Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I thought I'd write a thoughtful, reflective post about the art school fiasco in Baroda. I even thought about what I'd link to, and what I'd say that was possibly different.

I thought I'd write a contemplation on sadness, a tranquil reflection on negative affect. Or perhaps an insightful review of some of Paul Simon's music, and how it ages with time. Or a whimsical piece about grading, or a slapstick account of the end of the semester. But no. It's hot, it's humid, it's been a crappy day, and my head has finally boiled over due to some of the most spectacular service ineptitude I have seen in a while. (No wait, I take that back. I'm flying again on Saturday.)

Suffice it to say that a colleague/collaborator and I ran some research which was being funded by my grant (of which I'm the principal investigator, and he's the co-investigator, but he's PI on another grant). The deal usually is that we pay for the research out of our own pockets and then get refunded by the office that handles this sort of grantwork. (So it's like a gratis loan from us to the government, but that's a rant for another day.)

Anyway, this time, in early March, we decided to pay for it from my grant. Only, when the RA came to pick up the check, I realised my checkbook was out of leaves and the replacement was in the mail. So my buddy picked up the tab, and asked the RA to ensure that the reimbursement went from my grant to his account.

I forgot all about it until a few days ago when he came knocking, asking about the reimbursement. I had no idea. We trotted down to the RA's office. She realised she hadn't understood that the reimbursement was to go to *him* and not me, and so the money had probably been credited to my account. They both turned to look at me. I'm a sook with finances so I slipped off back to my office to take a look. Logged on to my bank account, selected "Last 60 Days" from the balance enquiry, and clicked Submit.

There was no credit to my account during the probable period in March. There were credits to my account in April, but none for the requisite amount. For once I was in the right. I marched back to my colleague's office and told him the finance office must have screwed up. He grumbled about the interest he was losing - on a not inconsiderable sum. We summoned the RA again and asked her to follow up.

The RA told the department secretary - the one who gets everything done. The dept secy emailed the f.o. The f.o. got back saying the amount had been credited to my account on March 30. I logged on to my bank account again. Saw no credit. Went back to the dept. secy. She suggested to go downstairs to the bank. So I did.

At the bank the lady told me she couldn't check any transactions on my account from more than 30 days ago. I told her I could, online. She didn't believe me. Asked me to bring a printout. I went back upstairs. Logged on again. Clicked on "Last 60 days".

And realised that the bloody thing was only showing me transactions that happened after April 1.

I tried it the other way. From the available drag down menus, I selected the earliest available date: March 1, 2007, and the last available date, May 17, 2007. Asked for my statement.

Again, I only saw transactions dating from after April 1.

Who designs these things?


Post script.

The inside of my head hit the ceiling. I walked out of my office and came home. Looked through all the unopened bank statements I have lying on the sideboard and on the desk in the study.

Of course, the only one missing was the one for March.


Blogger km said...


Morangie is what you need right now.

5/18/2007 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Szerelem said...

I feel your pain. I really do. I have been struggling with bank statements as well. Blahhhhh.

5/18/2007 12:17 AM  
Blogger Revealed said...

It's been a bad day. Please don't take a picture. It's been a bad day. Plee-eee-ease.

Musical empathy coming your way :D

5/18/2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger Brown Magic said...

I do not know what this morangie is that km suggests. I hope it is a drink. an alcoholic one. If that is the case, I recommend two.

NY is so played out. You should come to D.C.

5/18/2007 3:42 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

morangie would have been *just* the thing except - as a logical cap to crappy day happenings - i'd just come home from a semi-official dinner where the chianti had turned my stomach and my lamb chops were floating dangerously close to my gills.

i did the second best thing. popped a couple of pills, switched off the lights in the bedroom, switched on the a/c, turned on the reading lights, drew up the covers, and opened my half-read biography of stalin.

the civilized world should be free of finances. i read somewhere recently about how there's a world of business and there's a world of finances. one adds value to the world, the other just throws a lot of money around.

"please don't take a picture"? it's the end of the teaching semester dude. my inbox is flooded with group photos.

morangie is Highland for Heaven. so yes. two would have hit both my spots.

as of now dc is on the cards for august. right about the time you take your long-awaited big apple tour.

5/18/2007 8:22 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

ah, i bet this must be some corollary of Murphy's law.
i kept complaining about my broadband connection at home and finally when the technician arrived (after some 100 calls), the damn thing suddenly starts working...

5/18/2007 6:10 PM  
Blogger ??! said...

That's as bad as trying to open a new bank account abroad, having to make an appointment(!) to go to the branch to open the account, having to call up a number which goes straight to 'Bob' in Gurgaon, landing up at your branch on the date/time that 'Bob' says you should, finding out there's no appointment been made, and then having to make an appointment - still standing in the branch - by having to call 'Bob' again! probably win.

5/18/2007 6:18 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

princess c:
yes, what you have is m's l, what i have is a c of m's l. exactly.

punctuation marks -- yes, i think i win. and anyway, i can match you on that story. some 6-7 years ago, flying home from a conference, i stretched my legs while sitting in the plane, and felt a little 'crack' in the big toe of my right foot. it hurt. i got home, it still hurt. two weeks later, it still hurt. tpb yelled at me, made me go to the health center. so i went. i walked there, climbed up a flight of stairs. the woman at the counter asked me what was wrong. i told her. she asked me: "is it an emergency?" i said well no, considering it was two weeks ago and i just *walked* in the door. sh esaid ok, in that case just walk through those doors right there, pick up the phone to your left, and make an appointment. a little bewildered, i did that. walked through the door, picked up the phone, called. got a 'please wait message'. waited. for ten minutes. got fed up. put down the phone. walked out the place.

5/18/2007 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Ph said...

DC in August? Just when I will be getting ready to move out. Hmph.

5/18/2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

only "getting ready", right? if i'm there it'll be on the first weekend of the month.

5/18/2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger ??! said...

hehe! ok, I see your agony, and I raise you this...
Got off the train one morning to work, and got asked for my ticket. Panicked on finding the ticket, and my wallet, missing.

So - to reason with surly TC. Do you accept a cheque? No. Credit card (I had spare in bag)? No. Accompany me to my office? Keep my bag and phone and wait for me to come back with money? Take my address and have it collected? Accept my word of honour that I'll deposit it at your nearest office? Let me off since I'm such an obviously respectable citizen, and this is a genuine mistake?
No, no, no.

So I had to stand there for 20 minutes, guarded by a zealous cop, smirked at by everybody else strutting past after flashing their tickets, waiting for a friend to come pay the fine, and rescue me from being taken to court.

5/18/2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

ahh, unpleasant. but not quite service failure, no? more like service oversuccess.

for service failure very little can beat my experiences with sahara in feb -- check the post if you missed it.

i called northwest last month to use my miles to upgrade. they said they couldn't do it then; i should call on may 14. i called on may 14, they said there were no seats left.

5/18/2007 11:31 PM  

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