Friday, February 12, 2016

ACK! Woe Began.

Woe was Val on Wednesday. Her cheese-cutting-faux-pas ways followed her to midweek.

Off to school we went Wednesday morning. The Pony was having practice for his academic team after school, then meeting with a teacher-sponsored group from 5:30 to 8:00 to discuss a new venture involving scientific inventions. Or so we thought.

During lunch at 10:53, I found out that school was dismissing at 12:30 due to impending snow. Unfortunately, the pupil body was also informed at that time, which stirred them up like yellowjackets in a nest mowed over by Hick Thevictorian. Lucky for Val, she had plan time next, so she was not responsible for calming the freshly-caffeinated hordes until ten minutes before dismissal. The snow arrived at 11:35 and had coated the roads by the time The Pony and I started home. Well...home by way of two banks.

As Even Steven would have it, no fewer than five buses pulled out in front of us at various points of our journey. It is only five miles, people, from school to that bank. Note to little kids riding buses: "When the bus stops, you should stand up and walk forward and climb down the steps." Uh huh. Because we spent an inordinate amount of time stationary behind stopped buses with no sign of activity. I could have hummed that Jeopardy song five times over before any urchins emerged. Those five miles took us 25 minutes!

Just as I parked T-Hoe on the bank lot, two other vehicles entered. "Oh, no, Pony! They're going to beat me to the tellers! And they probably have some lengthy business to conduct. We'll never get home!"

I grabbed my account folder and my purse, and rushed inside. Rushed as fast as Val on sore knees on slippery snow in a concrete parking lot can rush up a little untreated concrete ramp with no rail at the back entrance of the bank. Darn that SUV that parked right beside the door after backing into a handicap spot! An old lady darted inside just ahead of me. Had I been a bit more agile, and she less spry, I might have grabbed the belt of her coat and held her back. But alas, Val was unable to belt the old handicapped lady.

Ack! Woe began at 12:55. Three tellers were working. Let's rephrase that. Three tellers were at their stations. One was working. The one closest to the door greeted me and said the others would be with me in a minute. I stood in front of the middle one. The old handicapped lady (without even a cane to show her handicappedness) was detailing a time-consuming problem to the teller on the other end. DoorTeller asked me if I was just dropping something off.

"No. I'm here to close an account and withdraw the money." Which probably should have been said in the opposite order, but Val is no banker.

More time elapsed. MidTeller was computing and papershuffling. DoorTeller asked if I was also opening an account. She intimated that HORROR OF HORRORS THE AccOpe FROM ONE YEAR AGO might be able to help me, and gestured toward her desk.

"No, I'm only closing. Not opening."

After 10 minutes, MidTeller said she could help me now. I explained my situation, and handed her the account-opening form with our account number on top. MidTeller looked to DoorTeller. Who promptly put on her coat and said she'd be back later. MidTeller started talking to herself softly. I explained that Nikki from the main branch has said that everything they needed was in the computer file.


AccOpe came sidling from her desk across the lobby and scooted into MidTeller's booth from behind and WHISPERED (too loudly) "I told her yesterday that she would have to contact Nikki, because Nikki is the one that's handling it." AccOpe looked over at me through the money-shoving gap and said, accusatorily, "Did you call Nikki?"

Val was having none of that! She pulled the note card out of her folder, the note card upon which she had taken notes when talking to Nikki.

"Yes. And here's what Nikki said: 'I am so sorry you had to make an extra phone call. I put a letter in the file that says the account is unrestricted as of February 4th, per an email from NAME REDACTED at Local Land and Title Company. Anybody would have been able to see it. Either you or your sister, Sis, should be able to close the account and take out the money, since you are both owners of the account. You can do that at any of our branches.' If I had my phone in here, I would call Nikki and hand the phone to you."

AccOpe looked suitably embarrassed at the apology from Nikki about her mishandling of the initial phone call. Then she looked bent on revenge. She leaned over MidTeller and pointed at the screen. Whispered some more. Not loud enough. But MidTeller had a good set of lungs. "It says UNrestricted!" Heh, heh. AccOpe slunk off with her tail between her legs, with a look like "Nevermind" on her face.

By now it was 1:15. The snow continued to pour down outside, and Val with many a mile to go before she napped. MidTeller said, "I need to go get approval from my supervisor." The not-heaven you say! I was trying to close an account and get my money back, not make a deal on a new car.

