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...