Two Cents

Filed under: — lana @ 5:22 pm

Want my two cents? Can’t have it. Sorry. Army already has it.

No, seriously, and quite literally. Nothing has changed in the regulations: Mother Army still really doesn’t care what her little peons like me have to say. I can give my two cents all day long, were it mine to give.

But it isn’t, because see, Mother Army didn’t give it to me.

Story goes like this. I shall do it in steps so those that might have trouble following a long story (as in, other Army folks) can follow along:

1) Soldier goes on five week temporary duty assignment halfway around the world.
2) Roughly two weeks into assignment, Soldier gets cryptic message saying that the approval for the assignment that Soldier is already on was retracted because someone accidentally hit the wrong button when trying to remind the Soldier to send a payment request voucher. How that happened is still something of a mystery expounded upon during previous sleepless nights.
3) Soldier completes assignment and returns to station.
4) Soldier finds a voucher cannot be submitted because the approval was returned.
5) Everyone gets perplexed.
6) Everyone remains perplexed for about a week and then tells Soldier to just start over with the paperwork because it is easier than figuring out the whole thing again.
7) Soldier is reminded of a conversation with one of her junior Soldiers about how he said something similar when his stripper fiancee cheated on him but he decided to go through the wedding because it was “just easier that way.”
8) Soldier remembers telling him he was an idiot and bites tongue and resubmits.
9) Soldier resubmits a few times to help some random person up the chain try and “streamline” the process, which eventually extends the process by a week or two.
10) Nothing happens for a few months except occasional calls to the company from the Sergeant Major wondering why nothing is happening and Soldier’s bills were not paid. Soldier wonders why the Sergeant Major doesn’t ask the people who sit at the desks upon which her paperwork has sat for two weeks, then returned, then sits again, then gets returned, and so on.
11) Soldier finally gets paid nearly three months after returning from a five week temporary duty assignment.

Here comes the kicker, folks:

12) The bill paid to the now-suspended government travel card, which was for several thousand dollars, was two cents short of the bill. Probably a conversion error somewhere, but two cents short nonetheless.
13) Soldier and supervisor both agree that at this point it is probably just spite instead of a conversion error.
14) Soldier beats head on desk repeatedly. Supervisor puts Soldier’s mittens on the desk to absorb some of the shock, since they just got some new computers over the summer and he is signed for them and would hate to see the Soldier damage them with the daily beating of Soldier’s head on the desk.

Two cents. No big deal, right?

One would think so. Trouble is, the card is suspended. That means the entire bill needs to be paid before the card can be unfrozen. To include those last two cents. The two cents I would love to give the Army, only the Army already has them and won’t give them to the government card.

So as I wait for the new bill showing the paltry sum so I can figure out what to do, I realize that I have a few options right now:

1) Wait a few weeks for my name to come on the delinquent roster again for bills owed. This might be entertaining only because it would mean that the Sergeant Major would have to find a way to complain with a straight face that I am delinquent on debt for two cents. That alone might be worth the utterly annoyed and exasperated telephone call from my Commander that would result. I would hope he would counsel me in writing for it. That would be a keeper along with the electric tape extravaganza from my time at Bragg. I really like silly counselings. I keep them to remind myself to never get like that. Ever.
2) Suck up my pride and do an electronic check through my bank to the government card for the bill. I like my bank, though, and don’t want them to laugh at me, hiding their electronic smirks behind their electronic hands.
3) Tape two pennies to a notecard and mail it to the government card. I don’t think they take cash, though.
4) Write a check for two cents and send it in. Both 3 and 4 have the additional problem that stamps cost 44 cents now. I would be spending 2200 times my bill to send in payment. I feel like that violates some of these new laws about absurd rates and such. I would then feel the need to write my Congressman, which would need another 44 cents. Now I am 4400 times my bill for this little problem. That is just out of control and a travesty. I can’t be so wasteful.
5) Have the bill in hand, call the company, and offer to give them my two cents. I have a nice rant on the political climate in eastern Africa that I have been saving up for such an occasion. See how long it takes them to hang up.

Quite frankly, I am wondering if the government card company is actually ballsy enough to send a bill for two cents. If they are, well, kudos to them and I shall pay after copying it to frame for my Commander’s wall. I strongly suspect that they will, seeing as they are on a government contract anyway. I’ll get the frame ready.

At least this finally gives me an excuse to give some of these people my two cents. All I need is for the first person to ask for it…


  1. I’m not sure it’s quite “2200 times” (perhaps 2200%) but this is, if it weren’t so frustratingly annoying as it would be for me, quite funny. We had a problem with some software (that we wrote…sigh) that would leave a penny in someone’s account, positive or negative (it’s a fun game to find out which!) on one of their many medical bills.

    Comment by Ryan — 12/10/2009 @ 5:09 pm

  2. One more option. Have them deduct it from your pay. It will cost them a significantly larger amount than two cents. Of course there is the risk of them screwing up your pay…..

    Comment by Bruno — 12/11/2009 @ 7:11 pm

  3. Yeah… I’d make them choke on those 2 cents. Just don’t take it to the next level if you have change to spare.

    A sock full of quarters!

    Funny how they go ape over 2 cents, but takes an act of Congress for them to reimburse returning employees their TDY expenses which was guaranteed beforehand. I’ve been through that shit.

    Comment by AL — 12/15/2009 @ 3:40 pm

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