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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Banking for the Busy

bank-vault“Para Espanol?”

The prompts are heard over the telephone for the umpteenth time as I begin all over again in the electronic menu. I cannot believe that the computer refuses to comprehend one- or two-word statements that I utter slowly and clearly.

So I try, “Your ridiculous bank technology is messing up my life big-time and I need to speak with someone with half a brain who could actually help rather than push me back into the morass!”

“I’m sorry,” comes the electronic voice. “I don’t understand. Para Espanol? Your call may be monitored for quality purposes.”

“Operator,” I give up.man-on-phone-to-bank

“Alright, we will connect you with an operator. However, you may experience extensive wait times. If you can say your purpose in one word, please say it now….”


And on it goes, I waste copious amounts of time trying to get them to right a situation which they caused. It had been years since I physically stepped into a bank and when I did several months ago, the powers that be informed me that my account was woefully outdated or “grandfathered”.  Soon, I will be stuffing money in my mattress.

200245485-001Trying to update the checking account involved bank employees switching funds from this to that. They informed me that they would also, as a courtesy to me as an esteemed customer, be ordering checks for me.

“Oh, that’s alright, I can do it myself….”

They insisted. Week after week passed. My gym membership, which apparently was linked to the checking account, now defunct, rather than any bankcard which would make more sense to me, went into arrears. Three more calls to the bank’s 800 number, three more attempts to order checks, all resulted in nothing but wasted time.

Finally, they made an appointment for me with my “personal banker”, a young maverick very excited at thepersonal-banker-salary idea of selling me more financial services and investments. I was instructed to bring any information from other banks or investments that he might look over with me.

Baahhhhaaaahhhahhhhaaa! Not if you can’t order the checks and open a new account. I hope quality assurance is listening….

I finally got it straightened out. The checks were on express order, gratis, and arrived a couple of days later. The personal banker was a sharp young guy and I said I would direct more business his way since he seemed to be the only capable person there.

gym-membershipOn to the gym. I explained to the front counter guy that I appeared to be in arrears. You must understand, we’re talking $10 here. Baahhhhaaaahhhhhaahhhaaa! I tried to keep a straight face.

The amount was easily taken care of posthaste. It was the late fee.

“No,” I shook my head. “You must understand that I take care of my accounts. This was a banking error. Well, actually, it was my error, that I thought I could close one account and open another account, but anyway, I’m a member in good standing and I even have the secret decoder ring and I’m committed to working out, even though it appears to do this middle-aged body very little good, I like to come and encourage my son who also works out here, along with several of our other friends—.”

“You’ll need to speak to the manager, Rob.”

“Sure, Rob? No problem.”

Rob was on the phone forever, as I stood there, languishing. I was stopping by the gym on my way refundsomewhere else with my son.

“Stand in front of him,” I directed.

Petya circled in the general direction, too polite to go and plunk himself down directly in his line of vision. But Rob felt his presence and eventually made his way to us.

“Hey, Rob, good morning—,” I started, “they say I need to speak with you about having a late fee removed from my account….”

He reviewed the computer record. “It’s only $10.”

debit-card“Yes, I know, it’s the idea of it, Rob. I switched bank accounts and this started a domino effect. It’s more the idea of the late fee….”

And then I smiled at him. And was silent.

“Oh, sure, I guess we could waive it….”

“Thank you, Rob, I appreciate it.”

On our way back to the car, my son marveled, “Oooh, you were good. I don’t think that would have worked for me.”

“Never hurts to ask. This is their job to deal with payments that are on time, or not. I’m not asking to come to the gym without paying my monthly fee. Ten dollars may not seem like anything, but all of this adds up and you always need to remember the value of money. Ten dollars. That’s Starbucks right there.”

So far, we seem to have it all straightened out. I called the personal banker and ordered a new bankcard, since mine will expire in a couple of months and there’s always a problem with me receiving it by mail. He promises it will arrive at the bank and I can pick it up there in person.

Oh joy. Banking for the busy.

Do these kinds of things happen to you, too?

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