Have you seen the commercials for TD Bank where a customer goes into a bank and is faced with a maze to get to the counter, and since nobody else is there he tries to take a shortcut, only to be told “Please walk the line, Stanley, in an orderly fashion,” by a robotic female voice? I kind of know how Stanley feels.
Every so often I get small royalty checks from different vendors and websites that sell my books. It’s never a lot of money, but these days a buck’s a buck, right? The other day I received such a check for $104 from somebody in California. It was drawn on Wells Fargo Bank.
Usually I just deposit the checks into our account, but since there is a Wells Fargo right here in Wildwood and I needed some walking around money, I stopped in Thursday afternoon to cash it. Unfortunately, we arrived at the bank a few minutes after 4 p.m. when the lobby closed, but the drive through was still open. I pulled up to the window, where the nice lady there welcomed me and thanked me for choosing Wells Fargo. I gave her my driver’s license and the check and she asked if I was a Wells Fargo customer. When I said no, she said, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to come back when the lobby is open. The drive through is for account holders only.” I wanted to tell her that one of their customers wrote me the check, but what can you do right?
So yesterday morning I went back to the bank, went into the lobby and a very friendly young teller welcomed me. I gave her the check, told her I was at the drive through the day before and was told I needed to come inside because I wasn’t an account holder. She said, “Oh, that is such a pain. I’m really sorry for your inconvenience.” She asked for my driver’s license, commented on it being from South Dakota, and I told her we are RVers staying at a campground in town.
“Oh, we love our snowbirds,” she told me and then said, “You know, we have branches all over the country. You should open an account with us.” Then she proceeded to extoll the benefits of Wells Fargo banking. She even told me that if I opened an account and deposited $50 in checking and another $50 in savings, they would reward me with $50. I told her that sounded like a good deal, and I’d mention it to my wife. She handed me a flyer about the special promotion and her business card and assured me it was a fantastic deal and that they really wanted me as a customer, then asked, “How can I earn your business today?”
I assured her I’d mention it to my wife, and she made me promise to ask for her when we returned. Hey, maybe we should open an account. She certainly was a good ambassador for her bank. Then she informed me that there would be a $7.50 fee for cashing the check since I wasn’t a Wells Fargo account holder.
“Let me get this straight,” I asked her, “You want to earn my business, but you want to charge me $7.50 to cash a check drawn on your bank by one of your account holders?” “Yes, because you’re not a customer,” she told me. “But if you let me earn your business and open an account today, there won’t be any fee.”