Disclosure: OK, so I have all but abandoned my previously self-imposed limit of 199 words per post. Most of my posts will be shorter in the future, but I cannot avoid the occasional long post. Hopefully you will find the extra time worth it. Thanks for reading.
I interrupt my blogging hiatus for an incredible, yet true, tale of the Old West, in the spirit of the Wells Fargo stagecoach imagery that has been so carefully nurtured in order to make people think of them in a romantic, Louis L’Amour-like way, not like a corporate behemoth with over $1.2 trillion (with a “T”) in assets. Yes, my tale was like a lost episode of Gunsmoke that got shelved for fear it wouldn’t make people feel good about the weekly ritual of depositing their funds at the trusty bank.
Like most people, I avoid face-to-face encounters at the bank like the plague, as I have long preferred dealing with ATM’s. They just give me what I want, and fast. If I wanted to chit-chat with strangers, I would find a donut shop somewhere. Anyway, today’s unfortunate visit was required because my ATM card quit working (could have been that magnet I had in my pocket last week).
Before I arrived, I already had a bad attitude. I pay this joint 25 bucks a year for overdraft protection so that I don’t need to keep lots of cash sitting there to prevent an overdraft. Suddenly, in the rare event I use the protection, they started hitting me up for $10 PER DISBURSEMENT from the protection. Now, that fee has gone up to $12.50. WHAT do I get for the $25/year that I pay?!? But I digress.
And so, I hitched my horse, patted the dust off my chaps, and walked through the swinging saloon doors to encountered banker #1 wandering around with a clipboard like those survey takers at the mall. I wanted to avoid her, but I succumbed to the temptation that she might offer assistance. Nope. After standing in the line of patrons, I reached banker #2, who was some young kid who hadn’t been trained on my tricky request for a new ATM card. He said I would have to sit down with banker #3. But wait, banker #4 stepped in and said that banker #2 could do it from his terminal. Just then, banker #2 asked me if I had heard the news about my previously FREE CHECKING account. I knew this could not be good. When I replied, “NO”, he proceeded to tell me it is now $7/month, unless BLAH BLAH BLAH (or something like that). Banker #3 said she would be happy to sit down with me and discuss options that could keep my FREE CHECKING FREE. Great. Yes, I would prefer not to get bent over by Wells Fargo yet again. So, I agreed.
Ten minutes into the ordeal with Banker #3, I took the bait when she asked about my kids (she rightly presumed that I have them):
“Yes, 3 of them. A toddler boy and twin infant girls,” I said.
“Oh, TWINS!” she said. Shit, I thought. Why did I mention that?
“Are they identical?” she inquired.
“Yes, identical,” I replied, hoping that would be the end.
“Oh, how cute. If you know the secret to having identical twins, please tell me,” she said. WHAT?!? OK, ten minutes ago I didn’t know her. Now, she wants reproductive advice. I smiled on the outside as I recoiled inside.
Then, of course, as she was taught in the Bankster School of Banditry, she proceeded to give me the hard sell on some kind of accounts for my 3 kids. Honestly, it all sounded like BLAH BLAH BLAH, except the part that went something like, “…and this will help them to think about Wells Fargo as they grow up.” Wonderful, you need to start them young, I thought. How about giving them a pack of cigarettes and a shot of whiskey with each deposit, too? I could have cut her off, but we courteous Midwesterners are all too often proper when it comes to listening. Me especially.
After probably 15 minutes, she was done selling me and decided to punch the 3 keys required for me to get a new ATM card mailed to my home. Upon doing so, she told me that banker #5 might be calling me at home to ask how banker #3 did in servicing my needs. Good Lord! All I wanted was a new ATM card. Instead, I become the subject in a marketing experiment to see how much money can be wrung out of a non-revenue transaction. If there is any solace I take in the ordeal, it is knowing that bankers #1-4 wasted their time on me today. They only confirmed my previous thoughts of jumping ship to a credit union not obsessed with increasing quarterly profits in the face of a lending downturn, rising bankruptcies, and increased government regulation.
So, as I threw my leg over Sugar Foot and rode off into the sunset, all I could hope is that banker #5 would be identifiable on my caller ID. If not, I might be faced with more reproductive questions.