Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shootout at Wells Fargo

If I had a gun and knew how to use it, and if  I wasn’t afraid of being arrested or of having to do community service by picking up trash on I-75, I would shoot out that stupid red and yellow Wells Fargo sign which is now attached to what was formerly my beautiful faux antebellum Ansley Park Wachovia branch office.

It’s not that I can’t accept change when it comes to my change. When The Big Kat and I first married and moved to good old Warner Robins, we kept what little  money we had at Citizens’ State Bank, our hometown institution. As the years went by, Citizens’ State was bought out by First Atlanta, and then First Atlanta was bought out by Wachovia, kind of like that whole little fish getting eaten by a bigger fish thing.  Survival of the fittest fish.

I was fine with all of that. I think I remember some minor annoyances with ordering new checks or a few fee anomalies, but there was nothing that made me want to throw eggs at a drive-through window or paint graffiti on a bankly exterior.

Until Wells Fargo came along.

At first I was relatively happy with this newest bank buy-out because Wells Fargo is a west coast outfit and I thought it would make banking in Portland less of a problem.

Boy was I wrong. So far, banking anywhere has been a big old  enormous problem,  and one I didn’t see coming.

It started the day I had jury duty. I woke up to a stormy morning, one that made me wonder why I ever thought I wanted to be a good American by registering to vote when I was eighteen.  In the driving rain,  I had to make my way to find the correct parking lot over by Turner Field so I could catch the shuttle to the Fulton County Courthouse. Nothing is ever easy in Atlanta.

As I was driving, I realized I didn’t have any cash and I recalled the need for vending machine money from a previous jury duty. No problem, though, because my bank was on the way. As I drove up to the ATM in the pelting rain, I noticed the Wachovia sign had been removed and a ghastly red and orange Wells Fargo one had replaced it. But I wasn’t worried because my online banking messages had promised a seamless transition and when had I ever been lied to online? I slid my Wachovia ATM card in the slot with my wet arm, only to have the machine whir and buzz and shimmy and shake and then actually look confused. It ultimately told me that it couldn’t read my card and to try again later.

Chalking it up to bad karma and worse weather, I didn’t think much more about my money as I was busy taking my life into my hands just getting to the parking lot, into the shuttle, out of the shuttle, and into the courthouse, all in the dark and the rain.  At that point, I figured I wouldn't live long enough to put money in a vending machine anyway.

But live I did.

After sitting all morning in my wet socks in the jury holding room without benefit of a Diet Coke, waiting to see if I'd be picked, they let us go to lunch.  Leaving the courthouse, I was thrilled to see the sun and I considered this to be a good bank-card omen along with the cute pizza place I found close by.  I ordered my slice and salad and handed over my card.  

Declined.  The nice lady tried again.  Declined again.  Thank goodness I had a credit card or I would've starved to death on the steps of justice and just how unjust would that have been?

I cut my lunch short and tried to find a Wachovia/Wells Fargo within walking distance, but no luck there either.  Back into the courthouse, sitting on the floor, calling multiple phone numbers and calling out multiple bank and social security numbers in the midst of God and felons and other people who, like me, were too stupid to get out of jury duty.

Guess what?  It was a screw up.  The ten people I talked to finally came to that conclusion.  However, they also came to the conclusion that they couldn't send me another ATM card for ten days.  

But life went on.  I wasn't chosen for jury duty and I got over the ATM mess and did without until, fifteen days later, my new Wachovia card came in the mail.  I was told to use that card until my Wells Fargo card arrived.  All seemed well enough.

Fast forward a couple more weeks.  There in the mail was my brand new (and quite pretty not yellow and red) Wells Fargo card with a phone number to call to activate it.  I was pretty excited, feeling that I could, finally, move on with my life.

"I'm sorry but we have no record of that card" is what the somewhat snotty person on the other end of the line told me after I'd called out the numbers on both sides three times.

Spending some time picking up trash on the highway might not be such a bad way to spend a few weekends.  I look pretty good in orange.


cile said...

How come the middle gringo in your picture looks like Ringo? I wouldn't go gunnin' with those boys unless you can compete with the fashion statements they are sportin'!

Reading your story makes me happy that I haven't "banked" at anything but a Credit Union in 12 years. I can't quite figure out why people still use banks at all. This is like the third horror story I've heard about a regular bank in as many weeks! Instead of robbing them, take your business elsewhere and buy yourself a dude ranch with the money you'll save.

Olga said...

Banks lately have really made putting your money under the mattress look like the safest and sanest thing to do.

marciamayo said...

Ringo the Gringo. Cile, I thought the same thing. I love these people and want to hire them to shoot out the sign for me.

Audrey Dianne Schmidley said...

Grrr I can identify, only for me it was a credit card. I too bank with a Credit Union. Screw the banks, I say.

Celia said...

Me too, credit union, I had my $$ with Washington Mutual, a Washington home town bank and crash gone, and then gobbled up by Chase a bank I'd had trouble with before. They used to overcharge us for escrow on our mortgage and by the time we'd got the excess back they had started in again. Move it all to a credit union. Robber barons.

I wanna know how much that belt buckle weighs on the guy in the white hat?

MaryB said...

You certainly have a horror story. I also deal with a credit union which I think is better. But
truth be known, I think you just want an excuse to deal with those three guys! Mary B

Wisewebwoman said...

I like the embroidery on the jacket....
Banks are scary scary places.
Head thee to a credit union.

Arkansas Patti said...

Yikes, that is frightening. I deal with local banks--yes we still had a few-- and when a giant swallows them, I move on. Right now I am down to my last local bank.
Lets see, do we put it under our mattress or buried in our gardens?

Friko said...

Banks, who needs them. Keep your money under the mattress, why don't you.
I hate it when they don't let me get at my own cash.

Bobby Dobbins Title said...

Marcia, your story reminds me of my ordering 3 bras from Sears and receiving 3 children's school-uniform polo shirts. It took 3 weeks and about 15 e-mails and phone calls to come to a conclusion: I was told I ordered the wrong things! :)

I Wonder Wye said...

My brother once deposited 4 or 5 paychecks using an ATM until he realized they were NOT being recorded or deposited into his account! That was a major screw-up that took a lot of time and calls...thank god he kept all the receipts...I hate snafus like this. They can really ruin a day.

Unknown said...

Well I said the same thing when I first saw the awful Wells Fargo sign on the Northside Parkway branch.

What in the world were they thinking. It is ugly,ugly, ugly.

Why don't you change to staid old Sun Trust. they haven't been bought out so far.

Chancy said...

Hi Isn't it small world. Here you found my blog by visiting Friko's in the UK.

Janet (aka Chancy)

PS have you tried Ronni Bennett's blog
Time Goes By. It is all about aging gracefully and she is an excellent writer.

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