March 2016 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

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March 30, 2016

30 minute Islamic prayer break at a signing & other stories.

Filed under: General Stories — Tags: , — admin @ 11:56 am

30 minute Islamic prayer break
I also had a signing that was very unusual. I arrived at the home of a Muslim man who had asked me to take my shoes off before entering the house. I told him that I honestly was not comfortable with that, so he brought a small table and we placed it just outside the entrance so that we could do the signing there. He sat just inside the house, and I sat just outside the door. Then suddenly in the middle of the signing, he excused himself and got up and left to do his prayers for a half hour, and then returned back to the table to me to do the closing. It was the first time I had ever experienced anything like that. The signing took longer but we got it done in unusual circumstances.

Running to the bank to get a cashier’s check
I had a signing to do a someone’s house and when I arrived, the man realized that he didn’t have the money that was due on the HUD and had to run to the bank to get a cashier’s check. He actually asked me to watch his 3 kids while I ran to do that. I declined immediately as I didn’t know him or his kids, and felt that he was being presumptuous about asking me to watch his children. We rescheduled the signing.

The drunken wife
I had an assignment in Princeton, NJ once involving a couple who was in the process of divorcing. The wife arrived at the signing completely drunk and uncooperative. I think she did this on purpose to both embarrass the husband and to prevent things from moving forward. She definitely had succeeded in producing the desired effect on her spouse. Her husband was mortified and kept apologizing over and over for her behavior. He was so embarrassed. She was completely non-compliant. She didn’t want to do it at all and in the end she succeeded. We didn’t go through with the signing and had to reschedule.

The foul-mouthed tipsy man
I had a mortgage signing with the most foul-mouthed man I had ever met. He was tipsy, but not drunk. He asked so many questions about the mortgage loan and was swearing like a sailor. He was clearly under the influence and I could smell the alcohol on his breath. It was not in any way, shape, or form, a pleasant experience. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get some fresh air! I almost left the closing but managed to get through it. It was the most unpleasant experience I had ever had.

Half naked in the hospital
I had a most, er, interesting and rather inappropriate signing. I had to do a power of attorney at a home and when I arrived, a younger man, the patient’s son, met me at the door and explained that his father was hot. However, he did not explain to me as I entered the room that his father lying on a hospital bed was naked from the waist down. I was trying really hard to not look down and keep a straight face which was rather hard. He was really sick and it was all I could do to just focus on the task and ignore the inappropriateness of the situation in front of me. The man himself was not fully coherent, and the son made no moves to cover him up for my sake which I found shocking. At that moment, his sister came out of the kitchen and immediately started attacking me with questions. ” Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” and “You don’t need to be here.” She told her father not to sign and then picked up her phone. Then another woman came out fromt he kitchen – the one who had hired me. She simply looked at me, handed me the docs, and went back into the kitchen without saying a word. So I just stood there for a moment taking the entire situation in. A minute later, she came back out and and asked, ” Do you want him covered?” Of course, I’m thinking, don’t you think so? But I said yes and thankfully she did cover him with a light blanket. Meanwhile the sister was going off, saying to her father, ” Dad, don’t sign! They’re up to no good!” He was only semi-conscious but was replying back to her saying, ” I know what I want!” I felt bad for everyone in the entire situation. The woman who had hired me had lied about him being fully coherent so I just left without doing the signing. I was just shocked and appalled and sad for the entire family. What a mess. Thankfully they never called me back to reschedule after that.


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March 29, 2016

Charge Nothing – Get More

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:48 am

Charge Nothing – Get More
To clarify my title, charge no cash; receive payment in “goods”. I do that often, mostly with repeat clients. It’s often more convenient for my client to Barter, than to pay cash. Cash has to be accounted for, involving record keeping and receipts. Barter works only with a subset of clients. If the business is lawn mowing; no way; I don’t have a lawn. But many clients do have stuff that I would be happy to receive and it makes life simpler for them.

