What damn good is a security question if the danged question is so freakin’ difficult that you get it wrong? I understand the need for security questions for certain types of accounts because, after all, a password, coupled with an image, is not enough precaution in our cyber-hacking world. Although I’m not so certain anything is hack proof for North Korea or China. Short of an eyeball imprint. But then I watched an inflight movie on my way home from Vanuatu one winter, I Origins, which suggests that eyeballs are reincarnated, so I don’t know what to believe.
I just transferred all of my investment accounts to another brokerage, which means I needed to set up new accounts with new passwords and new security questions. Of course, I managed to lock myself out of my account because I could not remember the answers to my security questions. I could have recalled the answers if the answers were not so ambiguous. If you answer one question wrong, they go to the next question, so it’s not like you get three tries to answer a question. If you answer more than 2 questions wrong, bingo, you’re locked out. I hate it. It made me want to go back to my old life with my old securities company.
For example, in what city were you born might sound like an innocent security question until you figure out that if you were born, say, in Fort Lauderdale, would you type Ft. Lauderdale, Ft Lauderdale without the period after abbreviating Fort, Fort Lauderdale, or maybe just Lauderdale or FT? It’s also an easy word to misspell. There are options called ways to screw it up. If you complain, a person will defend it by saying just answer the way you would usually answer, but the deal is maybe you write it differently depending on the circumstances, so it could be different each time. Oy.
Then, where did you get married is a seriously impossible thing to answer. Let’s say it was like my situation, when we married over dim sum. Do I name the Chinese Restaurant? Or what about the state? Should it be specific to the city, or the major city that most people refer to? Too many variables. They could ask me the date I got married, and I could get that answer right, although there could be 16,425 choices. I’d nail that answer.
Or, where did your meet your husband? I met my husband at the airport. However, that’s not where we were introduced. But it was the first time I saw him. What do I choose?
And it goes on down the list. It asks for Best or your Favorite. I don’t have Bests or Favorites. For example, I do not have a favorite color. Some days I like purple. Other days, it could be pink or maybe red or even royal blue. I have my orange moments like any decent girl seeking a bit of excitement. Orange is pretty thrilling. And I simply adore wearing an emerald green dress. When it comes to my favorite color for cars, my tastes are more simple such as white or silver. If I’m talking about selling a home in Sacramento, then yellow is the preferred color for flowers. See how difficult this is?
The problem is the older you get, the more variety and flexibility you seem to develop in your life. Nothing is cast in black and white, and everything comes in shades of gray. Not 50 of them, either. There are many variables depending on how you look at a situation. I don’t apply the same selling strategy to every client because every seller is unique. There are no off-the-shelf answers for anything, not even for security questions. The best I can hope for is not to be asked a security question.
Married real estate agents seem to be far more productive than single agents. It’s not like I have any statistics to throw at you; just my observations. I suspect it’s because we get to a point in our lives where we have fewer activities to keep in checks and balances. For me, it’s pretty much: job, husband, cats and Elizabeth Weintraub Team members. Not always in that order but not a lot of distractions. However, last week I seemed to have caused a big ol’ ruckus with one of my banks, and not sure how it happened.
It began when I could not download transactions. A few days earlier, the bank had called to say it had forgotten to make a large deposit for me. I don’t know how the bank forgot. The manager apologized. When I signed in online to check my account, the bank showed zero accounts. Nothing. The possibility I was hacked crossed my mind. I called tech support. Dude said I had not authorized my new debit card (although I had) so they removed all of my accounts from online access. Bit extreme, I thought.
Without going into boring details, although I woke the dead in the Land Park Cemetery yelling for a representative, the bank sent a new card but no PIN. After much screaming, I got the bank to set up a new PIN for me over the phone. But to get that PIN number, they asked a whole bunch of personal questions. Some of which the correct answer was none of the selections. One of the questions was do I know a, let’s say, Bernardo Telephone . I said no. The tech support sputtered under his breath. Seemed like a wrong answer.
OK, hmmm . . . I was married once to a man with the last name of Telephone, I offered. But Bernardo was not his name. Oh, wait, he went by a nickname. So I guess Bernardo could have been his first name. I revised my answer. Yes, he was probably an ex-husband. Hey, it’s not my fault, I’ve had 6 weddings. Can’t keep ’em all straight. Too long ago.
I guess I floored the tech guy on the phone. He didn’t want to ask. I could tell he didn’t want to ask. But he couldn’t help himself. You know, when you’re in your mid 60’s, you don’t remember with great clarity all of your ex-husbands from 30 or 40 years ago. I’m not just one of those married real estate agents, I’ve been married to my last husband — I hate to say final because what if he died — for almost several decades.
Tech guy then had another question. How old was Bernardo? I barely recall being married to him, do you think I know his age? Holy moly. But when he gave me the category of 80, I suddenly recalled he was a lot older than me. Gosh, I’m so glad I’m not married to him now. That’s pretty old, LOL. Fortunately, I picked the right answer, but it was a bit of a long shot.
When I shared that story with my husband, he could not believe it. But he is a different sort of character. I’ll give you an example. After he walked in the door last week carrying bags of take-out food for dinner, he called me into the kitchen.
I’ve got something to show you from this morning, he mentioned, there is a spot of cat puke on the floor over here. At least it looks like cat puke, not sure.
I bent over to see what he was pointing to.
That could be a spot over here, he continued, and pointed to another area. But this spot right here definitely looks like cat puke.
I could not believe what I was hearing. The tone of his voice sounded as though he thought I should clean it up.
Leaning even closer, I prodded him, “Are you sure?”
I was waiting for him to say he would clean it up, but those words never left his lips. Sometimes, ya gotta take the direct route.
Do you think I am the cat puke cleaner upper?
Well, he just got home from work, and he brought dinner, and who brought all of these cats into the house in the first place? He is a smart man. Not a person to dig himself a bigger hole. He loves those cats just as much as I do.
Finally he grabbed paper towels, the Resolve and cleaned up the cat puke.
And that’s why I am still a married real estate agent and not married to some doofus whose name I can’t even recall when asked a bunch of security questions.