This article was originally published in 2013.
He was striking and utterly took my breath away–like a traffic accident. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He had deep, penetrating gray eyes that seemed to notice everything. His shirt was the color of numbers.
We got out of the car at the restaurant. He took the ticket stub the valet handed him and scrutinized the numbers. “These add up to 33, an excellent number for business,” Jeremy noted. “I hope my good fortune extends to this restaurant as well. Let’s go in and see what’s on the menu.”
The sign above the entrance said Le Jurat.
“How did you pick this restaurant?” I asked.
“I have an algorithm for restaurants,” Jeremy said, opening the door for me.
“How chivalrous!” I replied. I was in awe of him, and I didn’t know what else to say.
“I assess the restaurant according to reviews, how they answer the phone, and zip code… and then I try the food,” he explained. “I test the food before bringing a friend here. Sometimes the reviews don’t match the quality of the service provider. In my opinion, good reviews don’t necessarily translate to good service–but I don’t know if you subscribe to that opinion, Sealia.”
As we were being taken to our table, a woman with frizzed red hair like the bride of Frankenstein ran up to Jeremy, tapped him on the shoulder, and demanded–“My password! I need my password! I can’t get in to update my page!”
Jeremy looked her in the eye and said sternly, “I’m having dinner. I emailed you your password three times in the last few months. You need to request it by email. Not now.”
I wondered exactly what the woman was talking about…and whether this man ever had any time to himself.
The decor of Le Jurat was elegant, parchment beige with traces of pink and gold, and there was no waiting line, yet the restaurant was full–an amazing combination for a Saturday night in Los Angeles. On all the tables, a little sign next to the placemats read, “Customers who subscribe to our newsletter have sworn by us…” The music playing in the background was “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery…
“When I was choosing restaurants,” Jeremy said slyly, “it was a choice between this place and a Christian Korean place called the Hyung Moon Temple where the signature dish was Stained Glass Noodles.”
I laughed. “So tell me about this business of yours,” I asked. “What exactly do you do for notaries?”
“I provide advertising, education, and entertainment for notaries–visit us on Facebook! I also use algorithms to assess the notaries’ performance and knowledge.”
“I didn’t know Al Gore had rhythm,” I smiled and nodded.
“I didn’t know he had rhythm, either.” His phone rang. “123notary, this is Jeremy” he stated automatically.
“It’s Vicki from Hyung Moon,” he said aloud; “Sorry, Vicki, I have to cancel…I will not be able to make it this evening. I wish to rescind.”
He hung up quietly and said, “I kind of double booked…”
He was just about to smile again when the phone rang–again.
“Hullo,” screeched a voice.
“123notary, this is Jeremy.”
“Are you a notorizor?”
“I used to be a notary but I’m not anymore. Please look on 123notary. I’m the site administrator. Please call a notary on the site. Have a nice night. Goodbye.”
Again the phone rang,
but this time, he glanced at the number and said, “I’m not going to answer now because I’m with you, but I’ll have to call them back in exactly one hour and 56 minutes. That will be the best time to speak with this person who wants to take a phone test. I remember their number and the exact time they said would be optimal to call. That gives us enough time to have our meal and a dessert…before we go to FedEx to finalize the date,” he said, focusing on a tiny spot on the tablecloth.
“FedEx?” I said. “Why FedEx?”
“That’s where my dates always end–at a FedEx drop box.”
We tried to catch the waiter’s attention. “Hey–the waiter didn’t even acknowledge us!” Jeremy quipped. “Do you think our waiter will personally appear before us? I would like to order the Soup du Jurat…and a Certified Angus Burger…I like this restaurant because it’s 24 hours…although they don’t answer the phone after 11…if you want late-night service you have to call before 11… ”
I decided on the Rack of Lamb. “Is that a dual rack or a single?” I asked the waiter, who had finally appeared.
“Well, technically it’s a single rack….but we put in a separator program…so the legal size chops can go on a legal-sized plate.”
“If I don’t like the entree, do I have the right to cancel?” Jeremy demanded.
Finally the waiter delivered the food–and not a minute too soon.
“This lamb is delicious!” I said.
Jeremy ate his certified burger. “This stuff is as good as Kobe beef!” he replied.
“So what is it really like running 123notary?” I asked.
“It’s like dealing with a series of situations that never end,” he said.
“So it’s like marriage,” I said.
“That’s a good analogy. Trying to get people to do what they’re supposed to is like separating ribs. I need people to answer their phone, or write their Notes. They don’t all do it.”
“So it’s like a cross between babysitting and marriage…”
“Another good analogy! We’re really on the same page here. Would you like to have dessert at Le Venue down the street?”
“I’d love to!”
“Waiter, would you bring our settlement statement? Was my appetizer amortized over the life of the dinner?”
The waiter brought the check.
“When is my first payment due?” asked Jeremy.
“In five minutes,” the waiter answered. “The term of your loan is 45 minutes–with no accrued interest. The final payment is due tonight as well.”
“Is my APR different from my rate?”
“They are the same–due to the fact that we are not adding finance charges to your transaction,” the waiter explained.
