Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Effie Mae Goes Banking

A stunning, and yet totally not surprising, streak of lazy (and alliteration) has taken me by storm... again... and left me with no motivation to blog.  The material is there (Shark bait, ooh haha!) but the will to write it has vanished.  This is where the concept of Guest Blogging comes in at.  I poke someone repeatedly with a stick while belting out the refrain from Oklahoma! until they give in and write things FOR me. 

I lied.

It pretty much went like this:

Me:  You should do a guest blog for me.

Effie Mae:  Okay.


EM:  But you'll have to post it anonymously.  I don't want to get fired.

Me:  Okay, I'll just call you Anonymous ___________  (Her actual name.)

EM:  .... I don't think that's how it works...

So I've decided to call her Effie Mae.  Her love of cast iron pans ("They're versatile.  You behave and you get cornbread, you don't and you get the skillet upside the head") and refusal to travel above the Mason Dixon line makes this fitting. 

Sweet Effie works at a bank and was somewhat inspired by my Adventures in Retail Hell, so she wrote this.

EM:  I e-mailed you a blog, or half of one.  It should be a recurring guest spot as its going to take up seven pages when I'm done.

So dear readers, without further ado, I present to you, Effie Mae.

No, I Don't Need You To Help Me Count That

... or ...

What It's Really Like To Be A Bank Teller

• "No, I don't need you to help me count that." ; "No, I'm afraid I can't add any zeroes to your deposit slip." ; and, my personal favorite, "I'm sorry, unfortunately we don't have any 'free samples' today."

I think this speaks for itself. I'll admit, it was kind of funny when I started in banking 3 years ago. It was even slightly amusing the next 342 times I heard one of these precious gems of cleverness. Now, I want to stab you. So stop already. I'm losing my ability to smile politely.

• Yes, there is a fee to cash a check at our bank if you don't have an account with us. People -- this isn't exactly a new game in town. Is it fair? Probably not. Do I agree with it? Not entirely. Which is why I make no attempt to bank where I don't bank. Here's the kicker folks... if you have a check to cash, take it to your bank. Or, we'll be more than happy to open you an account with us. Otherwise, we're gonna charge a fee. Period. If you're one of those bury-your-money-in-a-Maxwell-House-can-in-the-back-yard or hide-it-in-the-mattress-and-hope-the-house-doesn't-burn-down people, I've got nothing for you. But rest assured, these check cashing fees never fall far enough down the corporate ladder to reach our pockets, so getting pissed at us lowly tellers will do you absolutely no good. So pay the fee, take what's left of your money, and go on quietly about your day. Just sayin'.

• If you don't have an account with us, we are required to document your ID and get your thumbprint. "No, we don't need a blood sample or your first-born child", so there's no need to get sassy. It's just a thumbprint. "No, of course it's not because we think you're a criminal" (although your beady little eyes and generally suspicious demeanor might make me think otherwise).

• Deposit slips. Withdrawal slips. You will literally find hundreds of these little suckers hidden in plain sight in various convenient locations between the front door and the teller line. And yet, you will manage to bypass all of these, walk directly to me, and hand me your debit card. I wasn't aware that I had magically transformed into an ATM, since that is obviously what you have mistaken me for, but thanks for letting me know. Yes, we are here to help you with these sorts of things, and I understand completely if you don't have your account number memorized. But can you not at least write your name on there and date the damn thing? Help a sista out once in a while, ya know? My carpal tunnel thanks you in advance.

• Drive-Through etiquette. If you need a deposit slip, withdrawal slip, pen, rolled coin, 6 months' worth of statements from your 14 different accounts, or have more than 3 transactions... come inside the branch. The people behind you who are actually prepared for quick service thank you.

• More drive-through etiquette. Don't ring the bell. Brace yourselves... most days, we actually let the drive-through tellers have a lunch break. If you happen to select this hour to come to the bank, you may find the drive-through unattended. But wait! The world has not yet reversed on its axis. If you can see us, we can see you. We know you're there! If we haven't come to your aide after about 45 seconds or so, that means we're either on the phone or helping customers in the lobby who are [*gasp*] just as important as you. So don't ring the bell. And there's certainly no reason to ring it twice. There's even less of a reason if your car hasn't even come to a complete stop. Studies have shown that the number of times you choose to ring the bell to notify us of your presence is directly proportional to the time you will sit there unacknowledged as well as the time it takes to process your transaction.

