Tag Archives: humor

Wells Fargo: Bankster Bandits Traveling by Stagecoach

Stagecoach in Boulder parade

Image by Jerry W. Lewis via Flickr

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.

Proof That Watching Cartoons Can Be Harmful

Few things make me LOL.  Fewer still make me LMAO, and I am not quite sure what that would entail.  Working your AO makes sense, since there is work involved.  There is a show called “Dance Your AO” (http://dyao.oxygen.com/about-dyao), which also seems plausible (and the work of marketing genius, I might add, by combining dance and weight loss competition in one show).  But laughing to burn off calories?  I am skeptical.  BUT I DIGRESS!  Today’s post is about a story and video that truly made me LOL.  Most of us know The Flintstones cartoon well.

1979 Flintstones Fish Card Game

Image by andertoons via Flickr

Who could forget Fred’s car–the one he started and stopped with his feet?  Environmentally conscious as his solution might have been, he was ahead of his time by a few thousand years.  Moreover, the cartoon was FICTION.  That is, it was fiction until a guy in Michigan decided that faulty brakes were no reason to leave his truck parked.  He could stop it WITH HIS FEET!  Reportedly (http://n.pr/oceVzy), he traveled at speeds up to 40 MPH, a speed that would have made Fred Flintstone envious.  Best of all, police captured video of the guy trying to stop his truck unsuccessfully (see above).  Nobody was hurt, but several cars were damaged.  A small price to pay for LOL.

Mindless Marketing Monikers: Limited & Unlimited

Jeep Wrangler Sahara UNLIMITED

Jeep Wrangler Sahara UNLIMITED (honest, but stupid)

Perhaps I am not your average consumer, having spent most of my career as a marketing professional, but certain product names elicit a wry smirk from me.  The words “Limited” and “Unlimited” are two such examples.  I was reminded of this recently when I parked my car, looked out the window, and saw a Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited parked beside me (see photo).  As an aside, I believe there is a point where the name of the product gets way too long.  Here, we have Make/Model/Version followed by the aforementioned senseless “Unlimited”.  While “Limited” and “Unlimited” are both hollow and meaningless names, “Unlimited” is clearly the dumber of the two.  If you buy something that is “Limited” and you are naive enough to believe that companies will not make as many as they can possibly sell, you might feel that you are one of the chosen few who get to experience the pleasure of owning one.  Exclusivity is coveted by many consumers.  However, if you buy something with “Unlimited” emblazoned on its visible brand signature, you are basically saying that your product is so commonplace and easy to attain that any dolt can get one.  Implicit, as well, is that you are one of those dolts.  Congratulations.

One for the Road, Or Not

2011 Buick Regal

Love at First Sight is Foolish Love (Image lifted from Buick.com.)

A car enthusiast I am not, but I do have an appreciation for exceptional styling and engineering.  I can usually name the make and model of any car from some distance.  Further, I am keenly aware of a car’s personality–the undeniable and unique expression a car makes about the person driving the car.  For most of us, a car is the second biggest purchase we make in life, and its ability to define us is surpassed perhaps only by clothing, which has the distinct and unfair advantage of staying on our bodies all day long.  Enough setup.  So, I have been noticing a sharp new model on the roads of late–sleek, modern, and aggressive with the bouquet and youthful energy of Beaujolais Nouveau, but the complexity, sophistication, and depth of character found in a fine Napa Cabernet.  Let’s say it has overtones of BMW and Audi, with a nod to Lexus and perhaps a wink to Bugatti.  Yes, Bugatti.  Today, I got to see one up close.  A BUICK REGAL!  Kudos for the design, but at the end of the day, it’s an inferior product of a failed company resuscitated briefly by the federal government.  A glass of two-buck Chuck or Boone’s Farm anybody?

5 Foods That Make No Sense to Me

Once a year.

Beer Cheese Soup (yes, popcorn on top) Image by leedav via Flickr

Nearly 2 weeks without a single blog post proved several things to me:

  • Paradox of Paragraphs: The less I blog, the less I have to blog about.
  • It’s Alive!: People keep visiting and reading, even when I don’t write.  Thanks!
  • Blogging is Not Real Life: Life is tougher.  One of my superheroes saw kryptonite, got pretty weak, and rebounded to defeat the villain virus or bacteria or whatever it was.

On to a much more important topic…

5 Foods That Make No Sense to Me

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: What’s with the “extra”?  I have never seen just regular old “virgin” olive oil.  Why personify olive oil?  Would it sell as well if marketed as Super Skank Olive Oil?
  2. Tuna Fish Sandwich: Of course it’s a fish!  We don’t order turkey bird or ham pig butt sandwiches.  Why do we feel the need to clarify that we are talking about a tuna FISH?
  3. Double Malt Scotch Whiskey: Never drank the stuff, but I have been told that single malt is better.  THEN WHY MALT IT A SECOND TIME?!?
  4. Grape-Nuts: No grapes, no nuts.  What gives?!?  How about calling it Gravel?
  5. Beer Cheese Soup: Who thought of this concoction, and WHY add popcorn?!?

You Think YOUR Weather is Crazy…

Copan Ruinas. Macaw and Squirrel

Macaws Compete with Squirrels for Free Grub (Image by Adalberto.H.Vega via Flickr)

Usually mundane talk about weather has gotten more interesting this summer all across America, as sweltering temperatures, monsoon-like downpours, floods, droughts, and tornado outbreaks have become the new normal.  I am not here to make a statement on global warming, but even Minnesota has gotten downright tropical–not just hot, but incredibly humid.  As a result, all sorts of strange things have been happening.  My wife’s tomato plants look like shrubs.  Outside air condenses on the cool windows of our homes and cars.  Rain, thunder, and lightning seem to come and go daily, as in the rainforest.  Icy roads of winter are replaced by slippery, moss-covered roads of summer.  Tree canopies are beginning to cover entire neighborhoods.  Joggers are tripping over sprawling green vines that grow by the hour.  Beautiful macaws and toucans have replaced the usual robins, blue jays, and cardinals.  Reports of traditional roadkill like deer and skunks have been replaced by stories of squashed 20-foot boa constrictors and tree sloths.  Then there are the monkeys raiding vegetable gardens and the gorillas squatting in abandoned homes and scaring away house hunters.  And WHY does our new weather man wear a loin cloth, let out wild calls, and swing from vines?

Art of the Absurd: The Future of Book Deals

Bristol Palin

Like Momma, Like Daughter. Bristol Palin Cashes in on Book Deal, Smiles at Every Idiot Who Buys a Copy (Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Capitalism sometimes manifests itself in peculiar and absurd ways.  Book deals are one such example.  Somehow, in this age when bookstores are struggling to survive and sentence fragments are all the rage on Twitter, there is still a market for the inside scoop, in long form, from dimwits, convicts, derelicts, or public servants who aren’t content with simply a big taxpayer-funded salary and pension.  Examples of such gold diggers are plentiful–Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin (a rare mother/daughter combo!), Casey Anthony (in the works), Casey Anthony’s attorney (not making this up), Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, Reverend Al Sharpton, a 17-year-old girl who faked her pregnancy (Gaby Rodriguez), and the list goes on.  The problem with book deals, for publishers, is the random, unpredictable nature of good subject material and the need to harvest it from greedy people.  Enter my vision for the future of book deals–REALITY BOOK DEALS.  Think up a good story, hire low-budget dolts to act it out, and write a book about it!  Just like network TV has feasted on reality TV, publishers could feast on reality book deals.  Suddenly, a good book deal is limited only by the imagination!  What’s not to like?