Days of Whine and Rages
When you have a monthly mortgage your due date is usually the first of the month.
Built into that is usually a 15 day grace period where if you pay the amount within that time frame no fees no penalty no dink on your credit report. In short, no flag no foul no phone calls.
Over the last 3 years during our collective stretches of unemployment my wife and I have still managed to keep the mortgage paid although we have very frequently had to invade that grace period.
And mostly Citibankthebastards left us alone (we'll leave the saga of our HAMP attempt out of this discussion, it's truly Wagnerian).
Recently, however, as the markets have convulsed and gyrated, that has not been the case.
And what has stood out is whenever Citigroup takes a hit in the market or has bad news or press, the next day I surely get a call telling me I'm two or three days into the grace period when do I plan on making payment?
I used to argue with them about it, telling them I'm not past due yet, I'm not delinquent. To which they'd argue but your due date was the first today is the third etc.
Now I just ask them if I'm still in the grace period, they answer yes and I tell them to fuck off and not bother me until I've blown that.
To compound things my credit cards are Citi issued. I don't use them anymore but am still paying on them. Balances got run up because they had to be used during this period for car repairs etc when we didn't have the cash anymore.
And I've kept those paid on time as well. Minimum payments only but paid on time.
Knowing this was going to be a problem sooner or later I called and wanted to work out arrangements. Their credit department told me there was nothing they could do until I was delinquent.
Been to the grocery store lately?
I've been doing the grocery shopping for a bit over two years now. And like everyone else have watched the prices on food go up and up. The 5 for $5 or buy one get one are not much of a bargain anymore, when the one costs nearly as much as two did two years ago. For a coffee addict it has been particularly catastrophic. Terrifying, even.
But something else I've noticed in recent weeks.
Shelves that used to be full no longer are.
I thought it was because people were making a run when they had specials. and in part this is true.
But what I also noticed is during the day, more employees than usual going up and down the aisles with carts pulling the expired products from the shelves.
It has become so bad, at least around here, that people can no longer buy like they used to and the food is expiring before it can be sold.
I haven't yet had the nerve to ask if I could have it if they were just going to throw it away.
I heard a radio broadcast the other day talking about how there is a million home foreclosure backlog on the northeast.
The host went on to say that there are half a million homes in Florida alone like this so he suspects the number is far higher. Closer to four or five million backlog.
Keep all this in mind when you read the Sultan Knish post below. And you should read it all.
What do these young punks on Wall Street have to rage about? What do they know about having to fight with a mortgage company or credit card? What do they know about watching that $10.95 lb can of coffee dwindle to $10.85 for 12oz, then $10.95 for 11oz then $13.95 (!) for 10oz.
What do they know about working 20 years in the same place and suddenly finding yourself without a place at the table? About getting by on 1/3 what you used to make 3 years ago?
When this odyssey started for me three years ago most of these twits were still in their early college years.
A 22 year old raging about the bank bailouts and TARP? She was what, 18, 19, 20, when TARP first went into effect? And it affected her how?
Knish is right. These people are protesting at the wrong place. But more importantly, it is the wrong people protesting.
The right people to be protesting, however, can't. They can't afford the time off of work (if they have a job) or from trying to merely survive and find a job to sit on their asses taking orders from their Ipads and Iphones about where to march when and which cardboard sign to be holding today.
But when the shelves are finally empty because food has expired and been thrown away without being replenished because the groceries can no longer keep up with the losses. . .
Or they can no longer afford a can of beans. . .
Or are a week away from being tossed out in the street. . .
Or can only heat their homes for a few hours a day, and keep the thermostat on 60 at best. . .
Or can no longer keep their job because they can't afford the gas for the daily 2 hour commute. . .
Or can't get help at the food bank because they have run out of food because no one can afford to donate anymore. . .
THEN Barack Obama will see the real days of rage.
Then he'll see who's gone soft and who hasn't.
Then he'll see riot and revolt.
And nothing his teleprompter or Dick Trumka tell him to say will keep it from his door.
And he's going to look at the Wall Street Protests as the Good Old Days.