I read a recent article from CKNX radio’s website that stated the Provincial Agricultural Minister has asked the Auditor General to examine Agricorp’s services and procedures. I laughed when I read this because I recently had an interesting experience with Agricorp. I received three separate $100 invoices from Agricorp for each of our farm’s three partner’s membership fees for Agricorp’s CAIS (now changed to AgriInvest and AgriStability) program. The invoices were accurate and valid and I was ready to pay them. In order to keep as much of my money in my bank account as possible, I decided to pay the total of the fees in one cheque, using one envelope and one stamp. Sounds like common sense to me. I thought maybe I should write a letter explaining that the cheque covered three invoices and to include the three partners participant numbers in the letter as well. I prepared the letter, wrote the single cheque and stuffed the stamped envelope. I had to call Agricorp regarding another matter and during that conversation, I explained to Dorothy, one of Agricorp’s helpful staff about the payment that I had just prepared for Agricorp. She checked my file and said that three separate cheques were required. I asked her to tell me why three cheques were required. She explained that in order to get the payments credited to the appropriate account, it would be necessary to send three separate cheques, in three separate envelopes. I explained that I wanted to save as much money on the transaction as possible so sending one cheque in one envelope would save bank fees on three separate cheques, the cost of two additional envelopes and two additional stamps. I didn’t think that it was rocket-scientist-level thinking to understand the cost savings in my approach to the situation but maybe my expectations of Agricorp were too high. After all shouldn’t Agricorp want me to incorporate cost savings into my farm and business practices since CAIS is really a savings account for farmers during years of less than average financial returns? Dorothy again replied that if I wanted to ensure that my payment was credited properly, it would be necessary for me to send three separate cheques, in three separate envelopes. Naturally, I could feel my blood pressure beginning to rise because this is a perfect example of how common sense in government transactions is becoming less evident. But thanks to my recent study of Oprah’s book, The New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, I am trying to evolve and find my inner purpose. I decided that my inner purpose in this situation was to point out to Agricorp that their employees should look for new jobs if they couldn’t read an explanatory letter and credit the proper accounts accordingly. But Oprah’s and Eckhart’s voices kept whispering in my ear that I needed to explain that calmly and tactfully and without being egotistical. So I took a deep breath to find my inner peace (okay, so maybe it took more than one breath!) and calmly stated to Dorothy that mankind had really progressed intellectually and we had come a long way. Dorothy said that she didn’t understand what I meant. I said that maybe I should rephrase my statement and ask a question instead. Dorothy said that she would be happy to answer any question that I asked. I expressed my gratitude for Dorothy’s willingness to help me, but somehow knew that her willing nature would soon come to an end. So I then asked Dorothy if the employees at Agricorp had an intelligence level high enough to receive an explanatory letter, complete with names, participants numbers, etc. and a cheque for payment and understand what accounts the payment should be credited to? There was a long pause at the end of my question – probably long enough for Dorothy to take a deep breath and find her inner peace – or maybe just something to throw! I could sense that Dorothy’s willingness to help me was fading fast. Eventually Dorothy said that she knew there was enough intelligence at Agricorp to handle my letter and payment. I think maybe Dorothy was gritting her teeth at this point because her replies were becoming more and more difficult to understand. Happily I replied that I was thankful for Agricorp’s intelligence level and stated that I would include in my explanatory letter that Dorothy had assured me that the payment would be credited appropriately. After my call, I think Dorothy was considering a job change. Maybe Agricorp should get Oprah to provide training for their staff to find their inner peace too? I wonder if the Auditor General could suggest that.