October 27th, 2007

First post Halifax Building Society

We (hubby and I) took out a loan last December and were persuaded to take out the payment protection insurance(PPI) with it. It was implied by the woman that sold us the insurance that we would both be covered in the event of illness, death etc etc.

At the beginning of September I suffered an injury to my arm which meant that I was out of work for six weeks, I'm still not fully recovered but am ok for light duties. As my company pays for 4 weeks at normal pay under a sick note, I was on statury (sp?)sick pay for 2 weeks with a complete loss of the three days I missed before the sick note came into effect (British people should know what I mean, I have no idea how this works in America). Due to this we are left a little short of money so we decide to activate the PPI on the loan for this month so we can get ourselves sorted, only to be told that the PPI only covers the first name on the agreement. I'll admit that we probably should have paid more attention to the paperwork but we were naive and took the word of the woman who sold us the PPI.

The next move for us was to cancel the PPI as it is useless to us if it does not cover me (hubbys job is salaried and if he looses it he intends on becoming self employed, my wage is hourly and we need every hour I can get). We apply to Halifax to have the PPI cancelled and are told that we would have to take out a new loan, pay off the existing loan and cancel the PPI. Fair enough, that's allowed by the FSA so we go into the branch this morning, only to be told that the interest rate on the loan this time round (without the PPI) would be nearly double the rate we are paying now (16.9% compared to 8.9%) and the repayments would work out to be £3 a month more than we are paying now with the PPI. (Hubby and I are of the opinion that this is set up so that most people will think that they are better off remaining as they are). To add insult to injury I looked up Halifaxs online loan rates and found them to be 6.9%, I understand that there can be differences between the online rates and the branch rates but that much?

At this point we are considering legal advice and have pretty much decided to take out a loan with another company to pay off the Halifax loan, we have also decided that if his can be done to switch out accounts to a different company entirely as we have had enough of the bullshit that Halifax is feeding us. I was wondering if anyone else has had issues with this type of problem and what steps were taken to solve it. I have been reading a lot on the Martin Lewis website http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ and I am getting more and more annoyed with the whole situation. (As a side note the Martin Lewis website advises that we were sold a Single Premium Policy which I understand from the site to be a no no anyway)
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grocery draaaama

I worked at a grocery store for three years. I'm pretty well versed in the WIC protocols. Yay. I have also been on WIC for six months now and I have every single WIC-approved-everything memorized. For the record, I'm also college-educated and literate! Hurray.

So, yesterday I went to get food.

My check was for:
1 gallon low-fat milk
2 WIC juice
1 lb WIC cheese

I went to the deli counter and asked for 1lb of LOL American cheese. I mentioned to them that it was for WIC, so it had to be exactly one pound of cheese. They said OK. When I was given the package, it was for 1.01 lbs of cheese. I told the guy that even though it was for 1/100th of a pound that technically it was over and asked if he could remove a corner or something so I wouldn't get questioned at check-out. He said that he was the deli manager and that no one would give me a hard time over an amount that minute. I said okay and finished shopping

I approached the register with my groceries pre-sorted. WICs check must be tendered in a separate transaction. Therefore, I required two transactions (WIC and Other) I placed WIC stuff first on the belt with the check and my WIC ID (which I'm required to show) on top of the juice.

I was buying:

1 gallon of fat-free Garelick Farms milk
2 cans of V8
1.01 lbs of LOL American cheese

(all of these are WIC approved, even though they're brand-name)

Cashier was a cocky young-ish guy. I greeted him and he didn't respond. Then he took a look at the WIC check and sighed like I was inconveniencing him by being in his presence. Whoops, I'm sorry my poverty offends. *rolls eyes*

So, I figure this is a cut and dry thing. He takes one look at the milk and says, "this isn't approved milk on WIC" Um...yeah, it is. I break out my brochure and show him that I can buy any brand of milk as long as it's not organic, sweetened, canned, chocolate, soy, condensed, flavored or whatever. He grabs the thing out of my hand and looks it over like I'm trying to pull shit on him. Hi. Sure, I'm broke- but I can fucking read, thanks.

Rings up my milk while scoffing.

Then he looks at the V8 and sighs again, "you can't get this" Um....yeah, I can. He tells me that I can only get Juicy Juice (which is total bullshit) Again, I break out the brochure and show him that though many people get Juicy-Juice, V8 is also approved. He then goes over to another register and pulls out the same brochure that I had just given him and compares them. They were the same edition, I guess he wanted to prove that I didn't forge it or something. Whatever. He rings up my damn juice.

Then he gets to the cheese and announces over the PA system that he needed a manager for a WIC transaction. Now, I'm standing there with my baby in a sling. He's been fussing because this is taking FOREVER. There's a line, I've been embarrassed enough with his tone and accusations and general ignorance of how WIC works. We wait, and wait. Meanwhile, he's apologizing to the other customers in the line for it taking so long (but not me- even though I've been nothing but informative and nice) but WIC is difficult to deal with. My baby screams. I nurse him in the sling while standing up. Cashier looks terrified. Sorry, eating baby is less grating on other customers than screaming baby. Ten minutes go by and finally manager shows up.

Cashier moves away from register and shows manager my cheese. Gestures to my milk and my juice. Manager and cashier break out the brochure and whisper back and forth. Manager comes over and says that the cheese is over by a tenth and I'm only allowed a pound. I explain to manager that .01 means 1/100th, not 1/10th and that [deli guy] told me that it wasn't going to be a problem because I asked him to take a corner off to make it even. Manager acts like it's my personal mission to rip the State of New York off by 1/100th of a pound of fucking American cheese. Then he asks if I'm even allowed LOL brand.

*sigh*

I break out my trusty brochure again. Ta-da. They call [deli guy] who admits that he said I would be fine. They reprimand him in front of me and in front of everyone else by saying, "They can only get ONE POUND. Everything else is over. I don't care how nice they are, ONE POUND- anything over they can buy themselves!"

Rings up my cheese.

Gives me check to sign. I sign. I ask for my WIC ID back. Cashier says I never gave it to him. I point to it sitting on his counter. He basically throws it back at me. Tosses me my bag. I'm done nursing the baby (PS- no part of my body was showing at any time, hence the sling) he basically scoffs again. Now, I don't give a damn what his personal opinion of broke people being babies is- I hope his eyes get fucking stuck in his skull for treating me like that in public.

I stand there. He says, "WHAT?!"

I'm say that I'm waiting for the rest of my groceries. Without a word he rings it up. Throws everything into the bag. I ring through my card. Yay. Reciept? He was ringing up the next person in line. I wish him a good day.

He rolls his eyes again.

The end. :[


ETA: post is now unlocked so everyone can jump in and defend those of us who are on programs such as WIC. For the record, though (as most of you know) I'm a hardcore socialist, since this actually involves something that happened to me and my family, I'm not going to jump into the frenzy. Just, read some of the other threads that I've posted in about this stuff and make me proud, mmmkay?
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