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January 17, 2011

Unilateral Commitments

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 12:20 pm

Unilateral Commitments
Hello, Roundy Round Tires, do you have a Never Flat for my Go Go Mobile? Great, I might be stopping by later this afternoon, say 2PM. Can you assure me of instant service if I decide to show up? No, I don’t wish to make an appointment at this time; I just want your assurance that if I decide to honor you with my august presence; I will be instantly accommodated.

Farfetched? Consider the notary version: Is this the notary savant? I am thinking about having some legal papers notarized, will you be available at 2PM. Well, I have not really gathered my thoughts yet. I just want to be sure you will be available if the mood to be notarized strikes me.

Is this string along notary? Good, I want to know if you will be available for a signing today at 2PM. Cutting to the essence of a real assignment, I ask for the borrower name and phone number. Well ….. we don’t have that information yet, but I just want to be sure that you can process the assignment (IF, not said), when it comes. So, you’re not sure about details, only that you want my commitment of availability, is that what this call is about?

I have had this same conversation, with slight variations; many times. In short; you promise availability, and there is a possibility that they might call back. If you discuss your fee, the chances of them calling back decrease. But, fee is not the issue here. What’s in play is your reputation for truthfulness and willingness to grab at straws. I choose my words carefully.

If my schedule permits, assignments are accepted. Well known (by me) firms, those with whom I have a trust relationship go on the calendar based on a phone call. Others, especially the ones that “talk” the “good buddy” BS; are required to prepay. Many are the signing service schedulers who sound like they could not beat a squirrel at chess. They are trolling for dopey notaries. It is there intent to obtain commitments and exactly how little you will (hope to) receive.

Well, does not consider trollers as worthy of much conversation. They are honestly (sometimes I feel that is more than they deserve) told that I value my time and will only allocate a portion of it if there is a mutual commitment. Some persist; we just want to know if you will be available. They are told: currently yes, but that yes is only for the duration of this call; I will accept an assignment for the same time slot if the phone rings in ten seconds after this call. Similarly, wee hour callers must prepay DURING the initial call, no wake twice!

Personally, I think it’s a hoot that frequently on various forums agents complain about a lack of “loyalty”. Really? Wakie wakie, they want (even more aggressively than you) to maximize their profits. If that be at the “expense” of you – they will merrily do so. However, agents with integrity will not “play along” with the availability game. They will openly and frankly describe their time management policy. I think that will be perceived as a plus. If you are fastidious with your calendar, you are probably the same with processing the docs.

My boss might need a notary this afternoon, might you be available. I might is the answer; to borrow a part of the question. Followed by mentioning that “currently” I am, but “might” not be so at a later time. Do you wish to schedule an appointment? Possibly my honest answer is a “turn off” to the caller. If so, so be it. But, to me, a factual, frank, honest answer works best.


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January 14, 2011

Seinfeld — George Needs a Notary

George is visiting his folks.

ESTELLE: Georgie, your father and I have a surprise for you.


FRANK: Your mother and I are gonna renew our vows.

GEORGE: Renew your vows? The vows you recited at your wedding? I’ve got news for you. Whatever they were, they didn’t take.

ESTELLE: Don’t get smart with us, Georgie! Your father and I want to renew the love we have for each other! And you’re giving me away.

George reacts.

Then at the coffee shop with Jerry:

JERRY: Giving her away? You should be thrilled. Just as long as you don’t have to take her back.

GEORGE: They’re throwing a ceremony. The whole kit and caboodle.

JERRY: Notice it’s never half a kit and caboodle?

GEORGE: (annoyed) Yeah. I’ve noticed. Oh and get this – Kramer’s my father’s Best Man.

JERRY: He’s never been the best anything.

GEORGE: My folks are renewing their vows. And Ellen, who is again dumping me, keeps renewing her vow never to see me again.

Kramer enters and joins them.

GEORGE: How come you’re the Best Man?

KRAMER: I think that goes without saying.

GEORGE: This whole thing’s a joke. They’ve been at each other’s throats for forty years. How can renewing their vows change anything?

KRAMER: I’ll tell you what you should do. Bring a notary to the ceremony and have him certify the vows. That way, they’ll have to abide by them or they can be locked up for perjury.

GEORGE: (a beat) Kramer, that’s a brilliant idea.

JERRY: Careful. You could be locked up for perjury.

GEORGE: No, don’t you see? Either they’ll have to love and obey each other, and stop their incessant yelling, or they’ll be thrown in jail. Either way – I win!

Later at the renewal ceremony…

KRAMER: (to Estelle) Just look at you. You’re the picture of relative youth!

ESTELLE: Relative?

KRAMER: No, I’m just the best man, but I feel like family.

GEORGE: Where’s the notary? This has disaster written all over it, I just know it.

JERRY: Relax. You’re not losing a mother, you’re losing your mind.

NOTARY: Sorry I’m late. Half-way here, I remembered I forgot my seal.

GEORGE: You remembered you forgot your seal?

JERRY: He remembered. And he forgot. He’s Even-Steven.

NOTARY: (to Frank) Before you recite your vows, I’ll need you to sign them.

FRANK: What are you talking about? Who the hell are you?

NOTARY: Your vows. I’m the notary.

Justice of the Peace hands vows to notary.

FRANK: I didn’t order any notary.

GEORGE: I did. It’s my little gift to you. To make sure that this time… they’re official.

FRANK: What are you talking about?

GEORGE: Your vows! The love you two express for each other has to be given… the gravitas and respect it deserves. If you abide by your vows… everything will be hunky-dory.

FRANK: And what if I don’t?

GEORGE: … I’m sure they’ll let you two have conjugal visits.

FRANK: Here, give me the damn paper.

Frank signs it.

GEORGE: (to Jerry) Now I know how Carter felt when he pulled off that peace treaty.

ELAINE: Can we get this show on the road? I need to get back to de-linting sweaters for Mr. Pitt.

JERRY: He’s got you de-linting sweaters now?

ELAINE: Hey, it’s a step up from un-salting his pretzels.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: We’re gathered here today to witness the re-joining of Frank and Estelle Costanza. May I have the vows please?

Notary hands him the freshly sealed and document to refer to.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: (reading) “I, Frank Costanza, take again as my wife, Estelle Costanza…”

KRAMER: (teary-eyed) This part always gets me.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: “ … as a continual thorn in my backside…”

GEORGE: Continual thorn? Stop! Let me see that. (Grabs vows, starts reading) “…to aggravate me for the rest of my life. I, Estelle Costanza, take again as my husband, Frank Costanza, the cheapest man who doesn’t clip his ear hair I’ve ever known…” Are you nuts? You can’t recite these vows!

FRANK: Why not? They come from our hearts.

ESTELLE: Your father’s right. For a change.

NOTARY: Their new vows are on an affidavit on which they’ve already affirmed under penalty of perjury that the information is the truth. Your father signed it in my presence. Notice my seal.

GEORGE: I see your seal! Well that’s just great. Now they’re legally obligated to drive each other bonkers, along with me!

JERRY: (to notary) Question: The next time my friend here gets a Dear John letter, if your seal isn’t on it, does that mean he didn’t officially get dumped?

NOTARY: No, he’d still be dumped.

JERRY: (to George) Hey, I tried.


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