Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Bank Job

This week is out to get me. I am sure of it. In fact, I haven't been surer of anything in my whole life.

Monday...that was 3 days ago. I can't even go there. Monday was so bad I ended up curled in a ball on the couch under a blanket watching Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. I didn't even know those shows still existed!

I thought when I woke up Tuesday morning, things would be better. I had a small errand to run in the morning and then I was taking a friend out to lunch for her birthday. At least that was the plan.

I was super excited to have a basketful of valentine's and other completely necessary things for the kids (and myself) as I swiped my debit card at the dollar store. For the first time in my life, I was actually running exactly on time to meet my friend for lunch and even better? The sun was out. Oh yes, everything was going just fine until...


(I hate when people call me Ma'am)

"I'm sorry, but your card isn't going through."

(I politely ask her to run it again, obviously there must be some mistake)

"I'm sorry, it still says declined."

(I politely ask her to run it as credit instead of debit as I recall this happening before and the card reader was just having a bad day.)

"It still won't work," she hands me back my debit card, which at this point I want to incinerate and toss around the store like confetti. Not to mention I am more embarrassed than I have ever been in my entire life as the poor souls behind me in the check-out line offer words of comfort and tell me that, "It's okay, this happens to me all the time." Where is the candid camera? Am I on that show What Would You Do?

I resist the urge to explain that my husband just yesterday deposited a substantially sized check into our account and there is no possible way that my purchases exceed that amount (after all, this is the dollar store, and I only have about $15 worth of completely necessary items in my bag). Instead I dig up enough cash to pay for my purchases, cheeks totally on fire, and high tail it out of there before I start crying.

All kinds of things go through my mind not excluding the fact that our money was deposited into someone else's account.

So, in order to spare you the boredom of reading all about how I went to my nearest bank branch and requested that something, ANYTHING, be done to fix my problem, I'll just break it down for you:

Apparently, if you make a deposit at my back after 4pm via check, funds are not available until the day after the following business day. I did not know this. I guess I always deposit earlier in the day or on Fridays, when this "rule" is not applicable. And Mr. Mean Bank Man was pretty clear in explaining that this so-called policy was just the way it was, despite my patronage at this particular bank since 1988. That's 23 years I've been a customer and never had this happen. 23 years!

Mr. Mean Bank Man told me that I could wait 30 minutes and he may be able to free up some of my funds. 30 minutes. Why? I have no idea.

I told him, while looking at my watch to confirm that my plans to be on time for the first time in my life were totally ruined, that would not work.

He offered me his business card.

Like that would be any help.

I declined Mr. Mean Bank Man's business card and told him that I'd just talk to the gals in the branch downtown (which is nearer my home, the place I'd be heading to drink a bottle of wine and take a handful of Tylenol PM after this ordeal - not really) because, unlike you Mr. Mean Bank Man, they have actual living, breathing hearts in their chests instead of stones.

He was not impressed.

So I drove around the lake towards "downtown" and my friendly local bank branch which rhymes with Bells Stargo with this song playing loudly on my radio:

You know, just to get my ya-yas out.

I walked into my branch declaring that I was having a bad day.

I just wanted to warn them.

And you know what happened? A nice gal, not a "Ma'am," and no, she didn't call me that either, she called me by my first name when I walked in the door. Well, anyway she fixed the issue with about 3 seconds on her computer. Done. Fixed. My funds were available and I was now free to buy as much dog food as I wanted, or, whatever.

Just like that.

She said that Mr. Mean Bank Man could have done the same with a simple phone call. A simple phone call! She also shook her head and said she was sorry as she explained that they'd been having "communication issues" with that branch for a long time. And then she handed me her business card...and I took it.

I know I didn't keep it short and for that, I am truly sorry to have rambled on and on.

But I did learn something from that whole embarrassing experience, besides that my friend who I was supposed to take out to lunch is still my friend...and a good one at that, and that was to always carry emergency cash. Just a little, perhaps enough to pay for things at the dollar store AND take your good friend to lunch if that's your cup of tea, tucked away that you may not use for everyday purchases.

And, always get your deposits in before 4pm.

And, don't run your checking account so low next time.

But geesh, we've had about a million extra expenses in the past month so I'm just going to forgive myself on that one, for now.

And I'm really trying hard to not walk into that other bank branch, you know - the one where Mr. Mean Bank Man works - and declare a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "You made a big mistake," as I withdraw every last penny from my account.

But I'm not that bitter, clearly.


kristi said...

I deal with customers all day long and I do my best to be helpful. Sometimes life just happens and things don't work out as you plan, and having one person offer great service can turn it all around. :)

Anonymous said...

And we quit that particular bank YEARS ago when they wanted to charge your baby bro for his little kid's savings account.

Figuring, when we became gazillionares, they would be sorry.

I don't think they even noticed.

But I AM glad you, being the personable woman you are, have kept up a good business relationship with some of the staff! Way to go!


ps.. I ALWAYS have a little mad money... now you know why.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I come across as "preachy"..

Had my own encounters recently, in the medical field (not about ME, though)..