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.”

I smiled at her, took the check and my ID back and handed back her flyer and business card and left, expecting to hear that robot lady telling me, “Please walk the line, Nick, in an orderly fashion.

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30 Comments on And You Want To Earn My Business?

  1. Chris says:

    Highway robbery! That’s how those CEO’s get their multimillion dollar bonuses

  2. Jim Mayleben says:

    You should have told her that you were a shareholder since we bailed them out of the mess they made in 2008

  3. Kayjulia says:

    Round and round we go I get on my high horse with them from time to time and I’m a customer have been for twenty years! Who ever is running the banks just doesn’t get it! I think they think we are stupid! Well, I’m not and I’ll let ’em know it in hurry! So far I get my way about 50% of the time but if I knew of a way that was more convenient than a commercial bank I’d use it. Credit Unions are too limited for me to use on a regular basis.

  4. DAVID BURKE says:

    You’re a man after my own heart, Nick. I’ve had similar experiences at other banks — can’t figure out why the logic behind my reactions mystify the tellers and bank officers.

    I DID sign up for an account at one bank after they made an offer I couldn’t refuse ($125 if I deposited $1,000 for six months — that’s a 25% (by my calculations) APR, pretty hard to turn down. I closed the account after the six months and laughed all the way HOME from the bank!


  5. Jon Ensminger says:

    We use our small home town bank and any check we get we send it to them. As for walking around cash we use the 1st mational bank of Wal-mart.

  6. Bob Martel says:

    Nick, We do our bank at Schwab Bank (part of Charles Schwab.) We can deposit any check into our account by taking a picture of it with our smart phone using an app (iPhone or Android) and then it gets deposited. We can use the ATM card they gave us at any ATM in the world without any fee whatsoever. With your Wells Fargo check, you could have deposited it into your account from the comfort of your motorhome and then walked up to any ATM and gotten your cash for free.

  7. Francis Callahan says:

    Wells Fargo out here in the west has a very poor rep they are the worst people to try to buy a house through the management are a very ignorant bunch of people Have a safe trip west

  8. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Old Bad Nick,

    What do you expect when the bank is owned by the Chinese-Mafiosa??

  9. Dave says:

    Closed my Wells Fargo accounts a couple of years ago and never will
    go near a big bank again. They weren’t too big to fail.

  10. Trisha says:

    I think I would have opened the account, taken the $50, then closed the account.

  11. don gaskin says:

    bank of america does the same thing and they are obnoxious!

  12. Terry M says:

    We have been a customer of Wells Fargo since they took over Wacko Bank (Wakovia). As far as any big banks are concerned, they are average to a little better than average. We have been in branches all over the country and have not had any problems. However, we are an account holder. As stated above, I would not use them for loans- there are other sources for better loan deals.

    A year and a half ago, some turd in a shipping business in Buena Vista, CO stold our debit card info and sent $1200 to Kuwait. Wells Fargo promptly replaced the money. After which we went to a branch office in Golden, CO and setup some new safeguards to minimize any future problems. They were very helpful. Their on-line banking works well also.

    In the past we had a much more difficult time with Bank of America. We will do no business with them. However, I’m sure they have many satisfied customers who will vouch for them.

    Six of one, half dozen of another.

  13. Doug Simpson says:

    I had an identical situation with Bank of America. I know how you feel, Nick.

  14. Kayjulia says Credit Unions are too limited to use. Sorry, that just ain’t true. We have been credit union members since well before we were married 53 years ago. Get car loans regularly, always treated like family. Most credit unions (at least the ones we have belonged to) have shared branching connections with most other credit unions. You just walk in, tell them you want to do a shared branch transaction, tell them where your account is, and there you are, just as if your were in your own branch.

  15. Rosalind Clifton says:

    I have been a customer of Wells Fargo in California since around 1989. I have had mixed experience with them. At a time when I maintained small balances and a modest IRA with them I was treated with minimal courtesy and even a bit of contempt by one or two employees.

    A few years ago when I inherited some money I parked it temporarily in my WF account. I immediately received a phone call about the larger than usual deposit and offering services to me. When I went into the bank to do business and they saw the balance suddenly I was treated like royalty. When I moved the inherited money from WF I was contacted and asked why. I told them that because of the treatment I had received in recent years even though I had been a long term customer and basically was not a difficult customer I preferred to do business with someone who treated me with courtesy when I opened an account with $500.

    The one good thing I will say is that they seem to monitor my WF Mastercard pretty well and notify me when anything suspicious appears. They quickly removed charges from my card when it was stolen and used and also when a large online charge appeared that was not mine.

  16. Elaine Loscher says:

    Wells Fargo is the last bank on earth we would ever do business with again. After having an account for over 15 yrs for some reason they started bouncing our checks, on payday non the less, long story short, some idiot was encoding our checks with some other number causing all our checks to bounce. Once they caught the error it was like it was our fault. Being in the military at the time, Mike was brought before the commander and reprimanded for it. We demanded that they write letters to all our creditors stating they were to blame and to remove all bounced check charges. They after a long argument agreed to do it. They we upset when all was straightened out we closed our account Even though we were with Interstate Bank for several years they were taken over by Wells Fargo, we also closed that account. To me any one with any sense would not do business with this bank ever.