Case in point, last week I did a few notarizations at one of the best steak houses in New York City. They are a regular client. My payment for the notarization was a monster thick cut boneless “NY Strip” steak. They did not skimp on the side dishes. Included were a large portion of real mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Truly yummy. The value of the “take out” was certainly greater than my routine mobile notary fee. It helped that my client was the manager of the establishment and needed some items notarized to file with the city, quickly. I was over in a flash, notarized while the feast was being prepared, and made sure to keep the calendar free for a few hours afterward.

Another example. I am at a sample garment preparation factory. They make the clothing used “one time” at fashion shows, and to present to buyers. The items change frequently. The “used” clothing, really worn once is often simply discarded in the trash. The models already have stuffed closets from prior events. I noticed a pile of nice looking clothing literally in the trash. I inquired about the items. “Oh, would you like some of that stuff?”, was the response. I picked out two stuffed shopping bags of blouses, skirts and jeans. Definitely several hundred dollars worth. When I left, I was astonished by the shop manager’s comment: “what’s left will cost me less to have carted away”.

Final example. At a movie theatre they need some fire safety compliance documents notarized, 7 of them. I notice in the lobby that soon there will be a few movies that I would like to see. I casually mention that I am planning on returning to see the shows. “Would you prefer half a dozen “premium” passes instead of your mobile notary fee”? Those passes include large popcorn and a soda! Sure, I enthusiastically respond! Result: three trips to the movies, for both of us; with popcorn and soda!

Barter is an ancient and honorable way of “doing business”. It’s simple and mutually beneficial. The trick to making it work is having two parties that each desire what the other has to trade. In the old west it was probably possible to trade a six gun for a horse. Few in New York City have a horse; and firearms transfers are now a bit more regulated. However, many are the commercial establishments, as opposed to residences, that notaries often visit. I have been in diamond setting factories that certainly would not trade for a humble notary fee. But, sometimes I am surprised. Once I was at a furrier, coats costing many thousands. I admired the quality. Quickly picking up on my interest; I was offered a “strip of Mink”; sort of a “shoulder wrap”, in lieu of cash! Deal!

Thus, it varies as to who initiates the barter. Sometimes they offer, other times they follow up on my compliment as to the quality of their goods. The routine notary for steak dinner, in my first example resulted in my comment “geee, that steak sure smells good”; now it’s routine. It’s a win win situation. The cost of goods for the establishment is “wholesale”, but the value to the notary is definitely “retail”. Of course the client needs to have the authority to barter. Take care to be sure you are not participating in shoplifting. A sales clerk at a department store probably does not have the right to swap some sweaters for having their loan package notarized!


