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May 28, 2017

My Next Notary Visit is Free

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:27 am

My Next Notary Visit is Free
Those who interact frequently with the public have tales to tell. Often they are sorrowful tales of unfair and unjust situations. Sometimes they are stories of pure joy and selflessness, the stuff of legends. This installment deals with neither of the above, this is about: Weird and absurd.
My client is a regular, usually with investment documents. Always there is a check on the table next to the passport. I could use “personally known” but check the ID every time. Usually the documents are making money for my client. That’s a good thing. This visit was an exception. It was not a very dramatic purpose that needed notarization, but IMHO a rather foolish reason.

Not foolish because of anything my client did; it was the “system” working very hard to force the absurd to be notarized. The Pension Fund had made a mistake. They issued a check a bit too big. No biggie, it would be routine to respond with a repayment check. But, that was not what the fund insisted upon. They required that the refund TO them be accompanied by their document stating the purpose of the enclosed check. And, required that document to be notarized.

The overpayment my client received would just about buy dinner for two at a diner. My mobile notary fee was a bit greater than the overpayment. Thus client was paying more for me to notarize the “return fee manifest” than the actual repayment amount. “That’s the way they are, and it’s impossible to talk with them”, sayeth the client. It was a silly situation. Long time client was “taking it on the chin” – caught in bureaucracy by a Pension Fund – that made the initial mistake.

This was absurd. There were two checks on the table; the larger one was for me, the smaller one addressed to the Pension Fund. I decided to leave my check where it was; and just leave without it. “Come Back – you forgot this” – “that’s OK, I would not feel right about taking it”. But client went on to say that I earned my fee and insisted that I take my check, so I did.

It still did not feel right. So, upon returning home I sent an email to the effect that my next visit would be free. That was accepted. Why “later” but not “now” puzzled me. Perhaps the client was giving me some time to reflect and not just react to the situation. Whatever the reason, I did not push the issue and await the next visit, for free – as agreed.

Mobile notaries have both personal and business relationships at the same time. There is no personal relationship when I shop at Wal-Mart or EBay. But, what we do is different. We meet people face to face, and, if we are “fair and honest” – they sense it. That forms a bond. It’s not forced or phony; it’s based upon mutual respect.

So I will forfeit a fee. It’s not the first time; and it won’t be the last time. Once, at about 5AM a caller called me a “money grubbing notary”. That was a good thing because I, half awake; had quoted my minimum fee – ignoring the time or the inches of snow on my car. Each situation is different and we need to use both our brain and our heart when interacting with the public. Of course the guiding principles of applicable notary law are chief – over all other considerations.

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