“I see your point.”
“There are no points– because points would be considered finance charges–and no origination fee,” concluded the waiter.
“This conversation is completely irrelevant, considering there is no security instrument,” said Jeremy.
The waiter returned with the credit card statement.
“What color ink would you like me to sign with, black or blue?”
“Either. Just as long as you are personally appearing before me, I can accept your signature…but I could give you an oath…because I saw you were raising your right hand as you were trying to hail me,” the waiter replied.
“Shall we leave?” I asked Jeremy.
“Let’s go,” he said.
We walked down the street to Le Venue, a Restaurant for Notaries, for dessert.
“What county are we in?” Jeremy asked the hostess.
“Why do you need to know?”
“You always need to know what county you’re in when you fill out a venue. You’re not a notary, are you?” Jeremy told the hostess.
“Is everyone here a notary?” he asked the waiter.
“Pretty much…except the hostess,” the waiter replied.
I noticed the placemats read, “State of California…”
We looked at the menu anyway, even though we were only there for dessert…and saw “Roast Seal with Ink.”
Jeremy considered the mousse for dessert…
“What county is the mousse from?” Jeremy asked.
“It’s not from a county, it’s from a province, sir” the waiter replied.
“Can we get an Alaskan mousse?” …
“How about this dessert made with oreo cookies– what a great raised seal they have!” I suggested.
“Does the seal on the embossed cookie have an expiration date?” Jeremy asked.
“It doesn’t expire until 2015,” the waiter attested.
“How about the analytics dessert? It’s a graph… It’s in the form of a pie graph…”
“Oh, I can’t eat a whole pie…” I said.
“Well, most of the pieces are missing…the anayltics weren’t very good…” Jeremy pointed out.
Jeremy got the mousse, and I asked for the Locus Sigilli Sundae.
“Today is Friday. Do you serve the sundae today–or only on Sundays and federal holidays?”
“We serve this sundae with the oreos every day, sir,” the waiter replied.
The food was perfect.
“I can’t finish my dessert,” I said. Can you finish it for me?” I asked.
“I think we have to get a power of attorney for me to finish your dessert,” Jeremy replied.
On the way out, he went up to the hostess and asked, “Can you validate us?”
“You’re a very nice person,” she told him, smiling.
“No, I mean stamp our parking receipt…Can I stamp it myself? I’m a notary; that’s my thing. Can I backdate it? We’ve been here quite a while…”
“No, sorry sir, we don’t allow that…”
“I enjoyed eating the date stamped on my oreos…” I said, wondering what to expect next.
“I enjoyed eating my mousse…but I would have enjoyed it more if the antlers hadn’t been crushed by the car that hit it in the dark, ” Jeremy laughed. “Can I take you home?” Jeremy asked softly.
“No….just drop me off at the FedEx drop box.”
(1) “Waiter, would you bring our settlement statement? Was my appetizer amortized over the life of the dinner?”
(2) The waiter brought the check. “When is my first payment due?” asked Jeremy.
(3) “Does the seal on the embossed oreo cookie have an expiration date?” Jeremy asked.
(4) The notary asked, “Can I get an Alaskan moose with Russian dressing. They’re our next door neighbors!”
(5) Running 123notary is more like babysitting than you think,
“Did you update your listing? Did you update your notes? Did you renew yet?”
(6) “FedEx?” I said. “Why FedEx?” “That’s where my dates always end–at a FedEx drop box.”
(7) Running 123notary is like a cross between babysitting & a marriage. A bunch of situations that never end!
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Experienced signers are being weeded out of the industry
In the old days, Notaries would make so much money. People could make $150 per signing if they had experience. $125 was a standard fee for Title companies. Unfortunately, even Title companies have lowered their fees to poverty level and hire beginners who fax back tons of pages so the Title company can quality check them. This is a sad state of affairs. But, honestly there is a shortage of qualified Notaries who can be trusted without all of the fax backs.
The problem is that for the few Notaries that are worth paying extra for, there is not enough business. You also cannot make your business model on hiring top notch Notaries since there are so few of them. A top notch Notary on 123notary merits about $110 to $125 per signing and are getting that in real life. There are about 2000 Notaries who are 123notary certified which demonstrates basic knowledge. There are about 250 who are Elite Certified which proves superior Notary skills and understanding. The elite certified Notaries are making the money, but the volume isn’t there. And as a result, many Notaries have dropped out of the profession. It is sad that some of the best Notaries dropped out and even sadder that they dropped out due to price competition.
So, inexperienced Notaries who work for $40 are being phased in while experts are leaving the field. I hope one day that this will change. Let’s pray!
On the other hand, Notaries with experience are weeding themselves off of the SnapDocs database. More and more Notaries are sick of the low-balling and cattle calls that go on over there. They are relying more on their long-term contacts, and other directories as a source of work.
With interest rates on the rise, business is likely to be slow in 2017. Goldman Sachs predicts a slow and steady rise in interest rates over the next year with a tenth of a percent average rise per quarter. This will be very bad for the Notary industry and I pray that we don’t lose our best members.
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