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March 27, 2016

You know you’re a notary when…

You know you’re a Notary Public when…

(1) You go to a bar and ID the bartender before he has a chance to ID you.
(2) You ID every girl you date even when their high school yearbook is over 18
(3) You like Oreo cookies because they’re embossed.
(4) Your favorite ice cream is from Jen & Sherry’s, Rescinded Rum Raisin
(5) You background screen your golf buddies before going out into the course with them
(6) You have a bumper sticker that says “I’d rather be signing”
(7) You spend so much time with your GPS that you make Siri sign a prenup.
(8) You spend so much time with your GPS that you know all of its most intimate pieces of information such as favorite foods, birthdays, favorite roads, and mother’s maiden name.
(9) You become famous, people ask for your autograph and you’d rather have theirs
(10) Your mailbox and inbox are cluttered by twelve different notary organizations.
(11) Your Jewish son meets a nice Jewish girl and you ask, “Is she a notary?”
(12) Your favorite seafood is squid because it never needs an ink refill.
(13) When you get your parking validated, you rip the stamp out of the person’s hands so you can stamp it yourself.
(14) You comment, “Gee, your hairstyle doesn’t match your ID,” when you meet someone at a bar.
(15) You compliment people on their signatures — “Gee, that’s a lovely cursive.”
(16) You take pawprints of the animals in the neighborhood just in case they get lost.
(17) You spend your spare time last weekend writing a letter to the State of Nevada criticizing them for allowing drivers licenses to be valid for 20 years.
(18) When you go to court (for whatever reason) you correct the bailiff’s Oath wording.
(19) You wear a T-shirt saying, “I’m not your husband’s mistress, I’m the Notary!”
(20) You have an NNA towel that you take to the beach (if such a thing exists)
(21) All guests entering your house must personally appear before you and sign the journal, put a date and time, plus reason for entry.
(22) Your favorite California wine is the Notary Public Cabernet – You’d swear under oath it’s the best vino there is if you weren’t busy slurring your notary verbiage
(23) When your friend asked you, “Can I turn left here?” You respond, “I am not an Attorney and may not answer legal questions or perform loan signings in the state of Georgia. I am just a Notary.”
(24) When you go to cocktail parties and people ask what you do you respond, “Next question.”
(25) When you go to a bar, you always order their signature drinks.
(26) When someone asks how old your young children are, instead of measuring their age in weeks or months, you measure it in fractions of a commission. Oh this one? Judy? Yeah, we got her during my 2nd commission. But, Fred over here we’ve had since before I was commissioned at all. He must be getting old now.
(27) You ask your Jewish friends if they need their kid’s Bar-Mitzvahs Notarized.
(28) If your friend invites you to a party and then calls you to change the venue, you offer to initial the change.
(29) You have a bumper sticker saying — Warning, I brake for Mortgage Brokers.
(30) You have another bumper sticker saying — Notary on Board
(31) You have a happy hour menu with special prices for Jurats.
(32) Your favorite Chinese restaurant has fortune cookies that read — He who backdate live long life, but have short commission.
(33) You have a special credit card that gives double miles if you stay at The Notary Hotel
(34) When you see a girl with a nice tan, you comment that she must have used a lot of toner to get that look.
(35) When you go out for steak you only get certified Angus steak.
(36) When charitable organizations send you 500 labels with your home address on it, you throw them out as you prefer to use a customized stamp.
(36) Your favorite movie was — Honey, I Notarized the Kids.


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March 26, 2016

Signing Companies that hire New Notaries — repost

Filed under: Popular Signing Co. Lists — Tags: , — admin @ 9:04 pm

We posted this in 2013 and then it got buried. So, for all of you new signing agents who don’t know which way to turn. Read this article and then you’ll know! These companies specialize in hiring brand new Notaries, and one of them trained me long time ago!



March 25, 2016

A scene from the Minion Loan Signing

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:39 pm

The Stevens needed to have their loan signed. However, a small mishap occured right before the signing. The Notary’s car was attacked by 200 minions who stole the Notary’s seal, journal and appointment schedule. A few minutes later, a few minions showed up at the loan signing for the Stevens.

(knock knock)

MRS STEVENS: Uh, hello? Can I help you?

BOB: Hello, hello

KEVIN: Hello (meanwhile Stuart is going in through the window)

MRS STEVENS: I see you have a Notary Seal. Are you the Notary?

BOB: I’m Notary Bob. he he, he he, he he. Notary! (jumps on the table with notary bag) Notarize documents!

KEVIN: I help Bob. Assist he-he he-he he-he (jumps on table and slides all the way to the end at lightening speed)

MRS STEVENS: Are you sure you are a Notary?

BOB: Bob Notary has commission (whispers into Kevin’s ear… “quick get me a commission!”)

KEVIN: One moment — one moment… ha ha, ha ha, ha ha. Be right back. (jumps out window and scribbles something on a paper on the lawn and then embosses it with gold seal)

BOB: See — Bob Notary real Notary. Real Notary ha ha, ha ha, ha ha.

MRS STEVENS: I’m not so sure about this.

BOB: You sign the document. This page, this page… right here,

MRS STEVENS: I don’t want to sign

KEVIN: Ohhhh…..

MR STEVENS: But, I’ll sign

KEVIN: yay!!!!! ha ha, ha ha, ha ha. Sign right there…. Bob Notary Notarize you!

