Deposit Drama

The only reason I physically enter a bank anymore is if I have a Canadian cheque, as everything else I can do online or at the ATM.  Last week was one such time, and armed with an extra adult (my stepmother) I got in line.  She took Little Red to the comfortable chairs and magically kept him quiet and contained the whole time. 

It was a Monday morning (I should have known better but I wanted that cheque deposited the sooner the better) and the line reflected that.  The computer system was down, adding to everyone’s stress, as the other branch in town was sending customers to our branch, not realizing that the computers were down there, too.  I waited patiently, and eagerly, as I saw that a friend from Sylvan was now working as a teller and I couldn’t wait to see her and to show off Early Bird, contentedly sleeping in the sling.

I didn’t get to Anita’s window, but the one directly to her left, so we still got to say hi between her customers.  My teller was more with-it than most, and when I explained that I had a Canadian cheque that needed to be exchanged he didn’t argue with me and tell me that it was already in dollars.  (ahem, a regular occurance at this bank.)  Fortunately, that part of the computer system was working, so while it took long, at least it was doable.

Meanwhile another customer approached Anita’s window.  He asked for a cash advance from his Master Card and Anita explained that the computers were down but that she’d try a machine at the back and see what she could do.  When she returned unsuccessful she politely explained that the transaction was declined.  He did not respond politely.  He screamed and yelled at her, calling her a liar.  He even said, “if you scratched my card I will sue you.  It is on camera and I have a witness.”  As he said “witness” he turned to me.

I didn’t look at him.  I continued to look straight ahead, trying to stay out of it.  I would never support him in something so ridiculous and rude.

The manager came by, ran the card again, and this time it worked.  Instead of being pacified by the transaction, it fueled his anger and beligerance.  As my own transaction neared it’s completion I was filled with the need to defend Anita, not just because she was my friend, but because he was being completely absurd.  Uncharacteristically emboldened, I spoke up.

“Actually, sir, I’ve worked with a lot of credit card machines.  Sometimes they come up declined when there’s nothing wrong.  It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a mechanical thing.”  I wanted him to know that we’d all been there and that there’s no shame and no blame.  He was livid.  This was none of my concern (although he’d tried to include me when he thought I’d be on his side.)  “I apologize.  I just think you’re being unfair to her.”  Again he reminded me that this was just between him and her.  (Sorry, when you’re that loud, the whole bank is involved.)

I walked away, finished, and he followed me, and again had words.  He was clearly imbalanced and for a moment both Liz and I wondered if he would get violent.  I was very vulnerable, much smaller than him and wearing my infant son.  He continued with words only as we left.  I stayed unemotional and calm, but when I got to the car I was shaking, realizing how scary it was.  I let it bother me for a few minutes, until I realized that I would have felt worse for not saying anything (actually the manager should have asked him to leave — his verbal abuse to her employee was completely inappropriate and he was disrupting the whole bank.)  I couldn’t ignore the feeling I had that I needed to say something, and even if it hadn’t been Anita, but just another anonymous teller, I’d still have voiced the injustice.


6 thoughts on “Deposit Drama

  1. I hope you got a high exchange rate on the Canadian money!
    I hate injustice like that. My problem is that I no longer have a healthy sense of fear. I don’t care if people shout, because I am a shouter myself (except when strangers — or neighbours — are shouting at me). I forget, though, that just because I won’t turn violent doesn’t mean others won’t. My husband has had to quietly draw me away from an altercation before because he was afraid for my safety. Where I saw a six-foot, 280-pound bully making a fool of himself, my husband saw danger. I’m trying to be more aware of that now.

    You’re so spunky — I think that’s great!
    I’m afraid I did not get as good a rate as I should have. (My father works for moneychangers, so I know how the dollars are trading, but naturally the banks will give you whatever they want.) But no worries, I’m just happy they exchange it — I’ve lived in several areas where I simply could not deposit my Canadian cheques.

  2. Good for you on speaking up – I know it is scary sometimes. I hope that the manager doesn’t try to give your friend any grief over the incident, and hopefully you never run into that jerk in the bank again. yikes. 🙂 I’ve had a few incidents, but they are usually on the phone, but I hope I would stand up for the teller too in the same situation. 🙂

    The manager didn’t seem upset with my friend, so that’s good, but I really think she should have asked him to leave.

  3. I bet he felt really embarassed when he thought about it in his car.

    He gave me a nasty look as he sped off on his bike. But maybe he did feel embarassed later, I hope so, just so it would show he had an ounce of decency in him.

  4. Good for you for standing up for your friend!

    I had a customer once storm out of one of my stores once over a misunderstanding. He wrote a letter to my manager a short time later, complaining about the service! I was totally mortified. I had never had that happen before! You know what I”m like when it comes to my job…I make sure to do everything in my power to make my customer wants to come back. Anyway, a few years later, I was having a bbq at my home and my friends invited their neighbour from below them. We were chatting about where we worked, or in my case, used to work. When I mentioned my store, he said “they were a-holes”…I said “Which store?” He said the one down the street. I said “Why? What happened?” I’d never heard anyone complain about our store before. He started telling me the story about this woman he’d dealt with and how it had been her fault and such. I finished his story for him and said “That was me.” He said, “No it wasn’t!” I said, “yes, it was.” He kept insisting that it wasn’t me and wouldn’t believe me. I had the chance to say that I was sorry (sort of…). Then he started going on about some of his other moments in other customer service related areas. One such story being about how he cleared a counter at an A&W in Whitecourt, over nothing it ultimately turned out.

    His attitude and letter had always hung like a mark on what I felt was my customer service reputation, but after actually meeting him and hearing his other stories where he had terrorized other clerks, I felt much better knowing that it really hadn’t been my fault. I felt vidicated and rather well about the situation after that one! I even made sure to call my former manager to tell her the amazing story. She was just as floored as I was that this happened.

    For this guy in the bank, he could just be that same type of person, which is sad. What I can’t get over is the fact that he thought you would back him up after such a performance and then when he realized you wouldn’t back him, but the object of his anger, he turned it on you. That’s so unfair. I’m glad he wasn’t violent, but doubly glad that you stood up for your friend!

  5. I can’t believe that guy! Some people are just so rude. I’m also surprised that the manager didn’t step in and do a better job defending his teller and you! Good job speaking up for your friend 🙂

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