Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How not to introduce someone

About 35 years ago I attended my first Roanoke Bar Association Law Day Luncheon. The speaker for this occasion was William B. Spong, Jr. , then Dean of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, Virginia. Dean Spong had served as US Senator from Virginia for one term and was truly an honest politician. Everyone at the luncheon knew who he was.

Being so well known poses a problem for the person who gets the honor to introduce them without boring the audience.  That honor fell to B. Purnell Eggleston, a senior and distinguished member of the bar. He handled it in what would now be considered politically incorrect.

"Members of the Bar and distinguished guests, our speaker really doesn't need an introduction.  In fact, he recently spoke at a function in Richmond and the lady making the introduction -- a lady from the high society of Richmond matrons -- was gushing at the opportunity.  She said in her genteel Southern Matronly drawl, 'Ladies and gentlemen, our speaker has served in the Virginia House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, the United States Senate -- why, he's done so many things his Who's Who is Nine inches long!' "

Friday, September 2, 2011

Drive Collection Agents Nuts

As a lot of my followers know, I serve as guardian and conservator for several people.  A number of these folks ran up credit card debt before getting disabled and they're now in a nursing home and receive Medicaid long term care.

I'll admit that I'm not in any hurry to pay their credit cards -- they're pretty close to the bottom of the priority list, if not below the line.

Credit card companies don't keep non-paying accounts -- they sell them to third parties who then try to collect them, and then those guys sell them to fourth, fifth, and so on down the line. After 2 or 3 years the account ends up with a 'bottom feeder' who tries everything to collect.  Here's the catch:  when the account is sold, all that the purchaser gets is a name, social security number, address and contact info and -- maybe -- some of the account history.  They don't get the copies of the original account documents or a detailed charge/payment history of the account. 

So the collectors call me wanting to get paid on Irving Puffuffnick's old credit card. Actually they try to talk to Irving himself (and I've pretended to be Irving on more than one occasion -- in a sense I AM Irving by virtue of a court order) and want documentation from me to prove I have authority to act on behalf of Irving.

Of course, before I give them that authority (which is public record if they want to go to the courthouse to look for it - admittedly a long commute for someone in California) I demand proof that they are authorized to discuss the account on behalf of the creditor.

Mexican Standoff? (Wikipedia)

Decoding Wells Fargo as an acronym

The office staff has been complaining about the long lines at Wells Fargo, especially after the formal changeover from Wachovia (which took over from First Union (and whose initials were really appropriate), which took over from Dominion Bank, which grew out of First National Exchange Bank . . . )

So Donna, my right arm and assistant, took a deposit over there and the line for a teller was 'nearly out the door'.  While waiting she took the name "Wells Fargo" and broke it down:

"Where  Every  Line's Longer Seemingly Forever And Rage Grows Often"

Not bad, huh?

Think they'll care?  nah.  They're too big for their britches.

Guess it's time for me to close all the estate accounts I have there;  doubt they'll miss a measly $500K in money.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Corporate America the Correct way

Talked to a good friend/client today.  He's an officer in a fair sized regional corporation.  Originally he was hired as a manager of one of the company's factories that was losing money.  In, I believe, a year and a half he turned it around.  I asked him about it.

"It wasn't too hard, really.  Yes, there were people that had to go, but mostly I worked with everyone bottom to top to educate them where they fit in and how what they did for the company made a difference.  Once someone knows how the system works, they'll bend over backwards to make it work and suggest ways to streamline and save money."

I'm only a lawyer, but to me it's that simple. I'm proud to have him as a friend and client.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Political story

Among my past sins is activity in politics; I say past sins because I'm no longer enamored with politicians and -- while I consider a number of them in both parties friends -- I feel they're more interested in following the party line (regardless of consequences) than doing what is necessary even if unpopular.

But this isn't about my disdain for elected wonks.

Many years ago I was a local Democratic Party chair;  Sen. Charles "Chuck" S. Robb was running for re-election against Ollie North (who was the only person Republicans could have nominated that Chuck could beat).  The Annual Salem Fair was in town, and was crowded with the great unwashed of southwestern Virginia. (and as a side not, I first met Chuck when I went to the State Fair in Richmond when he first ran for statewide office 'back when.  Going to Fairs and such is de-riguer for politicians.)

I got called on to walk with Chuck among the crowd as he shook hands and encouraged their vote for him in November.  As we were walking and talking, I observed the people and wondered how many actually voted. After some more thought I asked, "Chuck, how many of these folks you've been shakin' hands with do you think have had their right to vote restored".

"You know, that's a damn good question".

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cutsey Phone Scripts

I'm back to the blog.  Been kinda busy and didn't realize how long it's been.

I just called a nursing home in Salem, part of a large for-profit nursing home chain headquartered in Roanoke. The poor receptionist is required to answer the phone "It's a great day, thank you for calling (nh name) home of . . . " yadda yadda.  It seems to take fifteen seconds and two full breaths to get it all out.  As is my nature, I immediately sympathized with her about the mouthful of nonsense she's got to spew every time the phone rings.

Ignoring the fact that it's raining and cold out, negating the 'great day' thing, the routine is silly. To me it's a turn off.  Most people don't even listen to it, they wait for the spiel to end and then ask whatever they wanted.

In the office I share with another lawyer, Emily - the best receptionist we've ever had - answers simply "Hart and Hart Attorneys; how may I help you?" It starts the call with basic information: what office the caller got, and then sets the tone of wanting to help the caller.