I emerged from the depths of post production early enough that it was still daylight. This was a pleasant surprise and even though I was suffering from a monstrous gut-ache I still briefly toyed with the idea that I might get home early enough to go for a run. Considering that it was just the start of rush hour, the idea quickly got dismissed, but I sorted through the list of other things that I needed to do and realized that I would be walking right past a bank on my way to the parking structure and I had a check that I needed to deposit. It was just far enough out of my way that I considered blowing it off for another day- my stomach hurt badly enough that I just wanted to get to the van and get home as quickly as possible, but I didn’t know when else I would get to go to a bank and I was going to be going right past it.

Surely, I thought, I could make the effort.

I planned only to use the ATM. It was a simple transaction, no need to stand in line. The first ATM that I tried was not accepting deposits at this time and did I want to continue? No, I did not. The second ATM sucked in my check and thought about what to do with it for five minutes before spitting it out and telling me to feed it in the correct way, as shown, ifyouplease. I’d done it right the first time, but I re inserted the check a second time. Another agonizing five minutes as the machine chewed it over and an alien baby tried to work it’s way through my abdominal wall.

At last the ATM told me it had an error and that I should call a service number. It failed to give me back my check. It failed to tell me whether the check was deposited.

With immense annoyance I went inside the branch to speak to a teller. There was only one. All the other teller windows were walled off in favor of more automated teller machines. This has become a bit of a thing lately, that I don’t understand: why put ATMs inside at the counter? There are ATMs in the lobby- if someone wanted to deal with a machine they would have just gone to the ATM by the door. Instead, now everybody has to wait in an interminable line to wait for the one overworked teller to handle every other transaction that the ATM can’t handle in the first place. This wait took nearly fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes of fighting to stay upright while your stomach tries to punch it’s way out of your navel is a very long time indeed. By the time I made it to the window I was breathing mostly in exhales.

I tried to explain that the ATM had taken in my check and I just wanted to make sure the deposit had gone through. The teller tapped away perfunctorily for a moment and then shrugged and said that there wasn’t anything he could do and I would have to call the number on the receipt.

I wanted to scream. If I’d wanted to do my banking over the phone I wouldn’t have bothered to come into the fucking branch with it’s fucking automated tellers which, if they worked in the first place then I wouldn’t need to be in there anyway.

I forced myself to be calm. I began walking to the parking structure again. By now it was dark and fully into rush hour and I’ve could barely stand upright.  I called the fucking number. Welcome to bank by phone, did I have an account? I did not. Did I want to set one up? I did not. If so, press 6# to speak to a representative. I didn’t want a fucking bank by phone account I just wanted to deposit my goddamn check and curl up in the fetal position on a horizontal surface.

The automated menus asked for my account information and let me enter it in over the key pad, but when I finally got a real person she wanted my debit card number and wanted me to recite it out loud. I told her I didn’t have it. That was ok, I could just give her my social security number. I looked around: I was walking along a sidewalk in south central- I didn’t even want to be o.k. the phone, much less announcing personal identity numbers at full voice. I told her this. Well, then I was going to have to call back.

I gave up.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 18, 2015.

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