This week has been less than sterling. Little things and big things have conspired to irritate and infuriate.
On the little, irritating things side, the lever on the kitchen faucet broke, as in snap-holding-a-piece-in-your-hand broke. fosteronfilm was turning on the water and then . . . he wasn’t.
Fortunately, this didn’t result in a panic-inducing geyser, or even a distressing dribble, for that matter. Still, it’s awkward doing anything in the kitchen without a ready water supply. After Matthew peered at the underside of the sink for a while and determined it was out of his DIY league, we phoned several plumbers and got a vastly diverse range of estimates from “I dunno how much it’d be; we’ll have to send someone out to look” (for what ought to be a basic installation) to “prolly around $175” to “$250 not including parts.”
Grumbling, we went to Home Depot to pick out a new faucet ensemble, and while there, I noticed that they do installations.
“How much?” we asked.
“$90,” they sez.
Still painful, but far less so. And while boggling at the wide range of faucet options available and their correspondingly wide range of prices, I mused aloud to the hubby: “I don’t understand why there’s such a huge price difference; what makes this $250 faucet better than this $69 one?” A helpful assistant person in an orange apron replied, “It’s all about the name brand and the finish. But they’ve all got lifetime warranties, so just pick one you like that fits your sink.”
Not only sage advice, but it made my brain ping. “They’ve all got lifetime warranties?” I queried, eying the Moen faucets.
“Yup, these brands always do.”
So we went home, sans faucet. I looked up the model of our broken Moen, emailed the company a “Lifetime Warranty?” note, and they got back to us the next day with a “sending you a new piece, expect delivery in 5-7 business days.” Wow! We didn’t have to mail them the broken faucet or anything. I’m not sure what exactly they’re sending us. A new handle will not be useful, as the connection is snapped through, but if they’re sending a new faucet, then we’re all good*. I am optimistic.
On the big thing, making-Eugie-livid front, trying to deposit my check from Faeries was every bit the wacky fun I’d anticipated, so much so that I still have the check.
Went to my local SunTrust branch, handed my check to the teller, and asked what the conversion rate was and if there was a fee for depositing it. After squinting at my weird money-paper with the funny words and asking what a “euro” was**, the teller looked up the conversion on her computer (bad but not unexpected), then said it would cost me a flat $25 fee to deposit it. I squawked. She called for backup, and subsequently revised the fee to $10. I asked for documentation, as the fee structure I have from both the website and the handout they gave me detailing the features and fees of my account list no such fee, and I want to know what I’m paying so I can go price compare at other banks. She referred me to their financial services rep.
Off I went to powwow with the financial services rep. This woman was equally clueless so phoned her supervisor for advice. She then said $60 and handed over a printout (hot off her laserjet), and circled a section under “Research Services” called “International Collections.” I explained that this wasn’t “research,” nor was it a “collection.” Unless they’re using new and different definitions, in banking and finance, a “collection” is when a creditor tries to recover a past-due payment, and “research” involves hunting down information that is not readily available.
She insisted she was correct.
Then Matthew pointed out that above it was a $20 fee listing for “domestic collections,” and if what she was saying was true, then it would cost everyone $20 anytime they wanted to deposit a domestic check, which was patently ridiculous.
Nevertheless, she stuck by her bogus claim.
Realizing there was no one there who knew squat and they were making it up as they went along, I retrieved my check and we went home.
Once home, I called my bank’s customer (dis)service line, and, after summoning a supervisor for assistance, the phone rep. declared “10% of the amount of the check” to deposit my French check.
That brought the total number of different fee amounts quoted to me for depositing my check to four. Spurious much? And there was no one else higher up to talk to.
So I contacted the Better Business Bureau and lodged a complaint.
Can anyone recommend a new bank?
*Well, except for installation.
**Geez, you’d think I was asking them to explain string theory. It’s a simple international transaction. I want to deposit a foreign check. A bank ought to be able to handle that, and a bank’s employees should at least be familiar with what the standard currency in Europe is.
I’m having a dry spell in the sales department (wah!), so feeling disheartened and needy, I did a vanity search. One of my hits was the Institute of Children’s Literature!
Deborah Vetter, my Cricket and Cicada editor, is an instructor there, and in her bio, I’m listed as one of the “distinguished writers” she’s worked with, along with Nancy Springer and Aaron Shepard. Me! A distinguished writer! *squee!*
So yeah. That helped.
– 600 on the Swan Lake story.
– 600 on an article for Writing-World.com. Several editing passes and sent off. Waiting is.
– 1500 on the freelance gig.
– Payment and contrib. copies from Paradox for “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon.” Huzzah!