If You Put It In A Book Nobody Would Believe It

It was one of those days today.

To be fair, it didn’t start that way. In fact, the morning was perfectly normal, or as close to normal as things get in this place.

And then, around lunchtime, we got a Fedex parcel which contained a letter allegedly from our bank about an insurance payout from a claim we did not remember making (our insurer, too), and a check for a respectable amount of money.

The check also had an incident date on it, presumably the date of the unknown event when the claim we didn’t remember was made – a date in 2019. The check itself was dated to late 2020. And the cover letter didn’t appear to have been spell checked, much less proof-read and checked for grammar errors.

It was full of bad spelling, bad wording, and the kind of issues that in an email would have me checking to see whether this was a scam.

I still checked for a scam because there are some damned imaginative scams out there. Meanwhile, The Husband fired up the phone… First was the insurance company, which quickly proved to be a dead end.

Then he called the bank. And stayed on the phone for a long, long time before eventually finding out that there was another customer with the same name, whose spouse has the same name as me, and who uses the same insurance company. That poor sod had put in an insurance claim over one and a half years ago and was only now getting the check for the thing.

The Husband drove up to the local branch of the bank to hand them the letter and check so that it could be sent to the correct person of the same name.

He’d been back maybe five minutes when my phone rang.

The bank. Calling to explain the mess with the insurance and – presumably – inform me that the check was in the mail. I didn’t let it get that far: I explained to the poor sod that he’d got the two sets of people with the same name mixed up again, and I was the wife of the person who’d been incorrectly sent the check, not the one who should have received the thing.

The poor fellow was quite embarrassed over the whole thing, I think. He’d just spent I don’t know how long on the phone with my husband working out what should have happened with the insurance payout, only to call the wrong person to notify them of the mistake.

Honestly, if you put something like this into a story nobody would believe it. Heck, you’d get rolled eyes and probably an “Oh, come on.” if you put it into a sitcom. Even if you put it in an American sitcom.

The whole, two families where first and last name of both husband and wife are matched, plus both use the same bank (although not the same branch of said bank) and the same insurance company thus causing an insurance payout to go to the wrong pair is pushing it. Having the cover letter of said payout be badly written enough to look like a scam is tipping it over the edge.

The phone call to apologize to the wrong person is just jumping the shark.

Not, I might add, that I blame the bank representative. I don’t know what their customer management software looks like (although I would be shocked if it’s something that makes it easy to tell if you’ve got the right person or not) and I give them kudos for making the apology call in the first place. I don’t have any doubt that the person who called me was calling the other couple within minutes of ending the call with me.

No, it’s just the combination of coincidences that leads to such an unbelievable result.

So, I’ve got to say it. Go home 2021. You’re drunk.

Oh, and have a photo of Buttercup. She would have you know that she’s very elegant and refined. Just… not right now.


47 thoughts on “If You Put It In A Book Nobody Would Believe It

    1. Especially if they set up the players properly. Earnest but somewhat derpy employee. Lousy software at the bank. (Other small mishaps in other episodes would fit that) and a single missed call indicating there was another family by the same name. Or even just driving by ” accounting. CPA Taxes done here!”

      1. I freely admit I am no great fan of American sitcoms. I’ve yet to watch one that I’ve found funny. My sense of humor leans more British/Australian – the American style is just too obvious for me.

        1. Eh I’m not a huge fan myself. But it wouldn’t be much weirder than what’s already there. I bounce hard off most comedy. No idea if it could be rendered funny, but it could be rendered no less improbable than Barney Fife I think

      2. Ooh, good point, making it from the POV of an earnest but derpy employee would totally make it work, because you could sympathize that it was Not Her Fault and STILL go “I could’ve avoided that! Nooooo!” as she messes up.

        (Sometimes he. But my brain insisted she fit better, so I went with that. I blame DerpyHooves.)

  1. For years, every time I went to the pharmacy to pick up my birth control pills, the lady at the counter would say “You picked them up earlier today”. And I would explain that I was Aimee Morgan, not Amy Morgan, and that is why I spelled my name and gave my date of birth without being asked because this happens every month.
    “Sorry – we’ll make a note in the computer”
    The note was never made, but the situation resolved when Tricare changed something and I had to move my prescriptions from CVS to Walgreens.

    Three years ago I finally got to meet Amy Morgan when her daughter joined my Girl Scout Troop. Apparently when she went to the pharmacy, they’d try to give her my meds instead of hers.

