Today is Bank Transfer Day, a day when millions of folks promised to transfer their accounts from big commercial banks to smaller banks or credit unions. I’m not participating in this… and here’s why:
My birthday is in March. The August after I turned 21, my best friend Rich and I went to my parent’s beach condo in Florida for a short vacation. Shortly after arrival, we went to the grocery store to stock up on grub for the week, and there I got a 6-pack of Bass Ale. The beer had a flyer attached offering six pint glasses and a glass pitcher with cool retro Bass logos for $19.99 plus shipping. Since I was still in my “I’M 21! I CAN DRINK, THEREFORE I AM A BADASS!!!” phase, I decided to get the set. So as soon as I got back to Atlanta I sent them a check and promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward from that August to the following May. I was at work one Tuesday, and my mom called me in a panic. “Wachovia called! They said you bounced a check! What’s going on with your finances, son? Should we bring your dad in on this?”
STRIKE ONE: Although I lived at home, I was now 22 years-old, fully an adult, and neither of my parents were “co-signers” (or anything else) on my account. But some Wachovia drone felt it was perfectly OK to talk to my mom about my private financial matters.
So I immediately left work to go to the nearest Wachovia branch to find out what was going on. There, I met the biggest CUNTY FUCKING CUNT in the history of customer service. She looked like Mr Rooney’s secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… if that woman had neither shit nor orgasmed in 15 years.
I gave her my account details, and she pulled it up on her computer. She then said, as if she were talking to a child, “Oh see… when you write a check [and, so help me God, she actually made a “writing gesture” with her right hand as she said that] you need to have enough money in your account to cover it”. I thanked her for her summary of how checking accounts work, but said that I had no idea how my account should be so short. She went though the last few transactions, and it seemed that the check for the stupid Bass glasses had finally cleared, causing my account to be overdrawn by 22¢.
But here’s the thing: I got paid in cash on Thursdays back then, and I had deposited $250 in cash at a Wachovia ATM outside a Wachovia branch the Thursday before. I asked Ms. Bitch why that deposit hadn’t cleared yet. She tilted her head to one side and condescendingly said that she couldn’t do anything without the ATM receipt. I reached in my wallet and pulled out the receipt. She tilted her head to the other side, clucked her tongue, and said that there was “nothing” she could do. “After all, ” she said, smirking, “you could have deposited an empty envelope in the ATM”.
So it came down to this: I was pissed because Wachovia had bounced a check, which cost me $27. This wouldn’t have happened if Wachovia would have credited my account the CASH I had deposited in one of THEIR ATMs three and a half business days before. The GODAWFUL teller just kept saying that it was “their policy” and that she was “just so goshdarn sorry, but there just isn’t anything I can do”.
Not satisfied, I asked to speak with the branch manager. And, when Mr. “I’m a Branch Manager at a Wachovia Bank and am Far Too Important To Deal With a 22 Year-Old Kid and his 22¢ Overdraft” finally came over, he was an even bigger dick than Ms. Cunty Cunt… and even more dismissive! I asked why my cash deposit hadn’t been posted; he ignored this and said that I needed to have money in my account to write a check and that there was nothing he could do for me. Repeat this over and over for 15 minutes.
STRIKE TWO: Completely dismissive customer “service”.
I gave up and left. In the car, I became troubled by the sequence of transactions. So when I got back to the office, I called the “bank by phone” number to see what happened (this was pre-Internet). And lo and behold, wonder of wonders, my balance was now somewhere around $220! So they’d “found” my CASH deposit moments after I’d left the branch! Imagine!
STRIKE THREE: Wachovia had magically “found” my deposit.. after I’d paid the $27 for the bounced check!
I closed my account and opened one with a credit union.. which I’ve had since 1993! And I couldn’t be happier!