Posted by: Paul | May 28, 2011

Someone’s in trouble…

…and it’s not me.

Firstly, excuse the long absence if you’re a repeat visitor and wondering why I haven’t posted lately. A lovely surfeit of work followed by an even lovelier holiday in Yorkshire have got in the way of blogging, but I’m back now and with some stories to relate over the next few weeks. I think I may not continue with the weekly Apprentice blog though – it’s sort of spoiling my enjoyment of the show, having to think of witty and scathing things to write while I’m watching. I might do interim posts at crucial junctures, or if something in particular presents itself for dissection.

Anyway, I’m inadvertantly following a bit of an email soap opera at the moment. There is someone in America, in the State of New York to be slightly more precise, who has a very similar email address to me. Lets call him…let’s call him Monty. For several years I’ve been receving email for Monty, of various kinds. I don’t know exactly what it is he does for a living, but I most often get mailouts in Spanish from Mexican car stereo suppliers, AT&T telling him his online bill is available to view, and friends and relatives asking about photos of him and his family. It must be a dot, a hyphen or an underscore away from mine, or else a relatively common typo which makes Monty’s errant missives find their way to me. Normally it’s spam and I delete it straight away but on the occasions I do get an email from an actual person, I respond in order to attempt to resolve the situation:

‘Hello. Thanks for your message, but I’m afraid I’m not Monty, and will therefore be unable to email you any of the photos he took of you and Bobby-Joe at the weekend. Sorry about that. Perhaps if you speak to him, you could ask him to change his email address, as I’ve had this one a long time and am not inclined to change it? I’d be very grateful. I’d email him myself if I knew what permutation of my own email address he was using, but since I don’t I’ll have to rely on your goodwill in this regard.’

They generally respond the following day. To me.

‘Hey Monty, I tried to email you but got some other dude saying this was his email address and if you didn’t change yours he’d find you and kill you. Anyway, can you send me some of the photos you took at the weekend? Thanks man. Jeb.’

‘Hello. This is the ‘other dude’ again. I don’t recall saying I’d find Monty and kill him, but that seems as good a solution as any under the circumstances. I would really prefer him to just change his email address though.’

This can go on for a number of days, with Jeb never successfully getting hold of Monty. I imagine Jeb actually bothers to phone him up in the end, but still the emails persist. Anyway, the reason for this particular post is that in recent weeks it’s become clear that Monty is in financial difficulty. I first learned about this as I received a form for ‘Emergency Financial Assistance’ for him to fill in, from some kind of debt relief and consolidation organisation. I politely responded in that I was sorry to hear of Monty’s troubles, but perhaps if he changed his email address he might have more success in sorting them out. ‘Krystal’ from the company politely emailed me back to thank them for letting them know, and said that they would speak to him.

While away on holiday though, Monty’s problems seemed to worsen. On checking my email when we returned, I saw the following, attached to a message to Monty from ‘Denny’:

Denny said ‘This is the letter I was talking about. It seems they will be reluctant to start legal proceedings if you start a dialogue with them and may be more inclined towards a resolution. Have a look and let me know what you think.’

Holy cow. $38000, more than three years in arrears and STILL the bank are being reasonable with Monty and want to reach an agreement (stated elsewhere in the full letter). That’s a heck of a lot more leeway than you’d get in this country.

I feel for Monty. Obviously this is just an anonymous excerpt of the letter that I’ve posted here and I myself am now privy to his name, address and financial circumstances, for what they’re worth. Of course I’ve written straight back to Denny to say I’m not who he thinks I am, I fortunately don’t owe anyone $38000, and I hope Monty resolves the situation but FOR GOD’S SAKE CAN HE PLEASE CHANGE HIS EMAIL ADDRESS. I’ll let you know how I get on.

My advice at this stage? Don’t put any money into Mexican car stereos.

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