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May 2, 2020

Can you ask a borrower if they have been out of the country?

Is it legal, ethical, or advisable to ask borrowers if they have been to a highly infected area recently such as Italy, Iran, China, South Korea, etc? Someone asked me this today. The answer is that you might get lenders mad at you.

The rate of infection in these countries is measured in infections per million and they are generally between 50 and 200 cases per million. So, being in these countries presents a very minuscule risk to the notary.

On the other hand, if a borrower exhibits Covid 19 type symptoms such as a dry cough, trouble breathing, etc., then you might be advised to stay away. I cannot advise on this as much of the transmission of Covid 19 happens with people who exhibit no symptoms.

Disinfecting the signing table, pens, cell phones, etc., makes a lot of sense. Having the signers wash hands thoroughly immediately before the signing is also a good idea. If they were a mask, that would be the icing on the cake.

I don’t know what you can ask or should ask without upsetting lenders and title companies. So, it might make sense to ask them.

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December 14, 2018

Notary arrested for stealing spices from borrowers

Filed under: Popular on Twitter,Virtual Comedy Themes — Tags: — admin @ 12:29 am

It is common for people to go to other people’s homes and steal Oxy-codene. However, this is a new one. There was a rash in what I call spice-jacking in the Orange County area of California. It turned out to be just one guy, and a notary. But, the authorities caught on and published some public awareness materials about the subject…

You may not know if you have been spice-jacked. Answer this questionaire, and if you said yes to five or more items on this list — contact the authorities immediately — you have been spice jacked…

Have you been notarized in the last six months?
Did the notary ask you to swear on your mother’s cooking instead of a bible? Or did he substitute the bible for a Julia Child’s encyclopedia of cooking?

Has your cumin come out?
Has your coriander meandered?
Has your rose-mary been annulled?
Is your mint no longer in mint condition?
Is your tarragon just gon?
Are you no longer on the same page with your sage? (or is it showing age?)
Has your card-amom been declined (or expired)?
Have your bay leave(s) become bay left(s)?
Has your garam masala (Indian spice mix) lost its kick?
Has your turmeric’s turm expired?
Has your oregano become ore-went-and-did-not-come-back?
Has your aleppo pepper been receiving funds from Putin?
Has your haba-near-o become haba-far-away-o?
Have your c-loves turned to c-hates?
Has your ginger disappeared and then reappeared on a deserted island with Gilligan?

If so, you may have been spice jacked. Please call 888-888-8888 for immediate assistance.

The notary who committed these crimes had a last minute call for an airport notarization. Someone needed one of those permission to travel forms to have their uncle take their kid to Zacatecas in Mexico. These forms typically need to be notarized if going to Mexico. So, the notary did the notarization, got paid cash, and then proceeded to the airport restaurant. At the next table over some TSA personel were having lunch. Then some other TSA people came over with their K-9. The K-9 started sniffing the Notary’s bag. The officer was sure that they would find drugs, but all they found were remains of… you guessed it… oregano and some exotic imported red pepper powder from Egypt. The authorities then had the Notary bring them to his car where they found a huge stash of stolen spices which the Notary had obtained from his various Notary appointments. He loved Notarizing Indians specifically for this reason. The authorities contacted Orange County police and the Notary got busted.

To be safe, from now on, keep your spices under lock and key just in case some other culinarily inspired Notaries get the wrong idea about your marjoram or herbs du provence.

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November 5, 2015

Have you ever been tempted not to go into a borrower’s house?

We are all under pressure to make a living and please our clients. But, sometimes you have to use common sense as well. Notaries are called to do signings regularly. You don’t know the condition of the house or neighborhood until you get there.

If George Carlin were a Notary, he would say that going to notary jobs in decrepid homes makes you feel good twice. When you accept the notary job you say, “I’m making money.” When you open the front door and run for your life you get to feel good a second time and say, “I’m saving my life!”

By the way, how’d you like to be a leftover? If they were taking people out to be shot I wouldn’t mind. I might even volunteer! Sorry, my childhood memories of Carlin’s tape stuck in my brain I guess.

