Sunday, February 12, 2012

663. A Kinder, Gentler Wells Fargo

I do not bank at Wells Fargo. I bank at Crazy Town Bank—I write checks, they give me money, end of story. I have never liked Wells Fargo because they ask for 15 pieces of ID, your mother’s maiden shoe size, your cat’s Social Security number, your thumbprint and nose-print, an EKG, the name of your firstborn son, and a notarized statement proving that this is really your signature. And then they call the bank manger over, and then they call the bank president over, and then they call the janitor over, and finally they all scowl at you and say, “Your money is no good here.”

And that is only to cash a $10 check. Imagine if I was trying to cash a $10,000 check.

So it should come as somewhat of a surprise when I find myself in the drive-thru teller lane at Wells Fargo.

Oh, crap, I think as I notice for the first time these bright red letters spelling out “Wells Fargo,” Since when is The Husband’s bank Wells Fargo? The Husband has always banked at First Bank of Crazy Town even though I myself bank at the far superior Crazy Town Bank, but now I realize that obviously First Bank must’ve been acquired by Wells Fargo.

Since the drive-thru teller line is long, I do what I always do in any uncertain situation: call The Husband at work. I flip my cell phone open, punch in his number, and wait. He answers just as I am about to hang up, on about the sixth ring, as if he has actual “work” to do.

“Sweetie,” I say, “it’s me.”

“MOV, I’m working,” he says the word working the way one might say curing cancer or eliminating global warming or negotiating world peace, instead of his real job, which is crunching numbers.

“I have a question for you,” I say, ignoring his work-related urgency, “What happened to your bank? I am cashing that check for $40 you gave me for Target, and I saw the sign says Wells Fargo now. When did this happen?”

“Oh, yeah, I didn’t tell you because I know you hate Wells Fargo. The one in California—you always complained about it. But, yeah, they bought my bank.”

The visual of a bank buying another bank makes me giggle. I’ll give you one million dollars for your building full of half a million dollars, Make it two million dollars and free parking and you have a deal.

“Well, that settles it. Crazy Town Bank is further away, but I’ll just drive over there.” I look over my shoulder to see if I can back out of the line or if I am blocked in.

“MOV, no need to do that. They’ve changed: it’s a different Wells Fargo now. A kinder, gentler Wells Fargo.  Trust me.”

Because I love The Husband more than anything on the planet (and also because I am boxed in), I listen to his advice and stay in line. We hang up because it’s almost my turn at the window.

I recognize no one. The few times I have driven through here with The Husband, I have observed the same three or four tellers working. Not today. Today it is a completely different crew. First Bank most likely took its employees to that great safe deposit box in the sky.

I pull up to the window, and hand the teller my check and my driver’s license. I brace myself for what I know is coming next.

“This bank is too good for you, you need to go back to Crazy Town Bank,” is what I expect him to say. Instead, he surprises me with a cheery, “Hello, Miss, welcome to Wells Fargo!”

He called me “Miss”! I am liking him already!

“Wow, great driver’ license picture,” he enthuses, and for a moment I wonder if he is flirting with me. “You look like you are about 16 in this shot.”

I am mentally closing my account at Crazy Town Bank and transferring all $17.62 I currently possess over to Wells Fargo.

“Do you have any fun weekend plans?” he grins wide.

“No, no, same ol’, same ol’.” I shrug. Laundry, cooking, watching re-runs of Project Runway.

Then it happens. I notice the car next to me is sending the airlifted plastic-tube-thingy across over my head and the teller is going to wait on him simultaneously.

“Great driver’s license picture!” I read his lips, and then, “Do you have any fun weekend plans?”

So this teller says the same thing to everyone! And it was only Tuesday, why are we discussing weekend plans?

He winks at me. “How would you like your cash, Dr. MOV?” he inquires in his faux-cheery Prozac-induced Stepford teller-tone.

I give a brief moment of thought to the question. The check is for $40.

“Oh, I dunno, hundreds are fine.”

He starts cracking up, as if he has never heard that joke before in his long career with Wells Fargo. “Good one! Ha ha! Hundreds! I love it!”

He takes two crisp 20’s out of the drawer and slides them with my license into the envelope. The metal drawer opens up with a clanging sound. “Is there anything else I can help you with today then, Dr. MOV?” His smile could light up a power plant in a black-out.

“No, no, I’m good,” I say. “Thank you, though.”

“No, thank you,” he replies, with special emphasis on the you. “Thank you for banking with Wells Fargo! We appreciate your business! Have a wonderful and blessed weekend! And rest of your day! It was a pleasure to see you! We are so glad you bank with us!” He is waving now, and as I pull my car up out of line, I look for the first time in the envelope. Two strawberry lollipops fall out along with my cash and ID.

My mind is spinning. First, he does not hassle me at all. Second, he is unbelievably nice to me. Third, he is unbelievably nice to everyone else. Fourth, he laughs at my lame joke. Fifth, he gives me lollipops, in fact, my favorite kind.

That’s it. Banks are not supposed to be nice. Banks are supposed to be hostile—everyone knows that. It symbolizes professionalism. If a bank is ultra-nice like this one, that most likely means they are either:

A. In deep financial trouble
B. Giving all my money away to other people when I least expect it, or
3. All of the above

I shudder. From now on, I will drive over to Crazy Town Bank. No one is very nice to me over there, and frankly, a little mean goes a long way.



  1. This is so true and so funny at the same time! Where do they think we get all of the I.D.'s from? I went to a bank in a not so good part of town a few days ago to cash someone's check and they had to buzz me into the bank. Did I NOT look like a bank robber...banks are getting weird.

    1. I tried to use my library card for an extra ID once and they said no........... however, the triple A card was okay???

  2. I bank at two places with WF being one. They have done some very strange things in past. That is why it isn't my first choice. I am slowly learning Spanish with all their posters. They make it tricky because the posters aren't bilingual, you have to figure out which poster goes with its matching poster, if its up there at all. They are constantly changing posters. WF, My Rosetta Stone.

  3. Our bank was also acquired by WF, but not all of our accounts were transferred there...WTF? So some are still Original Bank, and some are WF. And the passwords are different. So, Dr. MOV, I will need to borrow your PhD in order to get any money out of any account. Or you can just send me some of your 17 bucks.

    1. I don't really have a PhD or $17. I just like to give myself random titles on my blog. Titles like Queen Virgo, Countessa, Duchess, Doctor. Who knows, maybe President will be next? It stems from my kooky idea I had one day to fill out magazine subscription cards for magazine I wanted to order with made-up names so I could track exactly who generates the bushels of junk mail I receive. Here is that original blog post:

      hope it makes you laugh.

  4. No Wells Fargo here but we do have some banks that I refuse to go to mainly because they are mean and they're proud that they are mean :o(

    1. aha! maybe a balance of mean and nice would be better, how about neutrally indifferent?

  5. He hehe - I hate it when people are nice to me in that way...

    1. I know, right? it's kinda fake. It's this "forced" cheeriness, like their supervisor is watching them.....

  6. Stepford bank tellers? Creeeeeeppy!!!

    1. I know, I expect wires to spring from their backs!!!


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