I Work with Steve Martin

Partly as an antidote to the previous, depressing post, and partly because it is so deserving of exposure, I now present—verbatim except for names and other ‘identifiers’—a recent email exchange between one of my colleagues and a correspondent. It has nothing to do with SBM. My colleague, known to his friends as T-Bone, is the reluctant owner of a vacation house in Florida. He must rent it as much as possible, since no one is willing to buy it. He gets frequent queries from potential renters, but usually not of the sort illustrated below. T-Bone is a very funny person. This exchange reminds me of the pieces that Steve Martin did for the back page of the New Yorker a few years ago.


From: Carlos Buffett <>

To: T-Bone Seidler

Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:12 AM

Subject: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff 

Dear T-Bone Seidler,

Carlos Buff has sent the following inquiry about property number 2468 in LandSilence. To reply to this inquiry, simply call the phone number contained in the inquiry or reply to this e-mail.

Inquiry Summary 

Name: Carlos Buff 


Phone #: + 1 2345678912 

Arrival date: Feb 14 2009 

Departure date: Feb 21 2009 

Total # in party: 2 (including children) No of children: 0 

Further info: Hi, Want to know if the apartment would be available for the schdule date choosen? and also the cost for staying over for exactly on week? 


From: T-Bone Seidler

Subject: Re: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff

To: “Carlos Buffett” <>

Date: Friday, January 23, 2009, 4:48 PM 


Thanks for your inquiry regarding our lakefront house in LandSilence with a view of the Gulf of Mexico from almost every room. You mentioned “apartment” in your inquiry and I just wanted to make sure you understood that this is a house, not an apartment.  To answer your question, our Winter special rate for the week of February 14th departing February 21st is $1120. We charge a $250 cleaning fee, but I see you only have 2 people in your party. If you only plan on using 1 bedroom, we can reduce the cleaning fee to $150. If that was the case, the total would be $1120 + $150 cleaning fee + 11% tax = $1509.70. We do accept credit cards.  

There are additional photos plus virtual tours of our house at:  

Let me know if you have any questions.


T-Bone Seidler

From: Carlos Buffett <>

To: T-Bone Seidler

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 2:29:02 AM

Subject: Re: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff

Many thanks for your cordial response, and I am glad to hear you about availability covering the period of our stay in your apartment. I would be making the full payment of our stay ahead to you through a Credit card Authorization. This is a secured & fast for me to make Payment. I would need the following details from you for the transfer to be done soonest..

1. Credit card Account Number that is (16 digits)

2. Bank zip-code

3. Your credit Limit

4. Your Daily Re drawer Limit

5. Phone number

6. Bank Name 

Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,

Carlos Buffett.  


From: T-Bone Seidler

Subject: Re: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff

To: “Carlos Buffett” <>

Date: Saturday, January 24, 2009, 11:06 AM   


That’s great! I’m sure you’ll have a lovely stay in our home. Before you commit, there are a couple of new developments with the house that I thought you should be aware of.

During the recent cold snap (I’m sure you heard of it) the water pipes that were routed on top of the roof (a bad design choice, in retrospect) burst, flooding both the upper and lower floors of the house. All the furniture, floors, carpets, and electronics in the house were destroyed. In addition, the contractor working on repairs was forced to take off almost the entirety of the roof, leaving the house basically an open shell.

But the good news! All the community amenities are still available to you (pool, bikes, putting course) and the beautiful white sand beach (actually some peat is showing but that’s another story) is still just a short walk away. And the lack of a roof will allow you to enjoy the warm(ish) Florida sun through the entirety of your stay!

If this is still agreeable to you let me know. In terms of the bank account information you requested, we actually have accounts with more than one bank. Would you need all of the account numbers, or just one? We also have a retirement account, but you probably don’t need that info.

Warm Personal Regards,


From: Carlos Buffett

To: T-Bone Seidler

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 11:07:55 PM

Subject: Re: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff

Thanks for the update, I would prefer a Wellsfargo Bank account, BOA or Citibank. Those are the 3 bank i work with and i can arrange the transfer to you soonest. I am making the full payment once. So email me the requested details needed by my Bank to make the Transfer. I would gladly be waiting for your response.


Carlos Buffett. 


From: T-Bone Seidler

Subject: Re: HouseHere inquiry about LandSilence 2468 from Carlos Buff

To: “Carlos Buffett” <>

Date: Sunday, January 25, 2009, 12:28 PM 


I’m glad it’s no problem! I was concerned that the damage to the house might deter renters, but I can see now I was worried for no reason.

In terms of the bank account number, well, it’s rather confusing. There are many numbers on the checks, but the account number appears to be 832. The funny thing is, the account number is different on every check! For example, the account number on the next check is 833. Crazy! It’s these kinds of things that are making the banks have so much trouble right now.

You asked about a “routing number”. I don’t think this bank has one, it’s a local bank and everyone knows where it is.

My credit card number is 04/2009. You asked about an expiration date, and I know exactly what you mean by that. When I’m buying milk, I always make sure to buy the freshest I can. A small hint, Carlos: Sometimes you have to reach behind and get the milk in the back. But in terms of the credit card, I don’t think it has an expiration date—it’s made of plastic.

Carlos, I just noticed your arrival date is February 14th-Valentine’s Day! I’ve taken the liberty of arranging for a bottle of Champagne and a dozen roses to be waiting for you and (may I presume) your lady friend when you arrive, to compensate you for the inconvenience.

Speaking of inconvenience, I’ve got some great news. The contractor says he’ll be able to put a blue plastic tarp over the former bedroom area, in case it rains.

Let me know what I should do next.

Your Friend,



The exchange kinda petered out there.

Posted in: Humor

Leave a Comment (10) ↓

10 thoughts on “I Work with Steve Martin

  1. skepdude says:

    This is priceless, the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kimbo Jones says:

    Wow, I’m glad he wasted this person’s time long enough to distract him from conning some other people for a little while at least. Why would anyone need to provide that information for someone to pay THEM? Man alive. And he didn’t even try with the phone number.

  3. Harriet Hall says:

    This is reminiscent of Dean Cameron’s classic Nigerian Scam Scam.

    The scam e-mails I love are the ones that begin “You’ve won a million dollars! Who are you? – please provide name, etc. etc.”

  4. Kimbo Jones says:

    Yeah, there seem to be an awful lot of very generous people, hard on their luck, who are willing to give away millions if only we’ll just get over ourselves and provide them with some simple, innocent, potentially crippling personal information. Gah, we’re so non-trusting for some reason, us Westerners…

  5. Kimbo Jones says:

    Also, if anyone is interested here is a site on scam baiting.

  6. Joe says:

    A couple years ago, Dave Barry published a book on finance. One bit of advice was to ignore advice. He said he got an e-mail from Nigeria asking for money and everyone told him not to send any. Well, he sent $50,000 and a week later a truck arrived with $1,000,000 in cash for him. He wouldn’t make that up.

  7. DLC says:

    “Hello, I am Ministor Departe Loose Cashe, writing on behalf of our Bank National of Nigeria. We here at our bank had decised to need to transferring large sums of currentsee to the United States, but due to restrictive banking police we must do so by a rather round and about miens. So, to defray any expenditures, we offer to transfer 10 millions of dolars to your account, and will allow you to retrain 10% of this funds. Please reply with your account details at your soonest inconvenience.”

    Odd how some people will fall for that stupidly written, poorly phrased ploy. But then, some people will buy homeopathic water to wash down their homeopathic sugar pills with.

  8. Rogue Medic says:

    Should i forward all of my spam to your friend T-Bone? He seems to have a lot of fun with this sort of nuisance.

Comments are closed.