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I knew today was going to be tough on writing. It’s the kind that wreck the writing life — appointments, house projects, errand-o-rama. But I thought I had 60-90 minutes to write in. This is the tale of how the bank ate my writing day. And a teller who iis SO going in a book…and not in a good way 😉

My local little bank’s been bought up by BB&T. I went in to close a small business account because fees will go from $0 to $144/yr. Um, no.

bankThe prologue is that I wanted them to mail me a check to close out the account. Absolutely not. I had to appear in person. What do you do for out of state people? I ask. Mail the check, they say. Then pretend I live out of state, I say. Gasp, horror, impossible!

So, there I am. Absorbing the ambience of inconvenience. Standing in line 10 minutes without advancing. Finally my turn. I tell Teller 1 that I’d like to close an account. “Oh, she’ll have to help you with that,” she says of teller to her right. Let’s call her Teller 2

Interesting, since I’d noticed while I waited that Teller 2 had completed a transaction and then appeared to be simply chatting with the male customer. This was while four more people lined up behind me and all other tellers were occupied. I’d also noticed because Teller 2 was distinctive. Her ~very~ blonde hair beehive
might have been in a French twist, but if so it had ventured much too close to the beehive do’s. And she wore black-framed glasses. I kept thinking she reminded me of one of Carol Burnett’s characters, only blonde instead of redhead.

“How much longer a wait will that be?” I ask Teller 1.

“Oh, just a few minutes. Why don’t you have a seat?”

It’s never a good sign when they ask you to have a seat.

I started Tweeting, catching up with some friends.

My seat was close enough and my ears good enough to hear as Teller 2 and Male Customer continue to chat, while other tellers serve customers.

Then I hear Male Customer ask if a lot of customers are closing accounts since the buyout.

Teller 2 says, “Oh, only some people who are just rattled by any bit of change. You know. They’re just not accustomed to a big bank. They can’t handle a big bank. They’re not comfortable with a big bank.”

Got it. You think you’re a big bank.

At this point, I snort and start Tweeting about BB&T – a k a The Big Bank I Can’t Handle – and Teller 2.

At last, Male Customer wanders away … and Teller 2 skips me and takes – you knew this was coming, right? – a man who was in the line, though very shaky if he was next. (Can’t swear because I was Tweeting.)

Also not sure, but I think Teller 1 might have spotted my evil eye directed at Teller 2. Teller 1 goes toward back room and asks if someone can help with a “close.”

By this time I’ve been in the bank 22 minutes. Not yet waited on. But, you know, this is a Big Bank, so I should be grateful they’re letting me sit in their lobby, right?

Pleasant lady comes to my chair in the lobby and says they don’t want to hold me up (too late), so if I’ll give them, oh, four or five dozen facts so they can find the account number and blab them all right here in front of the other people standing in line, then they’ll get the balance, and then …

I hand her a copy of printed statement I’d brought with account number and balance. Dated today.

“Oh.” (I swear she was disappointed.) “We’ll have to check that.”

(Because they’re a Big Bank, you know. A Small Bank would’ve just taken me at my word.)

And then she says she’ll be right back with my cash.

“Cash? This is a business account. I’d much prefer a check.”

Impossible.

Why?

They’ve lost the keys for the check machine. (No. I am NOT making this up. I swear.)

But I could go to another branch (20 minutes away) and get a check there (starting the waiting game all over, and that’s assuming those folks aren’t also check-machine-key-losers.)

At this point I’m thinking, Take the Money and RUN. I say I’ll take cash.

Another several minutes. Different pleasant woman arrives with cash, which she proceeds to count out to me out loud in front of now 7 people waiting in line for a teller, one no more than 18 inches from my knees. (Teller 2 still talking to Male Customer 2.)

I sign receipt and head for the escape door, hearing from behind me Teller 2 saying, apparently to the universe, “Well, she was in a hurry.”

Back in the car. Elapsed time inside: 39 minutes.

Added in travel time, plus phone call: 84 minutes.

Annoying character to put in a book: Priceless.

Writing time: Gone

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