• Overdraft fees. They happen to the best of us. Well, not to me, because I actually know how to balance a checkbook, but more on that later... So here's the thing. If you write a check, or have an automatic payment drafted from your account without sufficient funds to cover said item, you will incur fees. Even if we return the check unpaid (i.e., "it bounces"), you will still be charged a "Returned Item" fee even if your account is back to a positive balance. We charge fees. That's how banks stay in business. But, [**insider secret alert**] there are ways around these. Through a complex system of mathematical formulas (addition and subtraction) as well as the magic that is the internet (online banking), it is now possible to know how much money you have at any given time before gallivanting off to spend it... all by balancing your checkbook. Who knew?

Let's not misunderstand here... some days I do love my job. In all fairness, those days are usually Saturday, Sunday, and federal holidays... but you know...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Of Course I Have a Fork in My Hand

There came a point in my life where I found myself lying in bed in the middle of the day, eating a danish, and crying over Cupcake Wars.

That was last week.

Two days ago I found myself lying in bed in the middle of the day again. No danish this time, Oprah instead of Food Network, and I’m crying because Paula Deen walks onto the stage with a plate full of cookies. I can’t say that I’m overly emotional about food, there was a back story to these events, and after all, I’m not a complete waste of space yet. The winner of the war between the cakes in cups induced tears not because of the sheer beauty of the cupcakes themselves, but because I really wanted that woman to win damn it and she did and it was beautiful and the charity director who was judging was crying and the woman was crying and I was crying. Oprah had a little boy that loved to cook in honor of his twin that died from a brain tumor at the age of nine and Paula Deen was his hero.

It’s not an every day occurrence that I find myself in bed in the middle of the day, although it happens more than I would like, and it’s definitely not every day that I find myself openly weeping over baked goods on television. This however should have been some kind of turning point in my life, it very well may turn out that way, but it hasn’t happened yet. It was just last week after all.

Several things came together to lead me to the point where I felt I needed to pour my little fat girl’s heart out on paper, or screen if you will. I am considered fat by skinny people and skinny by fat people. There is no whining for the chubby girls and there is no solace. There is no group that we fit into except with each other and we don’t like each other very much because there can be no fat friend when we’re all the same size. No one of us looks any better solely because we are next to each other. I have chubby friends that have fat friends because the fat friend makes them look smaller by comparison. I have skinny friends that have collection of us in varying shapes and sizes for the same reason. The only way the fat friend can come out ahead is if the skinny friend is ugly, and those of us that are homely have no chance at all.

Another factor that played into this “sudden” realization of self was a trailer for the film version of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Well, of course you’re on a “no carb left behind” experiment, you’re a stomach virus away from sudden death there, Karen Carpenter. Oh, the joy of having an unlimited cash flow that enables you to travel around the world “discovering yourself”, eating everything in sight, and sleeping with strange men with horribly faked accents. This story is not empowering. Poor women are not empowered by the “trust fund baby” like journey of a beautiful, well off woman in her prime. This train of thought took my ADD riddled mind on a journey of epic proportions and no passport was needed. Rich women who have always been rich try to empower the poor that have always been poor. Lower class people do not want to hear how you’ve managed to keep and grow your money when they can’t find any to begin with. Overweight women do not want to have a slew of skinny bitches showing them how to tone up and KEEP in shape when our shape changes every time we move.

The third and probably not even final contributing factor was a picture that was taken of me at a friend’s bridal shower. I’m standing behind a counter, a plate of fruit in one hand, a fork in the other and because I was slouching and my shirt was not suited for my body and because my bra fat was poking out I noticed several discernible but small rolls, some of them were possibly wrinkles in my shirt, but do we really think about that when all we see is “Oh my God, why did you post that to my Facebook, you nasty freaking hag?” The picture isn’t even bad. I won’t say that it’s terribly flattering but I have definitely seen worse. It actually made me laugh out loud and I decided to post a comment that said, “Of course I have a fork in my hand.” Well, of course I did.