    1. Navy A school, same kind of thing, she was an AE, I was an AT, we got eachother’s mail a LOT — short to average gals with brown hair and pale skin, somewhat understandable.

      The freaky thing was that she had the middle name I was going to have, before my mom’s favorite aunt died.

    2. My husband worked in a large school system – he is Dennis J Fox. Another Dennis Fox, with the middle initial R, also worked in the system – both teachers.
      For NINE years, he attempted to get a grievance resolved through the union. He’d write it up, send it in (sometimes drop it off), and regularly as clockwork, it would disappear. Year after year.
      He finally appeared in person, talked to someone in management in the union, and turned in the grievance to her. Thought it was over.
      Once again, they dropped the matter like a careless toddler.
      After it was too late to pursue his grievance, he finally figured out what was happening:
      – When the grievance made it to the union official whose job it was to handle it, he would call his very good friend DENNIS R FOX, and ask, “Is there a problem?”. Upon being informed that he had no grievance, the official would drop it into the trash.
      This, despite his friend not working at the school from which this originated, having a different middle initial (noted on the grievance form), and the form appearing again and again. You might think he would have wondered why, and followed up – but he did not.
      Finally, when the OTHER Dennis retired, they sent his paperwork to my husband. He called the union up, and said, “I wasn’t planning to retire just yet, but if you will also send the monthly pension check to me, I will”.
      That, they corrected.

  2. Worse than what in the Army. Sgt No 1 Name. Sgt No 1 name and Sgt No one Name. Both joined the Army a month a part. Both in the same state. Both had same first name, last name, middle initial. Same first six of SSN. Last four of SSN (we were using SSN as Service number then.) were the same numbers. My Sgt last four were 1234. His buddy. was 1432. They spend their service chasing each other around the world. And it was common for them to get the wrong checks. This was okay as often they were on the same base. They got promoted with two months of each other. They would get orders to new station within 2 months. Their routine would be to keep each others addresses and phone numbers up to date. And either meet up at the NCO club or PX to swap checks. Even with direct deposit the check stubs were often sent to the wrong person.

  3. For us, as for many others, was a dumpster fire. We even bought a couple of Larry Corrieas’ 2020 challenge coins with the dumpster fire logo.
    So far, 2021 seems to vary between “hold my beer and watch this” and “take me drunk, I’m home”.
    I hope that your times will be better.
    John in Indy

    1. I hear you. 2021 for us has been wavering between “go home, you’re drunk” and “WTF??”.

      On the plus side, the Husband will be employed again starting Monday, which means we can put the rest of his severage towards either savings or paying down the mortgage.

  4. Long before it was a video series on “Extra History,” my history professor talked about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and how…comedic it was, up until the point it was tragedy. And, that nobody would have believed it happened, without the historical record.

    1. it certainly was a case of “How not to execute an Assassination” and a case of “How to not avoid an Assassination attempt”, or maybe “How To – ensure the worst shot most have ever seen is able to hit multiple targets”

      1. The most logical explanation of the assassination of the Archduke is that there were about half a dozen time travelers trying to execute multiple different plots. I wonder if the good guys or the bad guys won.

          1. Ah, yes. The century-long (more or less) dumpster fire encompassing two officially declared world wars, one unofficial allegedly cold world war, the near simultaneous fall (at least in historical terms) of anything between three and six-plus empires (depending on the exact definition used, among other things) and a level of rapid social change not seen in… hm… possibly ever.

            Although it’s probably not fair to blame it all on one messy assassination: Europe was such a tightly wound disaster waiting to happen that it would have all kicked off sooner or later.

            1. Europe was a disaster waiting to happen and the powder kegs were there..

              You had a German Empire that had hit the maximum theoretical territorial growth and was getting only the dregs of any possible overseas holdings, after being used as the battlefield for European power brokers for over two hundred-plus years.

              You had the “sick men of Europe”-an Austa-Hungarian empire that was suffering from internal revolt and decay, an Ottoman Empire that was seeing the rise of yet another wave of Islamic jihadists and revolts as they lost control, and Tsarist Russia that never quite got the idea that it was supposed to be a part of the 19th Century, let alone the 20th.

              You had a France that was still angry about the Franco-Prussian War and wanted revenge.

              You had an England that was trying not to really get dragged into this mess, but had no real choice but to get involved. And, their fear that they would be next-that the chaos and change happening in Europe would cross the Channel and tear down their world.

              You had the rise of socialism and Communism and people in the US and Europe trying to co-op those movements.