Anyway, we have a story about a notary who knew Carmen. This took place years ago. She went into a house that was so filthy, she contracted a serious bacterial infection and had to be quarantined in the hospital. It was like having Ebola. It was called Legionaire’s disease and it was life threatening.

Other times, the house has rats, or other unclean animals running around. Sometimes it is the humans who give you the creeps. Carmen did a job years ago for some guy with long toe nails. Every time he walked around you would hear the click click click of his toenails.

Don’t feel bad by refusing to go into a house. You might be saving your life, sanity, or well-being. Just Google your nearest Starbucks and request that the signing is done there.

.

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The lady and the handwritten will (her house was a complete mess)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3609

Borrowers and their filthy homes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2214

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September 22, 2015

Don’t call Title or Borrower

That admonition gives me chills. In my dumber days, when I heeded that directive; a far higher percentage of assignments had “problems”. Virtually everything that could wrong did go wrong.

Many of our “employers” often stress how we are the final quality control point. They stress how we should be sure the package contains a HUD and 1003 loan application. Some blithely request that we check the package for “accuracy”, as if that was something we could do, in detail. Everyone in the process tries to minimize errors, but, humans are fallible. With the rush of processing mistakes of transposition, omission, and miscommunications do occur. High integrity notaries are quick to make amends and fix their mistakes; usually at considerable expense for travel and shipping.

On the other hand, when you are sent to 5000 W 206th Street, and the real address is on East; it is very unlikely that anyone will compensate you for extra riding around. Sometimes, it’s much worse and it’s possible to be given a completely wrong town! Without recourse to a valid, and tested to be sure it’s accurate – borrower contact number; the assignment fails. Nobody wants that. But, for reasons unknown to me, some assignments absolutely forbid borrower contact. And, that is enforced by not providing a phone number for the borrower. In a similar manner, issues that can be resolved by Title; can have the same contact prohibition. Sure, we often receive a number to call, but often as not; that number is unanswered or directed to voice mail.

We are at the end of a long chain in the processing of the documents. Professional notaries are very aware that packages that fund easily equal repeat business. So why are our hands sometimes “tied behind our backs” when it comes to contact information? One reason is that the “powers that be” do not want multiple notaries contacting the borrower. How would that happen? It happens when they find a less expensive notary and tell you the job has been cancelled. Or, you called in to tell them it’s illegal in your state to notarize your own signature. Whatever. Once you are perceived as not being willing to do “whatever is necessary, illegal or not”; it’s time to “swap you out”.

But, let’s proceed on the basis of the notary and their employer being of high integrity. There is still the “typo” issue. Without recourse to the borrower, there is often no way to find them. This increases the risk factor. We all know how the industry tries to pay a tiny “trip fee”, or nothing at all if the project does not fund. Regular readers know that most of my clients PayPal prior to me making a calendar entry. The exceptions are those that have earned my trust. Yup, when the situation is “do now” and they “pay later”; you are really trusting them. Even those few, when it’s a no contact info assignment are required to PayPal “up front”. I explain that it’s due to the additional risk involved. It does not matter that THEY sent you on a “wild goose chase”, taking hours of your time – cutting a check is really hard for them to do.

When they prepay the risk is shifted back to them. Of course it’s far better to obtain the contact info, as much as possible. Often the desired phone numbers are in the package. It’s tempting to use that information when absolutely necessary. Tempting, but totally improper. You must have permission to make calls when necessary. If the directive is to never call, it’s just that. You can try to reach your employer for them to get information you need – but if you accepted calling the borrower as forbidden; never do it. No matter what. Even if it causes a broken appointment? Yes, there is never justification to go back on what you agreed, especially regarding borrower calls.

.

You might also like:

Have you ever been tempted not to go into a borrower’s house?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15369

Would you accept a signing without a confirmation?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22588

Notary Public 101 – Confirming the Signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19976

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June 23, 2015

Loan Signing FAQ’s That Borrowers Ask

Many notaries go to the signing table unaware that there are many frequently asked questions that they might not know how to answer. I’m going to list a few here, but our list might expand as time rolls on. Feel free to contribute some FAQ’s of your own that you came accross.

(1) Why is my APR higher than my Rate?