I’m not an anxious eater, I’m rarely an over eater, and there are many, many days where I barely eat at all. I used to have a problem with eating when I was bored because I had nothing better to do. That lovely little problem is starting to crop back up. I mean Jesus; I’ve been unemployed for over a year, I have to have hobbies. I quit drinking soda a few months ago because I wanted to keep the teeth I have for as long as I possibly can and switched to water with the occasional Coke when dining out or when thirst was about to kill me and water wasn’t cutting it. I miraculously, quickly, and without any effort on my part managed to drop between 10-20 pounds.

There is a common misconception among the thin that all fat people must want to lose weight because, well, they’re fat. This does not hold true. There are many, many overweight people that are perfectly content with their sizes and shapes, many that feel beautiful in spite or even BECAUSE of their size and shape. You can be fat and healthy. You can be fat and happy. I’ve always been fond of the saying “I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable.” Do you know why these quotes exist? Because they are true. I can’t say that I’m ecstatic about my size and shape because I’m not. I FEEL fat, I feel gross, and I feel… bulgy, but damn my ass looks good in that pair of jeans. There is nothing worse than feeling like a misshapen sack of wet flour except looking like one, which I often feel that I do. Yes, I want to lose weight but I don’t want to lose it badly enough to do anything about it at this particular moment in time. I’m not a huge fan of exercise as it requires me to get off of Facebook and… move…

I sometimes find myself jealous over women that are larger than me. Yes, larger. Why? Because these women are gorgeous, they’re usually much better looking than their skinny counterparts, they have this air of supreme confidence, and their bodies are proportioned exactly right for their height. This is where the lumpy sack of wet flour comes in at. When I gain weight it is not evenly distributed. It goes one place and then it goes another, often with mixed results. I have skinny parts on my body and I have some really disgustingly odd shaped parts on my body. I have unsightly bulges that are not at all uniform with the rest of my body. That’s why I call myself fat. I have fat, I possess more than my height and the BMI charts dictate that I should have and I would be completely fine with this if it would just calm the fuck down and even out somewhere. Even my fat cells have ADD.

The mother of one of my friends has a saying; it goes as follows “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Bitch, have you ever eaten a Big Mac? Cheesecake? Mother fuckin’ deep fried Oreos? I didn’t THINK so because if you had you would know that there are endless stores of things that most definitely taste better than skinny feels. Think about your lover(s) here… I bet that rack of ribs probably tasted a hell of a lot better than ramming his pelvis into your razor sharp hip bones last night. It is a primal urge for men to want to “conquer” their mates, which generally leads to cervical annihilation and a lot of unfortunate pounding. Men fantasize about making that pounding happen with supermodels but they’re also afraid that they might break them. Men secretly want a woman that’s built like a brick shit house because the big bad wolf can’t blow the damn thing down no matter how hard he, uh, huffs and puffs.

Adventures in Retail Hell Part 2

stupid Pictures, Images and Photos

More happy work related topics. Please welcome our next guest: Mr. or Mrs. Oh boy am I clever. I hate this person. I want to kill them. At the very least, stab them in the eye with a pair of scissors.

You’ve all been to a store at some point recently where they have to mark your money with what I like to call my “secret decoder pen”, or as the rest of the world calls them, counterfeit pens. They poke your money and if it stays yellow, or light brown, you’re good to go, if it turns black, you become Big Bertha’s Prison Bitch.

Side note, these pens do not work. It told me, yes, the pen turned its head and said plain as day “Hey, it’s real, come on, believe me. Would I lie to you?” Yes, yes you would magic pen. So anyways, magical talking decoder pen told me that this rather odd looking fifty dollar bill was real. It said the same thing to my manager. The bank however, did not agree.

But I digress.

Boss man told me that I had to start marking EVERYTHING except one dollar bills because there is no way to tell if they are fake. (Who would waste the time? “Woo hoo! I bet that stripper/waitress is gonna be real pissed off tomorrow.” Way to stick it to the Coca-Cola man!) So five dollar bills and up got poked and checked for a water mark before I can accept them.

Well, Mr. or Mrs. Oh boy am I clever, comes into the store, and assumes at least fifty new identities a day.

Me: Hey, how y’all doin’ today?

Clever: Purty good, you?

Me: Spiffy

I ring up merchandise, give them their total, they take out bills of any denomination, except ones. I take out secret decoder pen and mark their money. This is where my day takes a nosedive.

