When I moved to Texas, I had an account with Regions bank. The Tennessee location that I used was great. Friendly people, great service, quick drive thru. The Texas location, not so much. I don't know what these people were up to, but in the 10 minutes that it took for them to process my weekly deposits, they conveyed their intentions probably 4-5 times.
We're working on that transaction, Ms. Munroe.
We'll get this right out to you, Ms. Munroe.
We just need one more minute and we'll wrap this up, Ms. Munroe.
Is there anything else we can do for you, Ms. Munroe?
Um, yes, actually, there is. You can stop talking to me about depositing my money, and you can just deposit it. That would be great, thanks.
So I switched banks. Onto Wachovia, maybe the best bank ever. They had a great savings account that automatically moved money into my savings account every time I used my debit card. Free overdraft protection was available with the savings account. No weird extra charges. Their drive thru lines were quick and efficient. Plus, my paychecks were drawn on Wachovia so no wait time for the checks to clear. Just instant access.
And then, the unthinkable happened. Wachovia was purchased by the evil Wells Fargo. I was hopeful at first. Nonchalant, even, about the change. But then I started noticing little charges. Ten dollar fees if I ever ran low on my checking account and they took funds from my savings. Twelve dollar charges if I withdrew from my savings account more often than they thought I should. But the biggest change was in the drive thru.
I imagine that Wells Fargo sent out memos when the switch was made. New policies, new procedures. And I believe that these instructions (or something very similar) were included.
- Charge for everything. Everything the customer does should cost them money. Checking account? Yep, it costs. Savings account? That'll cost, too. Lollipops? I can't believe we've been giving those away for years. Those should cost, too.
- Stock up on magazines and snacks. You will be needing to keep yourself occupied during the busiest time of day. Read at least one article and consume at least one snack or drink between each step of each transaction with each customer.
- Always pretend like you don't know what the customer wants you to do. Act very confused. Did they include a signed check and a completed deposit slip? It might LOOK like they want to make a deposit, but you can't be too careful. Did the customer include a signed check and two forms of ID and no deposit slip? Don't assume they want the check cashed, even though they come by every single week and want the same thing. Always ask, just to be sure. That'll drive 'em nuts.
But... sometimes I need to cash my paycheck. So about three months ago, I went to the cursed Wells Fargo to cash my check. And guess what? It costs $10 to do that if you do not have an account. Seriously? I was not happy. So, I chose what I considered to be the lesser evil, and I opened up another checking account with them so I could cash my paycheck for free if ever I needed to. Once I was inside the branch, they explained that free checking required a savings account, complete with scheduled transfer, for it to be free. Of course it does. So I reluctantly opened two accounts with the bank that I hate, arranged the necessary $25 monthly transfer from checking to savings, and I cashed my paycheck. For free.
I have only cashed my check three times since then. Three times. And each time, I have sent my checks and necessary identification and no deposit slip. Each time they have acted like they weren't sure what to do with it. Way to follow procedure, guys. And I time them. I don't know why, because I am always frustrated with the results. It never takes less than 8 minutes. Never. I think they see me coming, and they grab a copy of US Weekly and a candy bar and prop their feet up for a quick break. Every time.
Yesterday Jake and I went by to cash my check. He pushed the "Call Teller" button for me, and then I decided that I didn't have a question after all. But never fear, the teller never acknowledged our presence anyway. I sent in my checks, the teller asked the same "What the heck am I supposed to do with this?" question that she always asks. And I answered. Then she insisted that she needed my Wells Fargo card as a second form of ID instead of a different kind of debit card. Yes, fine, thank you for making this transaction longer and more difficult than it has to be. And then how do I want my bills. And then we will get this transaction taken care of and get this receipt out to you. And somewhere along the way, I am sure she browsed bikini pictures of Hollywood's skinniest celebrities on TMZ.com and ate a Butterfinger. And then finally, we were done. Most stressful part of my day over with.
One day things could be different. Maybe Wells Fargo will be purchased by a nice bank, and they will stop charging stupid fees and they will provide real, actual service to people. But until that day comes, let me be clear. I hate you, Wells Fargo. I really, really do.