Pointless griping

Mr. and Mrs. San

Back in the 1970s there was a movement to create a relationship-neutral title for women. “Mr.” for men was already relationship-neutral. A man was Mister whether he was married or single. Women were Miss until they married and became titled Mrs. So we came up with Ms., a female form of Mr., which did not indicate whether the woman was married or not.

Fast forward to 2014. I was on a mock jury. The presenter, an intelligent, educated millennial, surprised me by assuming that a woman who had chosen the “Ms.” title on an application form was declaring herself to be single. Somehow Ms. has come to be viewed by some as a shorter way of writing Miss, an unmarried woman.

At first this disturbed me, since I was there for the fuss involved in getting a relationship-neutral title accepted. Then I thought about it. Our culture clearly still cares whether a woman is married or not, more than they care whether a man is. We want the label right up front, so the neutral label has at least partly reverted to a relationship indicator.

Compare this to the Japanese method. In Japan, everyone is addressed with the respectful title of “san.” Except for family and very close friends, all are referred to by their last name, and the title san. Brack-san, Smith-san. If there are two Smiths present, then John-Smith-san and Sue-Smith-san. Not only relationship-neutral, but gender and age neutral as well.

Too bad I don’t have the energy to start another social movement to get us all using san. It wouldn’t last anyway, we still want to categorize people and put the label on right up front.


Wonderful review

I am so moved by this review. “Tightwad Gazette of the 21st Century” is exactly what I wanted people to think about it:

“Great book!, February 18, 2014

By Lita McRiley “Sorlina”See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely (Kindle Edition)

This book is jam-packed with tips, ideas, and strategies for saving money. It’s the Tightwad Gazette of the 21st century… internet addresses for DIY help, encouragement for readers, personal anecdotes, this book has it all. To top it off, it’s delivered in a light, easy to read style that isn’t preachy or judgmental. A very helpful, and enjoyable, read!”

The Tightwad Gazette has been the “bible” of thrifty living. My hope was to make it the ‘old testament’ and mine the ‘new testament’, and it seems I have succeeded.


Logic Problem

Well that was odd. I went to my credit union to find out why they rejected a draft from Paypal:

On Jan 11, 2014, we [Paypal] attempted to transfer $3.99 USD from your bank account ending in xxx6. This transfer was returned by your bank on the reason below:

This is an invalid bank account number.

The teller couldn’t see the rejected transaction on her computer so I went to a customer service desk and explained the situation. She brought up the account and told me there was a transaction at the post office. True, I had just come from mailing a package; and yet so not relevant to my inquiry. Then she printed out the last 3 or 4 weeks of transactions “so you can see the Paypal transactions”. Very nice, but not helpful since the $3.99 rejection on the 11th did not appear on the printout. I asked about that and she said rejections wouldn’t appear on such a printout. Okay.

I asked, who can see the rejections? She called someone. The upshot of the call was to tell me that if the routing number and account number were typed in wrong the transaction wouldn’t go through. Again, quite true and yet not meaningful in this situation since there was no typing involved. I linked the checking account to Paypal nearly two years ago and it worked fine until the 11th. I pointed that out and asked if the bank would have changed the number, because otherwise it’s the same old number that’s been working for two years. She responded to that by carefully writing my account number on a slip for me. Very thoughtful, but as I told her I do know my account number, and if I forgot it’s on all my checks, and unless the bank changed something it’s the same one that’s been working for Paypal for two years. We parted with the understanding that if it happens again I’ll print out the notice Paypal sends me and bring it in.

The above account is abbreviated since we several times trod the logic path of it’s the same number for two years, it’s worked for two years, so what is the variable that made it not work on the 11th? To me that seems like a progression that any bright school kid could follow, but the customer service rep drew a complete blank on it.

Several time lately people have suggested to me that applying logic to situations isn’t always what the social occasion calls for (“People don’t like that.”). Maybe so, but in the case of a bank transaction rejection it seems to me the appropriate response on the part of the bank rep is to try to trace the cause of the problem in a logical order. When I run into something like that, I debug it. It worked up to X point, okay, so what changed at or just before X point that caused the result to be different this time?

Here’s hoping it was a one time glitch.