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Etc...

These should hold you awhile

Michelle Gordine's husband works at the post office in Stotfold, England, and is thus able to tip her off when anything unusual arrives in the mail for her. She is a businesswoman – operating a school of dance and drama – so this can be helpful. "I was looking forward to him coming home" one day last week, she told reporters, because he'd said "he had a surprise for me, but I'd never believe what it was." Since her birthday and their daughter's were just around the corner, however, the possibilities were fun to think about: some cards at the least. Or perhaps gift certificates. Anyway, you can appreciate her heightened sense of anticipation when she saw four stuffed canvas sacks. And her disappointment as she opened them to find that each held 50 ... blank checkbooks. And finally her ire when she reported the matter to banking giant HSBC – from which she'd requested just one new book – and was asked if she'd mind returning the extras to the branch nearest her. Yes, I would, she huffed: This was your mistake; you send somebody over here to pick them up. HSBC blamed the situation on computer error, but has apologized. Said a spokesman brightly, "[We] like to ensure our customers never run out of checks."