Free money

Dorothea Salo’s husband apparently abandoned a bank account some time ago, and the nice IRS helped the bank get back in touch with him to give him the money. Now, this shows me a human face to the big American governmental institutions that I wasn’t aware existed — Bill Bryson notes in Notes From A Big Country that the British public services can appear to at least have a human face, unlike American ones — but we’ll leave that aside for the moment. We will also leave aside the notion that a bank would ever be helpful and try and give money back to you, an area in which the Americans obviously have it better than us, because British banks define the word “heartless”, as well as the words “complicated”, “mercenary”, and “uncaring”. We will also not dwell on whether forgetting about a bank account is easy or hard, and whether it should happen or not. I know for a fact that I’ve got an account somewhere I haven’t touched in a while — it’s in the Woolwich, I think. No, what we’ll pick up on here is Dorothea noting that “the final upshot of the encounter [is] a nice little windfall that whacks another five months off our mortgage.” Five months? Are American houses loads cheaper than ours or what? That Woolwich account I mentioned earlier has about four pounds in it. If we assume that they have a mortgage like mine then David Salo is either unbelieveably, unnaturally careless with money, or they’re very rich, because five months of my mortgage is about three thousand pounds. There is no chance, none, not one little bit of a chance, that I’d forget about three grand, or walk off and leave it. What am I missing here? ——-

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