MidTeller came back five minutes later, with a song and dance about how her supervisor was gone for now. Gone for the rest of the day, in fact. How conveeeeeenient! A line had started to form, the old handicapped lady having given way to a middle-aged man getting money to buy his sister a car, and two very-far-Backroadsians smelling of smoke chewing the fat behind me. I was not sure what my response would be.

So I kind of mumbled, "I don't know what I can do about THAT."

MidTeller stared at her computer screen awhile. Typed up some stuff. Stared some more. Typed some more. I didn't think we were getting anywhere. I told her, "I can go get my phone and call Nikki." I kind of liked drawing her like a gun, like Kim Darby as Mattie Ross of near Dardanelle in Yell County drew the name of her lawyer, J. Noble Daggett, when talking to Strother Martin as Colonel Stonehill the horse trader in the original True Grit.

"I can call Nikki if I need to," said MidTeller, making no move to call Nikki. "Normally people have a letter from the title company. I need to follow my protocol to close the account." Even though the necessary information was in the account file. After some more fiddling, she went to interrupt the car-buying brother's teller. "I might need you to get some money out of the safe." MIGHT?

More fiddling. More typing. Finally Mid-Teller pushed a paper at me. I wasn't sure what was going on, because it looked like a check, but I had told her initially that I wanted cash, because I was dividing it with my sister. Eventually she told me to sign it. Then when I asked if my own bank was going to put a hold on it, like they do with even a cashier's check, which I think is probably against banking regulations, MidTeller said I could cash it right there. Well, why didn't she say so!

I finally got my money, with MidTeller counting it five times, then counting it LOUDLY to me, thus announcing to the smoky woodsmen who had taken car-buying brother's place, and the self-important cell phone man behind me calling about his kids getting out of school early to an ex-wife or new wife (probably the latter, because he said 'I love you' at the end) that Val was going to be loaded walking out that door. After 30 minutes standing in line being insulted trying to get her money back from the hostage-holding bank.

You know what? Sis and I made 33 cents on that account. SOMEbody's gonna get an extra penny...


  1. Instead of automatically putting my dividends to my account my broker had checks sent to me (we had recently changed branches and they screwed up) I signed the checks over to mrs. C to put in her bank account. She could not deposit them unless I was present, showed identification and they put my thumb print on the checks. I felt like a criminal giving them money. When I left I asked to see the manager. I told her that if anyone wanted to put checks in into my wife's account, it was perfectly all right with both of us.

    Whenever I do business with a bank I some how always feel like I'm doing something wrong.

    1. The best thing about my bank is that it hasn't been gobbled up by bigger banks over the past 10 or more years.

      The worst thing is that they want to hold a check for 10 days before allowing me access to all the funds. Not a personal check from a third party. Checks like Hick's yearly bonus from his employer (who already directly deposits his paycheck each month). Checks like a withdrawal from our local credit union (three miles away) to put in checking to allow access for Genius. Checks from our other local Savings & Loan facility, a CASHIER'S CHECK, no less, to put in our checking account to pay off a car down payment, or credit card from Christmas. I've learned to ask for cash, then deposit it for immediate access.

      I say how about you give me access to that money NOW, and we'll let you credit it to my account 10 days from now? How about THEM apples? Good for the goose, good for the gander. Huh? Doesn't work like that, does it?

  2. I think you should get the extra cent, after that ordeal.

    Is the title a version of "Lake Woebegone"? (If so, Garrison Keillor. Yuck.)

    1. I'll need a written note signed by you for my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

      Thanks for acknowledging my title. Yes, that was the intention. I have never listened to him, only know the name and his lake. Let the record show that Val enjoys her titles. Usage does not imply approval of the subject she steals from...

  3. Maybe you should have just tipped that teller the penny for all of her good work.


    I sympathize, I really, really do.

    1. Or maybe I should pocket that extra penny, let it fall out on the floor of my classroom, and enable freshmen boys to chuck it at the back of each other's head throughout the day. One scenario would be as unpleasant as the next.

  4. Yikes. I'm sure they'd been all over you if you were opening an account. I don't understand customer service these days.

    1. It's not what they can do for the customer, it's what the customer can do for them!

  5. Like pulling teeth with tweezers! They act like it is THEIR money and you are trying to steal it. I vote for you to get that extra penney, since you had to deal with the bank.

    1. Yeah! They act like possession is 9/10 of the hurrah. "Give us your money, and we'll make it doggone hard for you to get it back!"

      I will need your signature along with Sioux's for my sister's extra-penny document. Are you, perhaps, a notary as well...

  6. They really made you work hard for that money. You deserve every penny of it, but you probably should share it with your sister.

    1. Maybe we can each keep it, on alternate months.