MR STEVENS: Okay, I’ll sign this one and this one and this one.

BOB: Okay…. Now, I notarize! Here’s my stamp. Hmmmm…. out of ink. Uh-oh!

KEVIN: Uh-oh

STUART: Oh-oh… no problem, I brought ink!

BOB: I add ink! Oopss… (spills ink all over the documents) uh-oh

KEVIN: Uh-oh

STUART: Uh-oh…. borrower copies! (whips out borrower copies and Mr. Stevens signs them again.)

BOB: Okay… I stamp here…. stamped. done… notaized! notarized! notarized!

KEVIN: I put them in Fedex! … All done!

MINIONS: Bye bye, bye bye, bye bye… (they all jump out window. Then, they jump in the car and drop it in the Fedex box.)

KEVIN: But, what if Fedex driver doesn’t come?

BOB: uh-oh! —- ahhhh… Bob Notary has idea! Move Fedex box to Fedex station!

MINIONS: Yay!!! good idea… good idea….

So, about 200 minions come out of nowhere, rip the fedex box out of the cement and deliver it to the Fedex station and drop it in front of the staff member.

BOB: Bob Notary want receipt.

FEDEX GUY: I’m calling the police

BOB: We control the police as part of our world domination! King Bob rules!

FEDEX GUY: Okay, never mind.

MINIONS: Okay, okay okay… thank you! (then they slide back into the parking lot at lightening speed, and run away giggling!) ha ha, ha ha, ha ha….


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March 24, 2016

Two guys with the same name; One cashed the other guy’s check!

Imagine your worst nightmare. Someone else with your same name. But, it’s not identity fraud if the person really is you, or at least shares your name. We had a Notary in Alabama and another Notary in Indiana who had this exact situation. I am not sure if their middle initial or middle name is the same, but the first and last were. They were both on the same database for several signing companies. The problem was that the guy in Alabama did a bunch of jobs for several signing companies, and then the guy in Indiana got paid for those jobs — and deposited the checks.

I actually personally know both of these people and remember a conversation I had with one of them three years ago. He thought his bill was too high and kept saying, Jeremy…. Jeremy…. Jeremy…. Jeremy… with this amazing tonality. He got removed from his high position because it was too much trouble to bill him. Now he has a free listing at the bottom of the list. He might not get that many jobs down there, but if he can get paid for the other guy’s jobs in Alabama, I guess it all works out just fine — for the mean time!

In any case, let this be a lesson to be learned. If you have children, and you have one of those standard type names like Jack Smith, or David Rutherford, consider a name change. Either change your last name, or name your children something that nobody else would name their kids such as Bullwinkle, Shakazulu, or Pleiades! Think in the future, and pick a name that is out of this world, or at least out of this constellation!


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March 23, 2016

Signing on a tug boat

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — Tags: , , , — admin @ 6:23 am

One of Notaries had a signing on a tug boat in Louisiana. My sources were unclear as to whether or not there were beignets at the signing, but I secretly hope there were. In any case, the captain had to be flown in on a seaplane to get to the signing at 10:30pm. In any case, the signer was slow and had to be tugged along to get through the paperwork. Perhaps the energy of the tug boat helped in that respect. The problem was that every time the borrower asked the Notary a question, the horn would go off.

SIGNER: How many days did you say I have to rescind?

NOTARY: You have — HORN — days to rescind!

SIGNER: I’m sorry, I heard everything except for the number.

NOTARY: HORN — days…. HORN — days. HORN………. Boy this is impossible. Here let me write it on paper.

SIGNER: Oh, I have three days to rescind. Well why did you just say so.

NOTARY: Believe me, I tried.

SIGNER: Now, do I have to initial here with all three of my initals?

NOTARY: HORN — you do. Never mind. I’ll just write that down. I’ll save the paper just in case I need to say HORN — again… Relentless!

SIGNER: Got it. Just point to the yes next time.

NOTARY: If I do any more pointing, I’ll refer to myself as a “point and sign” signer.

