your approval of the situation.

You don’t know and will not be told what their affliction is. Sometimes there will be a “facemasks required” sign on the door. You should be wearing your facemask during every visit. Also take care about having the patient use your pen. Consider leaving it in the room, or at least giving it a good wipe with the hand sanitizer, there are usually several on each floor. Usually someone else is in the room. Show them where the patient needs to sign and stay a few feet away. But, you still need to witness signing a Jurat and need to administer an oath. They can bring the document to the patient while you observe. Just be sure that “they” do not sign for the patient!

Back to your fee. Some make payment on the web site with a credit card. Others prefer to pay with cash. Cash should be collected in the lobby if possible, or call your client out of the room and settle the finances first. Recall that you carefully covered all of the possible impediments to being able to notarize. Your “payment first” policy should have been carefully covered by phone prior to any travel, when accepting the assignment. Similar to prisons, things tend to move slowly in a hospital. You may have to wait while bedding is changed, test administered, etc. My basic notary fee at a hospital is half again what the fee would be for an office or home visit. Stress openly and honestly that all “risk” is on their side – you will do the job if conditions warrant, and total legality.


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June 19, 2016

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure

Timing Changes to the Closing Process
Well, it’s bye bye time for the good old TIL and HUD. No longer will notaries be waiting for approval of the “final HUD”. Hooray. Borrowers will usually have the new Closing Statement 6 days prior to notary arrival! Less chance for a surprise at the table.
The changes to loan and closing procedures are far more than a few new documents. The biggest changes are to the closing time-lines.

The HUD-1 and Truth in Lending forms will be replaced by a new “Closing Disclosure.”

You will need to learn a new vocabulary. Some common terms are:
TRID = TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure
CD = Closing Disclosure
Consummation = Closing
CFPB = Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

Time Frames
New timing and delivery requirements will change the way we handle closings. This is the BIG news for the gang! There is new stuff to consider about timing:
The final Closing Disclosure must be delivered and received no later than 3 business days prior to closing.

If the lender sends the final documents 6 business days prior to closing, they don’t need to prove the buyer(s) receipt.

Most lenders will mail the closing disclosure 6 business days before closing. This pushes back the time frames for closing and makes it harder, if not impossible to address late breaking changes or issues in the days leading up to closing.
Fewer last minute notary requests: Lenders will have less time to get loans approved and the parties will have much more difficulty making last minute changes and adjustments.

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June 7, 2016

And Drop Off The Package

And Drop Off The Package
You did “almost” everything right. The call was logged and scheduled. You confirmed with the borrower. The signing went smoothly in every respect. All required “pick ups” were included. When you printed the docs you also printed a separate PDF with the FedEx airbill. You slip the airbill into the pouch, seal the envelope and, well prior to pickup time, the package is dropped off. Mission accomplished, check to follow.

Perhaps not, considering the rather outspoken title person making your cell phone’s speaker vibrate violently. “We got our delivery, it was not delivered; where did you leave it – at a local bar?” That’s certainly not the case. It was only yesterday afternoon; you clearly recall bringing it to the local FedEx office – NOT a street side drop box. There was a long line for the sole representative on duty at the time. Usually you hand it over the counter and ask for a “drop off receipt”. But, as this was so very routine, and the wait would be long – you slipped it into the drop box IN the FedEx office. You have done this dozens of time before, never a problem.

Without a drop off receipt to scan and email, you have no proof of drop off. So, you make the trip (as demanded by title) to the FedEx office. It’s a long wait, but eventually you get to speak to the office manager and explain the situation. “I have good news for you”, sayeth the manager, “I have the package, let me get it and return it to you!” Not really good news, but better than no news. Soon the manager returns and hands you the envelope. “Why did you not ship it? – it has a prepaid airbill”.
“That may look like an airbill to you but it is totally illegible! My staff was not able to read the account that would be paying; also the scanner could not read the bar code. We were hoping you would return to claim it”. Groan. You know that if you had waited for the drop off receipt, it would have failed the scan – while you still had time to do something. Now it’s the next day and the title people are having fits. Of course the blame will be on you. They will claim that you did not print the PDF properly. They will ask why you shipped an illegible airbill.

It kinda sounds like a 60 yard touchdown run, only to trip over one’s untied shoelace at the one yard line. The call to title yields the expected results – colorfully. They insist that you, while at the FedEx office – FAX the entire package immediately. You must also rent some PC time to print a replacement airbill so it can be shipped while you are there. This time they explicitly ask for a FAX of the drop off receipt. They consider you a klutz that needs micromanagement.

With demands accommodated, you return home to reprint that PDF with the airbill. Just as you suspected it was sent as garbage – nothing you could do would make it print correctly. However, if you had given it a glance at “doc print time” you would have noticed the problem. At that time you would have been able to call the sender and get a replacement PDF, or, at least the proper charge code to use on a hand written replacement airbill. But you did not catch THEIR error.

When I was a kid we used to play Tug of War. A long thick rope, us kids holding on each end with a gigantic mud puddle in the middle. The team captain would be at the end of the rope, with the rope tied around the captain’s waist. The losing team kids would let go prior to the mud puddle. Being last in the chain, like a signing agent; the team captain was dragged into the mud.

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