What Lies Beneath (Your Notary Stamp)
Most of us probably use a self inking notary stamp. That’s the one with the little ink pad that slides out to be re-inked or replaced. Which to do? Re-inking is cheaper, but, eventually; after many uses the stamp pad takes an impression. The die does not contact the pad enough to transfer the ink. Re-inking is OK for a while, but it is not a lifetime solution – buy a few replacement pads. But, as oft the case – I digress.
Having digressed on one thing my reader expects me to digress again. So…… I won’t disappoint. Did you, take out the inkpad and clean the rubber die – in the last year? Please do so. I use an old toothbrush (a soft one) with a few drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent. It’s good enough to clean the oil off of ducks, so it probably won’t irritate you or your precious stamp die. Wait an hour for everything to dry prior to reassembly.
OK reader, I’ve blathered on long enough. Now, to the title issue. But first a side note about Jeremy. He gripes and complains (to me!) often that the title of my articles do not let him “at a glance” know what the blog entry is about. Just to drive him extra nuts (as if he was not nutty enough already) – I added, the two somewhat re/un related paragraphs above. Perhaps our fearless leader will count this as a third irritating paragraph also!
So, without further ado (whatever that is) let’s think about “what lies beneath” the document you are about to stamp. Most of the time it is either other paperwork, or the table top. Both are relevant to making a proper image with your stamper. Yes, it is a rather mundane aspect of notarization. However, many are the loan packages that admonish you to affix a clear and readable stamp. In addition to you personally, that thousandth of a penny bit of ink must also “make a good impression”.
Stamping on a pile of paper is often the case, especially when they only provide to you a 9 X 12 inch area for your “workplace”. You need a “flat and level” area beneath the target location. The documents under the one you are about to stamp might not meet that requirement. Are there paperclips or those annoying little stickers on the pages below? If so your stamp will not image perfectly. If it’s a “piggy” the pile of paper will be somewhat “spongy”, and retract (compress) from the force of the stamp. The pile might also be irregular due to interspersed letter and legal pages. OK, you got it – you need to make sure the target is flat and even when working atop a pile of documents.
I prefer to work on the table top – if it qualifies, or can be made to qualify. Glass or smooth plastic is “almost” always great. Wood can have “grain” and provide an irregular surface. You will quickly find that irregular spot. It lies directly beneath where the year of your commission expiration date “would” have stamped clearly. But, alas, the last two digits of the year are not readable because there was a “dip” in the wood – exactly in the wrong place. You certainly would not attempt to stamp with the page laying on a concrete surface – far too rough. Sure, that’s obvious – but is the table you have under the page really smooth?
The solution is simple. You already have your “work order” and perhaps a printout of a map to the location. Those are “scrap” paper. Select what “appears” to be a good “stamping surface” and place (face down) two or three sheets of your scrap paper. Place the document to be stamped on your scrap paper and stamp. You are not working “on the pile” nor directly on the tabletop. Even a great looking glass table may have a tiny chip or two – and rest assured your stamp image would line up with that flaw.
Thus, even with a well maintained stamper, it’s possible due to environmental conditions to make a crappy impression. Call that “the mark of the Rookie”. My well seasoned (Tabasco Sauce?) readers probably know all of the above. The issue here is to put “best practices” into play – each and every (redundant) time. I know that you know all of the wordy ranting above. It is my hope that dwelling upon what you already know will remind you to “do the right thing” – and leave a clear readable stamp every time. Yes, it takes a few more moments of effort to ensure perfection, however it is those perfectionists that get the repeat calls.>