Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When did bankers become used car salesmen?

Remember the good ol' days when banks looked like this?They looked like castles or fortresses. Because that's what they were. These were serious places where serious men in serious suits sitting behind enormous desks in offices with beveled glass telling people "no!" all day long. Sure, the tellers were nice ladies who handed out lollipops to children but they did so from behind high marble counters with iron bars. Often there was an armed guard standing around the lobby, just in case you forgot you were in a no-nonsense place of business.
Now this what banks look like: That looks like any house you might find on Fair Oaks Circle Court or any other cul-de-sac in any subdivision. This is a place where Chad or Tracy sit with you on a couch and talk about your hopes and dreams over a nice espresso.
Maybe other people care for that kind of fondling, but I don't. So when I went to my bank the other day to get a new debit card, I was not prepared for a sales pitch about all kinds of programs, complete with colorful, laminated placards.
"I gotta stop you right here, Chad...is it Chad?"
"My name is Mark."
"Okay Chad, listen. The minute they told me I had to sign a book and sit on a couch until you came over and got me, I was already investing more time in this than I wanted to."
"I understand completely, and this won't take long at all..."
"No, see, you don't understand. I don't want to be here right now. No offense, I didn't come here to make new friends or have an espresso..."
"We don't have espresso."
"I'm a very low key, no-frills guy. I just need a regular old bank account and a means to access the money I put into it. That's all."
"Mr. Brooks, we have some new programs that I think you'd find..."
"This is a bank. I don't want programs with an s on the end. I want a program. One single program. And the way that program works is I bring you money to hold on to so when I go to a store and say 'I want this', they say 'that will be $25 please' and I tell them, 'okay, go see Chad and he'll give you the money.'"
"It's Mark, Mr. Brooks. My name is Mark."
"And in fact, I don't even need you or any of the other employees to get involved. I would like as much interaction between me and your bank to occur with the various robots you have around town."
"Automatic tellers. We have a number of them available. Here's a map..."
"And that's kind of what I already have. I'm pretty happy with that. I just need a new card because this one is old and sometimes I have to swipe it three or four times before the robot responds."
"It sounds like you want a standard personal checking account with overdraft protection. And that is all detailed on this piece right here..."
"Don't even bring it out because if that thing depicts anything more complex than me sliding you this card and you sliding me a new one, it is not at all something I want to see."
"Well, it's just that I want you to understand all the options available..."
"Please, Chad..."
"...I completely understand as much as I intend to. And I think you get that. So can we just skip to the part where I sign or whatever and we can both go about our business?"
"Fine. Just initial here, here and here and sign the bottom. You'll get a new card in the mail in about three weeks."
"Thank you!"
"Just give me a call when you get it and we'll make an appointment to go over all the features before it's activated!"

1 comment:

Marissa said...

Bah! I just had a conversation about this "getting to know you" BS that goes on in our place of business. People, on the average, don't want to learn about your grandma's colitis or bond with the person who will ultimately take your money. When I require service I ask for it. No connection needs to be made. "I want X product. Thanks. Bye" That's all the contact I need. Their shmarminess needn't be wasted on me. Everybody has a sales pitch. Sneaky bastards, they are.