Saturday, June 30, 2012

In today's mail ...

It's always interesting to see what might pop up in the mail after a death of a loved one. We don't get many peaks at this particular business, fortunately, but when it happens it is instructive.

When my father died many years ago, I didn't receive that many business letters. I do remember one from a Western New York cemetery, even though Dad had died in Florida, that came months after his passing. The sales pitch for a grave included a crude drawing with a diagram of a stone. On that drawing read the words, "Lincoln Bailey - beloved mother." If they aren't going to get that right, what else could go wrong?

Since my mother died, she was sent a survey from the hospital where she spent some of her last few days.  The note explained that the hospital wanted to check on the quality of care. The survey started, "How would you describe your state of health at the present time: excellent, good, fair or poor?" Since there was nothing below poor, I sort of chuckled and threw it out.

Today I received a couple of letters to Mom's "estate." The first started out, "First and most importantly, may I offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one." Then the author says that he is interested in buying the house.

"I will purchase the property in it's [sic] 'As-Is" condition and pay all cash with no contingencies for financing," the letter reads. ".. I'm sure I can give you a fair offer and get cash in your hands right away."

OK, I've received one other such letter in the past few months. So I opened the next piece of mail addressed to Mom's estate. "First and foremost," I offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one," it reads. "... I will purchase the house in it's [sic] as-is condition ... and pay all CASH with no contingencies." At the end the letter states, "I'm SURE that I can give you a fair offer and get cash in your hands quickly." Jimmy Culler might have been more sure than Joe Creasy to use all caps.

There are other similarities in the language of the letter ["Losing a loved one can be a very difficult and stressful time"]. At least the names and phone numbers are different.

Who knew that there was a form letter for people trying to swoop in on grieving families members and scoop up property at below-market prices? And who knew those people don't know how to use it's and its?

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