  17. Croft says:

    Wells Fargo also has one of the highest ATM fees for non customers. We were nailed $5 in Arizona for a withdrawal. Here in Mexico, rates are set by the government at 23 pesos or about $1.90. Much more civilized.

  18. JC says:

    Jerry and Suzy are correct. I have not had an account in a bank since 1979. A good credit union provides share drafts (some say checks), debit cards, credit cards and shared branching and all the other financial services, all with no fees. I worry about people with bank accounts.


  19. Merle Young says:

    We use Credit Unions all the time and have for over 20 years, business and personal.
    Go to http://www.cuservicecenter.com and you will find over 5033 offices you can use, generally one close to you or on your way. Only problem is business checks have to be mailed to your CU for deposit. For personal use all you need is photo ID and your account number to get cash. Very friendly people, none of the big bank snobs and BS.

  20. JO Wilson says:

    Drove up to a drive in window of Wakovia just prior to the WF takeover. Asked to get a $50.00 changed into 2-twenties and a 10–LOL not a customer? go in side bank to do it–So went inside and told same thing, not a customer? Sorry. Drove 10 miles to a CU and no problem..Love my CU.

  21. Mark says:

    Maybe this is part of the overall plan. A National Banking System that controls all funds and assets as efficiently as all of the other fed agencies do.
    It’s what they want in our government. If they could do it they would in a nanosecond .
    I like “jars in the yard” myself but you can’t exist today withought electronic banking.

  22. Linda in NE says:

    What idiots. You can deposit that check into your regular account for free. Get some cash from the ATM and it’ll either cost less or be free. Duh.

  23. Bill Daines says:

    I know how you feel Nick.
    A few years ago my small local Credit Union in Kalamazoo Mi.merged with a larger Credit Union out of Grand Rapids, Mi.
    I was volunteering at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The new Credit Union mailed a new debit card to my home address and cancelled my old one. I didn’t know the new one was now issued and attempted to use my old one. Rejected!! No one would take an out of town check and I had no cash! Since I was volunteering with the NPS, I asked if I could cash a check with them. Nope!
    I was driving to Marquette Mi. I stopped at a Credit Union there. I asked if I could cash a check, Do you have an account with us, no I’m sorry I don’t. Well they wouldn’t cash my check. They did offer to call my Credit union so I could find a solution to my problem.
    I spoke to a nice rep. explained I’d not been home in a month and now have no cash and a cancelled debit card. The nice lady told me it was my fault, yes my fault and that I knew the change was coming, da da da.
    Well, I phoned my son, had him open the envelope to see if in fact a new debit had arrived. He over nighted it to me at the Post Office at Grand Marais, Mi. Wow what an experience too!

  24. Jodie S. says:

    I just returned from an event at YMCA camp near Oracle, AZ. The facilities were spartan. We brought our own bedding and towels and took turns setting the tables and cleaning them off after meals, for example. But the staff was so kind and welcoming–they made us feel like family. They smiled just because we were there. They were happy to fulfill every request and looked for ways to make our experience even better.

    Needless to say, all of us who attended can hardly wait to get back there. Our event will be held there for another year. Customer service makes all the difference.

  25. Jodie S. says:

    I forgot to mention in my post above that this group could have afforded for a more expensive facility. They have been meeting at this Y for several years and have already reserved their dates for next year.

  26. George Stoltz says:


    These money grabbing policies are thought up by overpaid and out-of-touch-with reality MBAs. IMHO.

  27. J Corey says:

    Similar situation for me. I was a long time WFB customer. I had just sold a piece of property, so had a chunk of money in my account. Went in to get a cashiers check for an online purchase I made (maybe $50 or so). I was told there would be a fee for the check. I advised the teller that he might check my balance. He did, but said it wasn’t in a premier account, just a regular account. I asked him if he was SURE he didn’t want to waive the fee. Said he couldn’t. I left, and immediately went to Union Bank, who had been hustling my business for month. Can’t figure why WFB spends all the money on advertising, and won’t waive a piddling fee. (and I’m still with Union bank after more than 10 years, and still pleased).

  28. Paul Dahl says:

    When I owned my house my mortgage was bought out by Wells Fargo. I had an automatic withdrawal from my checking account for mortgage payments.

    I sold my house, the balance of the mortgage was paid to WF and I received the paid in full notice from them. Then they continued to take my mortgage payment out of my checking account for three months after that, repeated calls to stop it went unheaded. Took a couple of more months to get my money back, with no interest paid.

  29. Kermit says:

    I am an ex-customer at Wells Fargo for the same crap you describe in this blog! I did not choose them — they inherritated me when they bou’t out Wachovia! I do not fit their mold!

  30. Susie C. says:

    Like you, I was paid with a check drawn on a Wells Fargo account, so that’s where I went. AFTER getting all my information, signature, thumbprint on the check, etc., the clerk told me there would be a fee.

    Basically, banks are criminal organizations with advertising budgets and friends in high places.

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