              And, it pretty much happened on the schedule that Bismark predicted, almost to the year, and because of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

              1. “some damn fool thing in the Balkans” has caused a lot of grief to everyone.

                It’s as prophetic as Churchill growling about the treaty of Versailles not being a peace treaty but a twenty year ceasefire.

                1. Churchill, for all of his sins, had a very astute sense of history and knew many of the players involved.

                  It didn’t help that Woodrow Wilson was a big enough idiot and fool to try and “save the world” by his own plans.

        1. Zsusa – I think the answer it actually “yes”. Or possibly that nobody won.

        2. What if this really is the best of timelines? Nah, I can’t follow that line of thinking. It will lead me to dark places.

          1. Seconded…There’s got to be a better timeline out there somewhere. One that didn’t keep taking sharp turns into crazy along the way.

  5. When I lived in Ft. Collins, I had some financial issues and so was paying bills with cashier’s checks. Someone slipped a digit doing data entry and credited my account with $10,000-something instead of $1,000-something. I wrote them a letter asking them to fix their mistake. They denied any mistake had occurred.
    About a year later, I was selling the house and mentioned this issue at closing. Another letter was sent. We put the difference in an escrow-ish account while waiting for the loan to payoff. The response was another letter saying “no mistake” with a photocopy of the cashier’s check on the back. The check CLEARLY was for $1000-something (both the text and the digits). They closed the loan with the error and I got the extra.
    I left the money in my savings account for over year, just in case. I finally spent it on something. About a year after that, I got a “you owe us!” letter. I borrowed a lawyer, who wrote a “you must be crazy” letter to them and enclosed (a copy of) all the previous correspondence.
    The Monopoly card is real: Bank errors in one’s favor do happen.

    1. Yes, yes it is. Unlike fiction, there is no rule that says reality must make sense.

      I’m quite certain reality giggles like a loon while taking ruthless advantage of this fact.

  6. Stuff like this happens quite frequently in my family. Before she got remarried a few years ago the lady that beat me out for dispatcher of the year used to have the same first, middle and last name as my wife. We were always getting each other’s prescriptions at the pharmacy. Luckily we all know each other.

    My Father-in-Law is Luis Jr. His son is Luis III. They used to use the same bank and insurance company. They even worked for the same police department for a little while. The number of times one got the other’s mail was comical. Not so comical was when they would get a court summons for the other.

    At my previous department we had to deal with a blended family that each brought a daughter, with the same first and middle names, and same date of birth. So if one got in trouble, they often used the other’s last name.

    1. I think my headache has a headache.

      The Husband and I have never run into this issue before. The Husband’s last name – and my maiden name for that matter – is sufficiently unusual that we rarely encounter anyone else who had it.

      1. I have a pretty common last name (for this area) and a common first name as well. My in-laws have a common Spanish last name, which is uncommon around here.

        1. Oh, and his grandmother goes by “First and middle initial last name”…. like I do.

          Guess what?

          ….they match.

          and she used the same car dealership….

          1. Well, when people live in the same time period and have the same ethnic background, names do tend to repeat.

            Most Irish families used to have a pattern of naming boys after the father, the grandfather, the uncle, blah blah blah, right down the line, and sometimes the girls got the same thing with the female relatives. My family is full of people named John and James, until the current generation where some branching out occurred.

            The hilarious thing was when I went and looked at the town closest to where one side’s ancestors lived, and it turned out that it was all the same names in our family tree, over and over, except where our US Civil War ancestor gave all his kids weird names. His kids had gone right back to giving their kids the same names. And the same thing on the other side where there were people of Irish descent, except for the one weird-name giver cousin who managed to get his head chopped off. (Civil War ancestor gave all his kids political/historical hero names, but maternal side guy gave his kids weird names from the Bible.)

            1. *laughs* What’s that old standup thing?

              “One time my buddy Pat got in trouble and I couldn’t figure out why his mom was standing there rattling off all the books of the Bible. Turns out that was his full name…..”

            2. I’m the first in several generations on my Dad’s side that doesn’t have Frank/Franklin somewhere in my name. My Dad’s name is exactly the same as his grandfather’s, which makes the genealogy interesting at times. And for having such a common German last name, I (or my daughter if she doesn’t get married) will be the last one in the family with that last name. I’m an only child, my Dad was an only child, and my grandfather was an only son. My great grandfather had a brother, buy I haven’t researched that line yet to see what he got up to. IIRC he never made to ND, but stayed in WI.