(2) Do I have a prepayment penalty and where can I find that information?

(3) Where are my settlement fees and the costs of the loan documented?

(4) When is my first payment due?

(5) Can I cancel my loan? How many days do I have? How do I cancel my loan?

(6) Do I sign my name with my middle initial?

(7) Why do I have to sign my name this way?

(8) Do you know how to reach my lender now? I don’t have his number in front of me.

(9) Am I in a flood zone?

(10) Do I have mortgage insurance?

(11) If I am a spouse, which documents should I sign? I thought I was on the loan.

(12) Does this property need to be my primary residence?

(13) Can I lease this property out to others during the Mortgage?

(14) What is the penalty if I am late on any of my payments?

(15) Why is my information wrong on the 1003?

(16) How come the information is different on the Good Faith Estimate and the Settlement Statement?

(17) How much can my rate go up if interest rates for up for my Adjustable Rate Loan.

(18) When my Adjustable Rate Loan graduates, will it still have a cap, but not a gown? (sorry for the bad humor)

.

You might also like:

Acknowledgment FAQ
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21331

Certain things you don’t learn from experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22572

Do you take control at a signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21104

How much pay do you merit as a signing agent?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19188

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January 13, 2012

Borrowers and their filthy homes

The notary who was very ill
A while back I had tried to reach one of our notaries (and she has become a dear friend as well) for some time but with no response I started to worry. When I did finally reach her she shared a horrifying story with me. She confided in me that she had been quite ill. In fact she expressed to me that she was very near death.  I could hardly believe my ears what she had begun to tell me.

Coming down with a flu
She had had a busy week with notary work and she became ill with what she thought was the flu/cold. She did not quite know what was wrong but knew that her body was telling her something was not quite right. This was more than a cold. She eventually ended up in the hospital and with her stay her body continued to slowly shut down. She was literally dying right before the doctors and staff’s eyes. They ran test after test and could not come up with anything.

But, what was her illness?
They were baffled. What they did know for sure is if they didn’t do something and do something fast she would surely die.  They were clueless, was this an infection or was airborne or contagious?? They continued with the tests but nothing. They were afraid to give her any medication for fear that it would kill her. If they didn’t know what was wrong how could they treat her. So they quarantined her and everyone that tended to her wore masks, gloves, etc. They were stumped/baffled to say the least.

A test for Legionnaires disease
Now, If it weren’t for what she would call her ‘angel’ she would not have lived to tell this story. There  just so happened that there was a young intern at the hospital (who’s sex it still unknown to her to this date; not that it makes any difference) suggested for them to  run the test for Legionnaires Disease. Why he or she suggested or thought to test for this is still unclear but as far as our notary and I are concerned, it was our heavenly father above. The doctors ordered the test and what a shocker those results were, positive-BINGO-that is exactly what she had. Now you may ask what exactly is Legionnaires Disease?? I have posted a summary below.

Legionellosis is a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by gram negative, aerobic bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.[1][2] Over 90% of legionellosis cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, a ubiquitous aquatic organism that thrives in temperatures between 25 and 45 °C (77 and 113 °F), with an optimum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F).[3]

Legionellosis takes two distinct forms:
Legionnaires’ disease, also known as “Legion Fever”,[4] is the more severe form of the infection and produces high fever and pneumonia.[5][6]

The disease was traced to a borrower’s home
If it sounds scary well it is…When the notaries test came back positive the CDC was called in.  Can you believe it! Haz-mats and all. And they wanted to know EVERY place she had been., Every detail.  Being barely able to communicate she let them know all of the places she had been. They traced her steps, they checked her home and all the places that she had been after she had became ill and low and behold the LD was ultimately traced to a BORROWERS home that she had closed a loan for. It seems the borrower had never cleaned/serviced their air conditioning unit and whenever it was warm and they turned it on it was blowing the LD bacteria into the air and our unfortunately notary had breathed this deadly bacteria in while she was there closing her loan. Our notary let me know that the house itself was filthy and she says now with her near death experience she will never enter a filthy home again.

