Thoughts From an Old Timey Bank Line-up

bitcoins and u s dollar bills

If I were asked to conduct a survey, I’d just go to my local bank branch on a Tuesday morning

I’ll explain why I’m in line at the bank once in a while. It’s definitely not my choice.

The people in the queue represented a cross section of society. My survey would yield every possible answer on any subject. There’s the old man who looks like he doesn’t know why he’s there. (I assume looks are deceiving.) The young mom pushing her baby in a stroller. The young bearded guy in a Canadian tuxedo (denim jacket, flannel shirt and jeans) who appears to be handling money for the first time. The older woman who starts to lose her cool when the teller can’t say for sure how another bank works. The teller points to the sign that says zero tolerance for raised voices and disrespect. The woman simmers down.

People-watching is the only thing that makes lining up bearable. I use the bank’s app for most transactions. I do the rest of my banking online and I use Paypal and Stripe. But I have a couple of American clients who pay me by cheque and so, inside I must go. I’m happy to get paid! I would rather upload the cheque and have them hold it for ten days than go through this dumb process. But they won’t take US currency online so what can you do?

You Can Watch People

The 40-something business man who’s intent on everyone knowing he’s successful. When one loud phone call ends he just can’t wait to get into another one. Silence is unbearable to him. The older woman eyeing my faux fur parka trim with suspicion. She wants me to know she disapproves if it’s real fur but she isn’t enough of a busybody to ask. I smile at her. She smiles back. I’m pretty sure I broke her trance.

And who do they see when they see me? I put effort into not seeming impatient. I look at my phone or just stand there gazing off into the middle distance. When the line moves, I move, but not too quickly. No one likes sudden movement in a bank.

Banking Thoughts

I was lined up another time when a murmur in the line grew into audible complaints. One of the tellers was showing a very elderly man how to use his new debit card. What if he was your relative, I thought. Good on him for wanting to learn and good on her for teaching him well. Then again, I realize that when I’m in line, I’m also in the company of my boss. Being self-employed allows me to relax a little more.

My bank – TD – is known for its hard-ass tactics. I have a business account and I’m not allowed to tap with my debit card. I realize it’s for my own protection but young folk just assume I don’t know about tapping. So far, I’ve managed to accept an unsolicited tutorial a handful of times without losing patience. They’re just trying to help. And the young can be stupid. I know. I was young once. Stupid, too,

Sometimes I think I should just keep my money in a mattress. I’d only need a crib!

TD recently reported earnings of $2.28B. I believe half of that comes from my chequing account fees. But as Kramer liked to say on Seinfeld. “It’s a write-off! You just – write it off!”

6 thoughts on “Thoughts From an Old Timey Bank Line-up”

  1. I think banks should accommodate their clients differently in this day and age of technology. The number of people actually going in has significantly dropped compared to the “old days” when they had line-ups out the door. Why not make it more comfortable for them? Instead of roped off makeshift aisles, why don’t they put chairs in place (like at a doctor’s office.) It’s mostly seniors actually going in, so let them have a seat and take a number. With the money these institutions make, they could install thrones and hand out free cookies for their customers…really make them feel appreciated for their business! Besides, like Kramer said, “it’s a write-off!”
    Great read today, Lisa…thank you.

    1. That’s a great point, Claire. I did notice – because I was there long enough to notice – that they had a tiny coffeemaker and little cookies. But once you’re roped in, you don’t dare scoot out for a cookie! Also, the older people having to stand so long – it would be smart to let them sit. I asked a manager who was walking by whether there were plans to let us deposit US cheques via the app and she said “Never!”

  2. Never say never especially when it comes to technology. Online banking, mobile banking and E-statements were all never going to happen but they did.
    Frontline managers are the wrong people to be asking for their not in the loop when it comes to head office decisions. With the TDBFG ever increasing expansion into the US market and cross boarder business by individuals such as yourself it will happen. You’d likely have to have a US denominated account but that’s simply a matter of filling out the right paper work.
    I previously worked in the banking sector, never was not today but we’ll consider it next week.

    1. They have suggested that I get a US account. Derek has one. But you still can’t deposit online with hit. I understand it, with fluctuating rates, etc. But it’s still annoying!

  3. I get glares all around when I don’t tap. If anyone asks, I say, “They won’t let me tap. It’s against the conditions of my parole.” That gets them to back off.

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