Done and well done

The topics of two of my recent posts resolved themselves (positively) yesterday.

First, and best, a big thank-you to the commenters who responded to my rant about the Funky Llama wine rebate fiasco. After using their information to contact the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and the new importer for Funky Llama, I received a replacement $5 rebate check yesterday from Allied Beverage Group, L.L.C., along with a nice letter explaining that, although it was not obliged to honor the debts of the former importer, it was willing to do so anyway “as a good faith example,” including refunding people for the bank fees they incurred. Now that’s definitely worth noting and shouting about, so thank you Allied Beverage for your excellent service, and I will be sure to patronize your products in the future. Well done!

Second, my new passport arrived yesterday — less than two weeks after I applied! This was a pleasant surprise. (The website advises 4 to 6 weeks to process routine applications and 2 to 3 weeks for expedited service. I feel sorry for those who paid an extra $60 for expedited service.) The only mystifying (and annoying) thing, is this note…

Not a problem on its own, but only when you flip it over and see the same message (I presume) in Spanish…

Why would the U.S. passport office need to provide a Spanish translation? Are there that many people traveling on U.S. passports who don’t know enough English to understand the English version?

If I were to receive a Spanish passport or a Colombian passport or a Venezuelan passport or a Mexican passport, would there be an English translation included on the paperwork? What about on a French passport or German passport?

Why does the U.S. seem to resist being an English-speaking country? Even for something as uniquely American as holding a U.S. passport? I’m sure it is not PC to bring this up, but for goodness sake, really U.S. State Department? Really?

Regardless, the task is done. I can cross off “renew my passport” from the mental list it’s been on for years and, even better, chalk one up to the power of the Internet (and good people) to right wrongs when you least expect it.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
~ Mark Twain 

A lesson in the dangers of complacency

Never say your life is boring…it likely won’t be for long. Case in point:

December 20, 2011

Tastings Import Company
910 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 5000
Chicago, IL 60607-3557

Dear Sirs:

Please find enclosed a copy of the $5 rebate check for Funky Llama wine that you sent to me on 12/2/2011 and that I then cashed. Big mistake. Not only was the check returned by the bank, which charged my account the $5, it also charged me $12 for a returned check.

I tried to contact your company at 312-226-9438, only to find a recording that told me to call another number (847-733-7173) that is now disconnected.

I now have little hope of recouping my $17, but if an actual person receives this letter, why in God’s name did you even send the $5 check at all, months after I submitted the rebate information? Just like to mess with people during the holidays, do you?

I hope I am the only person dumb enough to painstakingly remove and send in a half-dozen wine labels to get a lousy $5 rebate that ended up costing me much more. On the other hand, how ironic, as I will need to drink a bottle or two of wine to relieve the absurdity of this situation.

Thanks a million — or at least $17.


I made three calls to the bank trying to understand what had happened. It was made more puzzling by the fact that although I cashed the check, the bank arbitrarily charged my mother’s checking account, which I have my name on and handle for her, the $5 and $12 fees. (Ummmm, sorry Mom?) Actually, the $12 fee took a few days to appear, and the bank then earned my sincere gratitude for waiving the fee after I called for the third time and asked if there was anything they could do, under the circumstances. So, thank you for that, PNC Bank! I do appreciate it!

As for the rest of it…seriously. Have you had anything this absurd happen to you? Coincidentally, I have a $3 rebate check in my purse for something totally different that I am now afraid to cash. So much for pinching pennies. But I do think I’m going to go drink a glass of wine — just not Funky Llama.

If you wish to keep your affairs secret, drink no wine.
~ Author unknown