No more dirty homes
She says that if she arrives to a house  that is not clean for notary work, she will not set foot in it. She immediately (but kindly) offers to take them for coffee and they sign the paperwork at the coffee shop. No exception! She told me that she had to learn allot of things all over things that we just do naturally and take for granted, like eating walking, etc. The disease had essential destroyed her immune system and left her weak…so she felt that no signing job was worth what she had been through..so NO more dirty houses.

The borrowers were immune
What got me is that the people that lived in the house never got sick…the CCD said that because it was their filth they were immune to the bacteria. But any friend, worker, etc that entered that house and stayed any length of time on a hot day with that uncleaned air-conditioning running would get deathly sick. So next time a house is really filthy you may want to think twice about entering it.
Until the next time. Be safe!

.

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Some folks feel more comfortable with a strange female in their house
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Murder in a building a week before the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19272

I’d rather stop being a notary than carry a gun
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15896

10 ways female notaries can protect themselves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19196

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September 20, 2011

Notary is pushed off stairs by borrower!

Well, I thought I had heard it all.  I hear a lot of wonderful, interesting tales here at 123 from our members. Some are entertaining and funny while others are very sad and depressing. This, unfortunately is one of these stories and unfortunately it is the worst to date. It is nothing short of horrendous and shameful. Although I have her permission to tell her story, I promised her I would not reveal her or the area she lives in. So, here we go…

This particular notary public who is female took a signing from a signing company, she confirmed her appointment, prepared her docs and met her borrower at the the specified time. As she went through the documents, he saw that his interest rate was 1/2 percent more than he had been told. He then became enraged. He requested (using vulgarity) that she leave his home immediately. She packed up her things up and prepared to leave the premises.  As she proceeded to the door the  borrower followed, continuing to rant and rave using foul language incessantly. He was VERY angry with this 1/2 of a percent increase that nobody had bothered to inform him of (sadly, a  story we all are familiar with and have heard many times)  and, to top it to make matters even worse off, the loan officer had not been in contact with him and had been unreachable for several days.

So, as she walked out of the door onto his front porch. There were 4 steps to go down to the walkway that would lead to her car… But, before she could take that first step — with the force of both of his hands on her shoulders he pushed her down and off the porch. She went flying off the porch, and by the grace of God she somehow pivoted her body onto the grass instead of his cemented walkway  that was directly in front of her but unfortunately in trying to break her fall she broke her left wrist. In disbelief and shock she just laid there. The borrower went back into the house and shut and locked his door.  However, fortunately for her, the borrower’s neighbor who was mowing his lawn at the time witnessed the whole thing. He called out to his wife to call the police and the paramedics and he came to her aid and sat with her until they arrived. (A knight in shining armor). The paramedics attended to her and after the police got the story from both the notary and the neighbor one of the officers went to the door of the borrower , rang the bell and the borrower did not answer. At that point the officer yelled out to him to open the door or else. He did eventually open the door, and then was immediately  handcuffed and  placed under arrest and was put in the back of the police car.

Now folks get this — as the paramedics worked on our notary public to prepare her for the trip to the hospital and the police filled out their report the borrower (hand cuffed in the back seat of the police car) was still ranting  and raving non stop with vulgarities that they (the police and paramedics) needed to get this you know what off his grass and property. One of the police officers obviously fed up with this behavior as well as the noise went over to the borrower and told him that he needed to shut up and slammed the car door. He then asked the neighbor if this  behavior was characteristic  of this man. The neighbor and the wife just looked at each other and nodded yes… I just cant believe this man and his behavior, I am still in awe of all of it.

The paramedics said that if she had fallen  onto the concrete instead of the grass she would have broken both wrists and god knows what else in the process. All things  considered she was lucky-it could have been way worse.

She ended up staying in the hospital of 4-5 days instead of the day and half  she was originally told due to an infection she developed in her wrist.

Now it is 1 month later and she is finally back to work. She is healing well I asked her how she felt about her career now (she is a full time  signing agent) and if she felt like giving it up…and she said no way. She says she loves her job and knew this was just something that happened. Kudos to her! She and DA have filed charges and he has 3 counts against him and there will be a civil suit as well. I hope he gets ALL that is coming to him….I say throw the book at him.