Clever: Oh… I just made that this morning (last night, today, last week, a little while ago…they’re exchangeable here.)

Now, if you’ve never heard this before, you’re probably thinking that it’s kind of funny, and a little clever, perhaps even ballsy. This is where you are wrong, and where I also envy you for your innocence in this matter. The first fifteen times I heard it, I could laugh. The second fifteen, I could force a laugh. The next hundred, I pasted on a slightly amused smile that says “It’s really not funny, and I can’t even force myself to laugh, so I’m just smiling to keep from hurting you’re feelings.” After that, I could only glare, which is what I’ve been doing the 1,254,349 times since then. So here’s the thing… You’re not clever. And I’m going to give you the rules about saying the dreaded statement. The only time it is acceptable to say “oh, I just made that….whenever” is this:

The store you are in has just opened its doors to the public for the very first time, and you are the very first customer and your cashier has never worked a register or done any sort of work with the public and money before. THEN you can say it, but only once, and never again. If someone has beat you to it, I am sorry, but you must forfeit your sacred right to be a stupid fucking asshole.

So Mr. or Mrs. Oh boy am I clever, this is for you.

You are not clever, it is not funny, I am a humorous and fun loving person, I love stupid jokes and I can’t even force myself to SMILE at you, in fact it is all I can do to keep from beating your head into the counter. So stop saying it, I hate you. All cashiers hate you. I want to post this at my register:

Attention Customers:

Due to recent attempts to use counterfeit money in this store, we at * place I work* will no longer tolerate jokes about making and/or distributing fake currency.

If the jokes continue you will be given a choice of actions we can take.

1. Cashier reserves the right to refuse your business. She can and will slam the drawer, throw all the change you so lovingly laid down piece by piece on the counter instead of her hand back at you to pick up and scream at you to get the fuck out.

2. We can call the local, state, and federal authorities to investigate. Meaning: We can detain you at the store while they investigate every piece of money you currently possess, your checkbook, your wallet, your credit cards, all accounts connected to these items, your car, your home, and possibly various orifices on your body, all with out the luxury of Vaseline. In short, we will turn your life upside down and leave you to clean up the wreckage. Counterfeit money is a federal offense and is not to be taken lightly. Wish you’d never even opened your mouth now?

3. I can and will stab you in the fucking eye with a pair of scissors.

I personally vote for number three. It just seems so much more satisfying. But once again, you are not clever, IT is not clever, it wasn’t clever two minutes ago when that guy said it, it wasn’t clever five hundred times ago either.

I have two different things I want to try out on these people.

1. “I’m very interested in statistics, and I have calculated that you are the forty-third person to say that to me… this hour alone. Now, we get, on average, around six hundred customers a day, would you care to do the math and figure out how many times I have to hear some “clever” person say that to me?

2. “CONGRATULATIONS! You’re the millionth customer to say that to me THIS WEEK! You’re about as clever as the dialogue in a low budget porn flick, your prize is: feeling like the dumb ass that you really are, now get the fuck out my store and don’t come back until I think I can see you and not kill you.”

I mentioned something above about putting change on the counter.

It puts me into a murderous rage.

Your total is $7.96.

You lay the bills on the counter… this is fine.

For the rest of it, you decide to pay with dimes, nickels, and pennies, which is also fine. But what is not so fine is the fact that even though you see my hand sitting right there beside yours, palm up and waiting, even though you see me scrambling to pick up the penny you just laid down so my hand will be readily available for you to put the rest of the change in it, you see me constantly moving my hand under the hand that is distributing change AND YOU STILL LAY IT ON THE FUCKING COUNTER!

It’s like the damned tango or something, I have no idea what is going on in these people’s minds at the time. They must be mentally deficient or something. They’re mostly old, but still, geriatric is not a disability. I pick up the change and put it into my hand, and then I move that hand under the one that is putting the change down, RIGHT UNDER IT! So what do they do?!?

They move their hand away from it to lay the change on the counter, which means, I have to go and pick the shit up piece by piece. AAAGGGHHH!!!!!! It drives me fucking crazy. I hate when people do this, I really, really, really just want to kill them. Mostly, just strangle them for a while, while banging their head into hard objects and shaking them.

Murderous rage. You people play a dangerous game.