      2. My sister’s name (first and last) is far from usual. And yet we always got insurance notifications and other similar documents for another young woman in the same area with the same name. Having an unusual name isn’t a guarantee.

        I apparently also have a “clone” in the same city, as people used to consistently call me by her name. I never met her. It might be interesting.

      3. There is a historical figure, famous in certain circles. Robert Edward Lee, perhaps you have heard of him? 🙂

        Tracing the exact path by which I have that name is a little bit too much personal information. Being staunch Union/Lincoln/Sherman, I was not particularly excited by learning that detail. I’ve become much more positive on Robert Lee after spending some time thinking through the difficulties of achieving peace after a civil war.

        I was on a project once with three Roberts. We went by Bob, Rob, and Robert.

        Oddly enough, the time I was getting confused (in speech) with another person was not with a Robert at all.

        1. Ah, yes. The naming conventions that go with having multiple people with the same or similar names. Up until about 13 months ago, my team at work had two Jims (in a 5 person team) and the team of 3 sitting next to us had 2 Gregs. We still have 2 Gregs, but the Jims both moved elsewhere within a month of each other.

          We went with the first letter of the last name. Jim G and Jim H, Greg M and Greg O. If we’d run into the same first letter of the last name, we’d have had to come up with a different naming convention.

          Funnily enough, I’ve never worked in close company with another Kate.

          And gosh. Whodathunkit, this Robert Edward Lee feller being famous?

    2. My real name is sounds fake but I think there is one other person who has the same first and last but not middle.

      1. I used to dislike my middle name, but will sign important papers with it now. According to the web, there is nobody else with it as a middle name, fewer than 100 with it as a last name, and fewer than 100 that have had it as their first name in the last 140 years. (Apparently, one of those <100 was my father's great step-uncle, or some such, who was a big help to his mother when her first husband died.)

  7. For me it’s more an HR guy on the other side of the country has the same first name and same first three letters in his last name, so I’m periodically getting invited to various telecom S and what not.

    Think is, because of what I do, I’m also getting various invites to meetings and random questions about various things going different forms of pear shaped (but hardware pear shaped, not people pear shaped) so I have to look real closely at what I get to make sure it’s actually my random out of the blue emails and not his.

    This gets extra glorious with the 7pm invites to an 8:00 am telecon…

    1. Yeah, there was a guy at corporate HQ at one of my jobs who had the same first initialsand last name as me, so sometimes I got his emails. (His email didn’t use his initials or used fewer initials, because it came from Earlier Times; but most people’s did, so they just reflexively picked letters and hit send.)

      I got in the habit of just forwarding his emails to him, but it was kinda embarrassing to get personal emails or invites. I’m glad I never got anything really really personal, but there’s a lot of possibilities for someone getting somebody else’s death threats or desperate last emails.

  8. My last name’s uncommon, but often misspelled for a common name one letter off. And my wife and I knew three or four friends each, in our school and college days, with our own first names. So when we were expecting, we picked names that wouldn’t be shared by a full third of any nursery or classroom.

    1. That sounds like a sensible decision to me…. My first name isn’t exactly rare, but apparently using Kate as the preferred nickname is unusual, because I don’t often run into other Kates.

  9. My last name is reasonably common, but Peter was moderately uncommon when I was working at HP. I started getting odd emails inviting me to meetings at the London office, and I politely responded that the trip from California was going to make it difficult to make it on time. It took a few such emails before the relevant people got a clue.

    Turns out that the British employee was Peter E Lastname, while I am Peter D Lastname. To further complicate matters, Peter E worked for Peter Lastname-with-an-extraneous-E.

    Had similar situations in the university. Other-Peter was a TA in a soft-science department, and I’d get panicked phone calls about the midterm exams. I was in the U-dorm phone book, while the TA was living off campus. Not sure why, but I resisted screwing with the panicked students’ minds.

    1. Oh, you definitely got virtue points for not screwing with panicked students.

      My maiden name caused a fair amount of confusion: our family is British extraction, with several generations in Australia, and a long history of being Church of England. The name itself is very Jewish.

      There isn’t enough data to be sure, but there’s a strong suspicion of going crypto back when Longshanks was chasing the Jews out, given when and where the name is first recorded, and the profession listed for them. It’s another uncommon one, although at one elementary school there was another kid in my year with almost the same name. We had the same last name, but she was Cathy, and I was Kate, so no real confusion.

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: