Common sense is not so common

A few weeks back I dropped into a grocery store to buy gelato for a friend who had a stroke. Irish Stout was the flavor of the day.

I asked for a sample, but the clerk insisted that I be carded at the front desk. I was flabbergasted! I am over 70, and while some tell me I could pass for 50, there is no way to confuse me with a 21 year old.

The front desk dutifully stamped my hand, and I was able to sample the Irish Stout gelato! I told the clerk that other places don’t require ID when buying custard, but this fell on deaf ears.

When I told the story to my friend, her nurse informed me that they were refused a beer at Summerfest because my friend’s ID was at home. The nurse convinced the manager that my lovely friend was of legal age; she has lovely white hair and celebrates her 91st birthday this month.

Is this overkill? If not, it certainly shows the lack of common sense.

Want to get a mortgage? Let me tell you a few tales:

A friend bought a home that the bank valued at $1.3 million for $1.2 million. The bank refused him a loan. He put down $900,000, or 75 percent of the price. The bank did not let him count an established retail business he had just bought because he had not owned it for three years. They did not count his new wife’s assets, nor would they use his $3 million portfolio, since he could move these assets. They would let him use his IRA if he annuitized it. He could not use income from the boards he sat on, many for 9 to 10 years. He gave up with the bank and went to a mortgage banker. The mortgage banker later sold the loan to the large bank. You just can’t make up these things up.

Another friend had a similar experience. The bank required three years of financials for the boards he sat on. His and his wife’s income could have paid off the entire loan in a year. He was so frustrated he and his wife paid for the home in cash.

Another friend was required to give three years of financials on a 25-year-old oil partnership currently valued at $3,200. This was part of the client’s $3 million in liquid assets.

This overkill isn’t a liberal or conservative issue, or what Democrats and Republicans argue about. No, it is a bunch of people and corporations so frightened of lawyers that they’d wrap their heads with aluminum foil to chase away the demons.

Bob Chernow is a Milwaukee businessman.

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