Now, of course the signing service that gave her the assignment wants to know why the loan wasn’t closed. Well get this; When she called in to tell them  what had happened from the hospital — the person on the other end of the line laughed and said “you could have come up with a better excuse than that”. So, in order to clear her name she had to send in the police report, hospital records etc….( and yes she did manage to call the day of the signing)

So, all of this leaves me with a few thoughts. I really feel that this could have been avoided if the loan officer had done his job. This is so often the case where the loan officer knows exactly what the numbers are way ahead of time but avoids sharing this information with the borrowers and we go out at the final hour when they know these borrowers are desperate and for the most part are stuck and cant turn back now, and they regrettably just sign. And we get stuck in middle — and in this case — pushed down a flight of stairs. Now some of you will disagree and put up a fuss but this is why when I call and confirm with the borrowers I ask them has the loan officer been in touch and have they gone over the figures with them. If the answer is yes then I ask them what are the numbers supposed to be. This way if the number con-inside with what I see, we are good. If not, I can alert the hiring party that we have a problem before I waste the borrowers time or MINE.  I can avoid problems at the table-situations like the one I just described to you here. (aLthough it is rare and the first time I have heard such of a thing happing it is now a reality that it is possible). This technique does not always work but it is sure worth a try. And it might save you some trouble. I have been doing it for years. Now I know some of you will chew my head off about this technique of mine but this is my business and I run it as I see fit-just as you will run yours as you see fit. But, remember this is for the most part why are economy is shot…to many lies and games being played in the refinance word, and we are usually abandoned and stuck in the middle.

Now, most of you know I preach about your worth and the fees that you charge — this story just reinforces my feeling that you need to be paid what you are worth. I know this is an extreme case but we stick out necks out every time we take an assignment. We NEVER know where our notary public assignments will take us or what we will have to deal with when we get there. We deal with bad attitudes, late documents, traffic, bad neighborhoods, filthy homes, terrible smells, pets, incompetence, etc., and sometimes bad people. So my point is you need to be paid what you are worth. If you continue accepting these low fees that they are offering nowadays not only do you hurt yourself you hurt all of us: the notary community as a whole…..Now in this case a higher fee would not have stopped his unthinkable behavior but I feel that because we deal with so much adversity in this business we need to have our pay more in line with our efforts and the things that we are subjected too. For me, without fair compensation this profession is just not worth the effort or trouble.

Until next time!! BE SAFE!!

Written by Carmen Towles

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Part 2 of Notary is pushed of stairs – the sequel!

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Why notaries don’t last

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February 25, 2011

Borrower etiquette from A to Z

Filed under: Comprehensive Guides,Etiquette — Tags: , — admin @ 10:16 am

Borrower etiquette from A to Z

A year or more ago I wrote a blog about notary etiquette from A to Z. The topic arose from a very interesting and detailed discussion about where it is polite to park. The discussion went on and on, and everybody made really interesting points! But, a discussion on NR broke out about borrower etiquette, and I’m surprised that I didn’t publish this topic first, since I love the topic of etiquette (even though I don’t have very good etiquetee myself). In any case, there are many points to consider in borrower etiquette — so, here they are.

PREPARATION

(1) Make sure you finish your meal and clean up your kitchen before the notary arrives. Make sure the smell of your cooking is somehow ventilated.

(2) Make sure you have communicated adequately with the LENDER before the notary arrives. You should be off the phone, and have listened to all of your messages before the notary arrives, especially messages (if any) from your trustworthy lender.

(3) Have all dogs, cats, snakes, birds, cockroaches, vermin, and other creatures behind a securely closed door at least 30 minutes before the signing — for good luck. Many notaries do not like dogs jumping on them. Additionally, if there is an angry or over-zealous dog in the driveway, the notary might be afraid to get of of his/her/their car.

(4) Tell your children not to come into the room of the signing. If they must come, then make sure they are quiet, dressed, and don’t make any sudden movements. Please find a way to deal with screaming babies too as that can be very distracting during a signing.

(5) The TV, radio, and all other noise should be silent during the signing so that people can focus and not make mistakes

(6) There should be a clean surface for the signing, preferably a dining room table. The ENTIRE surface should be free of any clutter and have been cleaned with 409, or Fantastic, etc., immediately prior to the signing.

