Government Nonsense

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Today I tried buying Series I Savings Bonds online and I’m beginning to think the government is populated by 5th graders.  Here’s what you must do to make an online purchase:

1.  sign up for an account by providing the usual, name, address, etc., plus your date of birth, driver’s license number, bank account number and more.  You are then emailed an account number but you still can’t purchase anything until your super-duper decoder card arrives by mail.
2.  two weeks or so later, after you’ve forgotten the minimum 8-digit password that must include at least one number, one letter, and one symbol, your super-duper decoder card (above) arrives in the mail.
3.  since you’ve forgotten your password, you must now try to remember not one, not two, but three answers to security questions, such as what was your first pet’s name, who was your favorite teacher, who is your favorite author, what is your favorite movie (hey, I’m not kidding).
4.  once you get that all figured out, then you have to find that email you were sent two weeks ago, because it contains your account number.
5.  you now enter your account number and then enter your password on a virtual keyboard with the numbers and letters scrambled so absolutely no one can watch to see what your password is.
6.  wait!  you’re not done yet – you haven’t used your super-duper decoder card yet.  at this point you must select your serial number (from your super-duper decoder card) from a drop-down box and then 3 additional boxes appear.  here’s where you get to use the super-duper decoder card.  you must use the intersection of the codes within the boxes to find the answers, which are entered using the virtual keyboard.
7.  if you are lucky and everything went well, you can now purchase savings bonds.  at least I think you can.  I tried buying $5,000 worth in $500 increments but the history only shows $2,500 (5 transactions).  since the bonds aren’t actually purchased until Monday, I won’t know whether I need to enter a 2nd transaction for another $2,500.
8.  and since you are limited to $5,000 per SSN per year, I was forced to do this twice – once for me and once for mr. gyma.  and you should know that the super-duper decoder cards don’t have your account number or name on them so if they get separated from the paper with your name on it, you won’t know which one to use.

Egads.  My tendency is to blame Bush.

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