Today I went to my local bank office to get a roll of quarters to do laundry. I am lucky in the sense that my local bank branch is literally right around the corner from me. I am unlucky in the sense that said bank is Citibank, one of the huge, soulless, empty banking corporations in this great land of ours who suck all the energy out of having to deal with a bank and have taken us all for a ride, especially if you have a mortgage (which I don't).
When I first moved to San Diego, lo these many years ago (coming up on 14), I signed on with CalFed, a nice little bank that was in the same location. CalFed got bought out by Citibank soon after, as they made their way westward in the early part of the new millennium, and I suddenly had a big brother type bank watching over my money. I knew I was in trouble early on when they went into my account and took out a payment for the overdraft/line of credit I had on my debit card. Because I was "late." Because I hadn't paid TEN DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE DUE DATE, which, evidently, was the REAL due date. Not that anyone bothered to tell me this.
That's water under the bridge, though (clearly not, if I feel compelled to reminisce about it and type it in ALL CAPS). I put up with Citibank partly because I'm too lazy to change banks, partly because that damn line of credit never gets paid off. But today pretty much convinced me it's time to bite the bullet, make the payment, and move on, especially after this exchange:
ME: (Handing the teller $10.00) I'd like a roll of quarters and a couple of check registers, please.
TELLER: A couple of what?
ME: Check registers...you know, the little booklets you record your banking stuff in to balance your account?
TELLER: Oh, we don't have those.
ME: Okay...I've gotten them here before.
TELLER: No, not at this branch. We don't carry them at this branch.
ME: Well, I've always gotten them here...
TELLER: How recently?
ME: In the past six months or so...
TELLER: Well, I've never seen them here. Hey (name of woman behind desk), do we have any check registers?
WOMAN: No, I don't think we have them anymore (she moves over behind the counter with the teller, he heads to the cabinet behind him).
ME: (Pointing out the island of drawers between the teller windows and the back wall). They've always been in there.
WOMAN: Are you sure you've gotten them here?
ME: Yes. I've been banking here for almost 15 years and I've always been able to get them here.
WOMAN: (Opening up the first drawer she unlocked) Oh. Here they are. (There is a big stack of them.)
ME: Can I have a couple, please. (They give me three, like some kind of bonus prize.) Thank you.
Lesson learned? Don't go into a bank on Saturday, because no one working there wants to be there.
Lesson REALLY learned? It's time to change banks. SOON.