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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.

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From: Carlos Buffett <[email protected]>

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 

Email: [email protected] 

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? 

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From: T-Bone Seidler

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

To: “Carlos Buffett” <[email protected]>

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

Carlos, 

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:  www.househere.fla.com/virtualtours/landsilence/2468  

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,  

T-Bone Seidler


From: Carlos Buffett <[email protected]>

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.  

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From: T-Bone Seidler

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

To: “Carlos Buffett” <[email protected]>

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

Carlos,

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,

T-Bone  


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.

Thanks

Carlos Buffett. 

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From: T-Bone Seidler

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

To: “Carlos Buffett” <[email protected]>

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

Carlos,

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,

T-Bone

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The exchange kinda petered out there.

Posted in: Humor

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