(7) Make sure that all of the parties involved in the signing are there 30 minutes in advance and have their ID’s ready.

(8) Make sure you know what your rate and APR are supposed to be BEFORE the notary shows you the corresponding pages with that information.

COMMUNICATION

(9) Leave your outside lights on for night signings, so the notary can intuitively know which house to go to.

(10) It is polite and helpful to let the notary know where to park

AT THE SIGNING

(11) Offer the notary a drink right away. Most borrowers are cheap and inconsiderate — it takes them 30 minutes to figure out that, “Oh, did you want something to drink?” And then, they offer you tap water. Why not offer the notary something of a higher quality such as fruit juice, soda, or coffee? Unless you are so poor that you are dying of malnutrition, it is cheap behavior to only offer tap water.

(12) Keep drinks off the table. We have had in-depth discussions about spillage, and what happens when you spill your latte on the deed of trust. Check our forum and blog for older discussions on this topic. Keep the drinks on a chair, or an adjascent table.

(13) Don’t read documents for two hours. The notary came for a signing appointment, not a reading appointment. Your borrower’s copies are for reading. Behave in such a way that the signing will take 45 minutes or less. Read the key points, and the rest can be read on your own time.

(14) Don’t blame the notary for the faults of the lender doing the old bait and switch, or for other problems you have with the lender.

(15) Don’t make phone calls or leave the room during the signing except to go to the bathroom.

(16) Smoking during the signing shouldn’t happen. If it is a really long signing, and after an hour you need a smoking break, perhaps one quick smoking break might be reasonable.

(17) (State specific for MT and TN) It is poor etiquette to expose a gun or other weapon at the signing, or to discuss guns. Notaries usually don’t feel comfortable around guns — at least the notaries that I know!

(18) Don’t discuss politics, gender issues, or anything else controversial at the signing.

(19) Don’t have an argument with your spouse, kids, or anyone else at the signing.

(20) Sign your name as it is typed below the signature line — don’t argue with the notary about this. This should have been discussed with the lender a long time ago.

(21) Don’t make a fuss about being thumbprinted

(22) After it is all said and done, visit the notary’s page on 123notary.com and write a very glowing review about how wonderful and capable the notary was.

You might also like:

Notary etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

Compilation of posts about Notary etiquette
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20505

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July 2, 2020

Reviews – are you ashamed to ask?

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 8:30 am

So many Notaries don’t have reviews. Each time I talk to them I get different concerns, excuses and questions. It is common for people to not want to ask for a review because the signing company told them not to talk to the borrowers about any business other than the signing. But, not all signing companies tell Notaries this. Other times, many Notaries feel ashamed to ask for reviews.

I try to explain that getting reviews is a life or death issue. If you don’t get reviews, you don’t get much business and then you have no future in this industry. If you feel fear or shame, try to work your way through it otherwise you won’t survive. Asking for reviews is a habit. Once you get used to it, you will do it naturally.

Just try to do the best work you can. Then, when someone tells you how good your work is — that is your cue!

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May 26, 2020

A Notary Cereal

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:00 pm

I think there should be a cereal for Notaries. One that is high in fiber that has berries for antioxidants and lots of vitamins. Notaries need vitamins to deal with difficult borrowers and their attack cats. But, what would this cereal be called? What would it look like?

How about: Kamut Seals? It could be high in all types of high fiber grains, have blueberries and some soy and dehydrated almond milk for extra protein and minerals. Kamut seals will look like little notary seals floating in milk, or soy milk. Personally, I prefer almond milk. Tastes great, has b12, and lots of minerals and one of the best sources of vitamin E.

And best of all, each package of Kamut Seals will give you crossword puzzles with notary terminology and the chance to win a prize such as a plastic fake notary seal. Just what your kids will love. “Look dad, I’m a notary!”

You could also have the cereal with some black liquid that looks like seal ink just to be fancy. I’m thinking of squid ink, but that is expensive. On the other hand you could get black food coloring.

Kamut Seals — a cereal for winners that you will swear (or affirm) to.

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