SIGNER: There are worse things to be.

NOTARY: Great, you finished the last page. I’ll load up the Fedex and take it to the nearest Fedex station. Too bad you don’t have one on the river banks with a drive through window for tugboats. I’ll write to our Senator about that.

SIGNER: You do that.

NOTARY: Anyway, thanks and have a HORN…. evening

SIGNER: You have a HORN… evening too.



March 22, 2016

Notary: Get Thumb Relief

Notary: Get Thumb Relief
For the record: I am not a fan of texting. Nor do I find using that same tiny keyboard much good for sending regular email. So, I hunted for solutions to replace the somewhat necessary use of my Galaxy S5 keyboard to type. I added to my toolkit a Jorno external keyboard. Now, with a quick Bluetooth connection I have a real keyboard in front of me. And, it both folds to being “tiny”, complete with a built in cover / stand (to hold the phone to a nice viewing angle). The Jorno (EZ to Google) also charges via USB with an industry standard (not proprietary) charging port. It works for Apple and Android, cost is reasonable, and in a word is “Precision-eered” = it’s just right.

Of course sometimes it’s not worth the effort to connect the Jorno. A quick “Confirmed” to an appointment is best done on the phone’s keyboard. But, sometimes it is necessary to explain that the notarization of the POA bound for France will probably require an Apostille. That is when I stop at a coffee shop, quickly setup the Jorno; and type in my (usually verbose) reply. If I have the option, I usually prefer email to texting, as the record keeping is more robust. And, on that this installment transitions to dealing with texting when at home / office.

I’m sitting in front of my PC, with a nice Logitech cordless full size keyboard in front of me. Mouse is also wireless, lest I snarl myself. Ding Dong, the sound of an incoming text. It was O so frustrating, having to work the phone keyboard, or set up the Jorno. Why was I being limited to those two choices? I wanted to use the big screen and big keyboard to reply to that text.

The solution was MightyText. After adding the FireFox browser support (works with IE too), lo and behold that text message was on my PC’s screen and I could use my big keyboard to respond! It gets better. I usually like to have a printout of the address I am going to. With the “text message” on the PCs screen, any screen print tool gives me the printout to take with me. No longer must I scribble notes or refer to the phone. There are several other nifty features in MightyText. It will also originate (on the PC) a text message, not just reply to one. You can also access the contact list on the phone to initiate calls and send texts. A “pop up” on the PC screen allows you to send text to incoming callers, or “decline the call”?

The ability to send a text to an incoming caller has a useful aspect. Using a “key generator” for a “canned” reply, a “one click” ad can be sent. I send my name, and contact information. This is most appropriate when they wish to contact me at a later date/time. I use Keyboard Express, and have several “macros” stored so it’s just a press of Ctrl/w to send my tag line, name, and contact info, and, of course my web site is formulated to be clickable:

The software programs mentioned above are not free, they have a truly trivial cost; and do NOT flood me with ads. “Free” programs almost always have ads, and worse; consider you, and your email address – as something they can sell. Pay a few bucks and avoid an avalanche of junk mail.

Thus, it is possible to turn an annoying situation around. Not only around, but use the tools to further market your services and provide real convenience to your prospective clients. But, don’t overdo it. Sending your “blurb” to a wrong number is bad form – you would not want someone to do that to you. There are usually solutions to repetitive annoyances. You have only to research the problem and obtain the solution. Rarely are you alone with a technology annoyance!



March 18, 2016

Shark Tank — 123notary wants to sell 10% of its shares!


First into the tank is the inventor of a directory that will help notaries vastly improve their business.

JB: Hi, Sharks. My name is Jeremy Belmont. And I’m seeking an investment of $500,000 for 10% of my company, How many times have you needed a Notary public, and thought “Damn. Where can I find me a decent Notary Public?” Sharks, your searches are over. With, we get the most serious customers, because we have the best quality notaries. We get 170,000 visits per month. That’s 170,000 more visits per month than Mr. Wonderful makes to the barber.

