Thursday, October 30, 2003

So there I was at work, inputting an insurance application into the system.

As it happens, I had been instructed by the underwriter that we were declining the application, because this company does not insure the particular class of business that the applicant belongs to. They make balloon bouquets and, as my instructions said, "We are not a market for entertainment risks". So my task was to input the relevant information about this application, decline it, and then create and send out the declination letter explaining why the submission was turned down.

The copy of the app that I received was filled out by hand and faxed here. As it came through a bit garbled, I wasn't sure at first what the company's name was. Actually, the first part of the name was clear, but the final word in the name was not. I kept looking at it, trying to make sense of it, when it dawned on me to try an internet search.

I put the part of the company name that was legible into a Yahoo search window, plus the city and state of the applicant's address. In a moment, I had an answer. Several links came up that contained the applicant company's full name and address. Since they make balloon bouquets, it should surprise no one that their company name contains the word BALLOONS.

What IS surprising, however, is that the applicant spelled the word "balloons" WRONG on their insurance application...!

Never mind not being a market for entertainment risks... personally, I think that my employer should not be a market for anyone who lacks the wits to spell their own business's name properly! I think it's just as well that this submission was declined, don't you? ;o)

In other news, apparently there is a celebrity living on the perimeter of my employer's parking lot. It was just blending in with the scenery for a while, but it gave its presence away a day or two ago.

See, as I was leaving work on Friday evening, I noticed a guy in the park across the street from this building flying a kite. It was pretty tough to miss his activity, as the kite was a collection of bright rainbow colors. I got a smile out of watching this for a while, then I went on my way home.

Well, on Monday morning, I happened to park facing the park (no pun intended), and I realized that the kite was still around. Its owner, however, was not... that's because the kite is now entangled in the upper branches of a nearby tree. That's when I realized: Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree lives here! Right here in NJ, imagine that. So THAT'S what became of the tree after the Peanuts comic strip went into reruns. But SSSSH. Mum's the word, you know -- it's obvious that the tree was just trying to live a normal life, out of the spotlight, so don't spread the word too much. We wouldn't want a bunch of celebrity-hounds flocking to this site demanding an autumn leaf or a twig (which they'll claim is for themselves, then turn around and sell on eBay). That would never do. This is a quiet neighborhood and I'm sure its residents would prefer it remain that way.

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