MR. WONDERFUL: I’d much rather see my money grow than hair.

ROBERT: So walk me through the business model, Jeremy.

JB: We use a lot of social media and search engines to gather up steam, to get good traffic, and we also keep the site well organized. Make sure people have good notary public note sections, reviews. We spend a lot of time making sure people improve their knowledge and pass their certification.

BARBARA: How is that different from other sites?

JB: They don’t put as much attention into the marketing and organization as we do.

LAURIE: Tell us a little about you. How did you get into this line of work?

JB: I started out by being a notary public.

MARK: Good for you, man.

JB: Starting from the ground up is okay as long as you don’t get ground up.

BARBARA: I get a good feeling from you, Jeremy, and I’m going to make you an offer. But I need a little more skin in the game.

MR. WONDERFUL: Hopefully not the skin around your neck.

BARBARA: I wasn’t talking to you, skinhead. I’ll offer you $500,000 for 20% of the company.

MR. WONDERFUL: Ouch. She just cut the value of your company in half.

JB: I appreciate your offer, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to respect the other sharks and hear if anyone else has an offer.

MARK: I like what you’re doing. I like that you started from the ground up. As you know, I own the Dallas Mavericks. And every time they swear to me they won’t blow a shot, I’d like them to swear in front of one of your top-notch notaries, so I’ll tell you what. I’ll go in with Barbara if she’ll have me.

BARBARA: I’ll have you, Mark.


MARK: 500 K, 20%. But you get two sharks. Ten percent each.

JB: Would you be willing to split the difference at 15%?

ROBERT: I’ll take that deal.

JB: Would you agree to take that deal by signing this paper I have one of our top notaries witness?

ROBERT: I’m out.

LAURIE: You never told us. Why do you need the money?

JB: I want to buy an office.

MR. WONDERFUL: Where are you working now, out of your car?

JB: No, I’m working at home. I want to get an office, so I can have my staff all under one roof. It’s hard to stay unified when you’re all working in separate places.

MR. WONDERFUL: You live in your car?

BARBARA: You’re so mean.

JB: I don’t want to rent an office, because I don’t like the fact you can’t open the windows. I want to be able to customize it to my own needs, which includes having windows that actually open. I have a hard time working without oxygen.

MR. WONDERFUL: That makes you an “airhead” for the right reasons. I’m fine with that. Well, Jeremy, I’ll make you an offer. I don’t want any equity. Zero. Zip.

MARK: Here it comes.

MR. WONDERFUL: I want a 2% royalty for every signing you make. And after I make six times my investment back – Poof. I’m gone.

JEREMY: Darn. You’re still here.

LAURIE/BARBARA/MARK: For that putdown alone, we’ll match your offer.

JEREMY: I’m about to say yes in… 1…2…3!


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March 17, 2016

Sizzle, the 200 pound pig who came to a signing at a mansion in Florida.

Filed under: Pets at Signings — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:55 am

Sizzle the 200 pound pig at the mansion in Florida
I arrived at a very wealthy home in a very prosperous area in Florida to do a refinance signing. It was a gorgeous, 2 million dollar home complete with a gate at the entrance and was extremely visually stunning. So I drove up to the gate, pulled my car through, and drove down the long driveway to the house. I parked the car and was greeted by 9 large dogs. One of them was rather friendly and tore up my arm as he was saying Hi. Then, as I looked at the magnificent lawn, pool, and spa area, I saw a large 200 pound potbellied pig! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had never seen a potbellied pig that large, nor was I expected to see one in such lush surroundings. I went to the back door and was let in by the owner, who stated that the pig’s name was Sizzle and he was free to wander about the entire pool area. Sizzle even had his own room as he would graze everywhere otherwise. So at night, he would fall asleep in his own room so that he didn’t tear anything up. I had never heard of anything like that before. Luckily the signing went smoothly and was very normal but it was an unusual site to see a 200 pound pot bellied pig roam about a mansion!


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