Banks, Big Business, and Acts of Kindness

10 12 2006

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Work has been crazy here leading up to Christmas and my time off has been spent sleeping. We got a ton of snow in the past week up here (about 15″ to be exact) and yesterday and today were the first days we saw the sun all day long finally. I was able to get outside and spend some time with the dog.

On to me reason for this post. I don’t like banks. I specifically don’t like Fifth Third bank. This bank has a rather bad habit of changing policies WITHOUT letting their customers know. Here’s the story: Money is pretty tight for me right now, I’m living paycheck to paycheck but still doing OK for myself. I got in a bind at the end of November and overdrew my account. Still not the end of the world, the bank pays the check, charges me a fee which I pay and life goes on. Well, that all happened, I payed the fees and I’ve maintained a positive balance since the day after the overdraft. Well that’s not the end of it for this bank. I went to use my debit card yesterday and it was declined. DECLINED. Not only had I used my debit card the DAY BEFORE to get gas at another retailer, my bank account was IN THE BLACK! I have plenty of money in my account to cover the $14 purchase I was going to make at Michigan Traders.

I left Traders a little embarrassed and came back home. I went online and checked my account. Sure enough, I had plenty of money in my account, there is NO LOGICAL reason to be declined for a purchase. With that, I called them. After being on hold for 30 minutes listening to crappy Christmas music and some recording telling me that they would be right with me I spoke with a rep. She told me that because of the overdraft (nearly a week ago at this point in time), the bank had deactivated my debit card. New policy she told me. I asked her when she and her company had planned on informing their customers of this “new policy”. She told me she was unsure if any information had been sent to customers letting them know of this change. I was then told that in order to use my card again I needed to go into a branch office and have the card re-activated.

I’ll be going into a branch office but it won’t be to reactivate the card. It will be to withdraw all my funds and close my account. This is just one more thing Fifth Third has done to FUCK with me and my money over the past 5 years that I’ve held an account with them. They are working hard to be the ONLY BANK I DON’T NEED. Big Business blows.

Acts of Kindness: I went back to Michigan Traders after being informed that my money was no good (in credit form) and decided to use the rest of the cash I had to make my purchase. I told the owner what had happened and why my card was declined when he tried to run it and he just shook his head acknowledging subversively that he’s experienced similar mishaps. The guy in line behind me told me it was bullshit, that banks are greedy fuckers. I made my purchase and then the owner handed me a couple of dog treats that I had intended to buy the first time around with my card but now didn’t have enough cash for them. Don’t let the pooch suffer he said, they’re on the house. THIS Leelanau Business Owners is what will keep you in business. When you take the time to give a shit about your local customers, they will come back again and again. Those dog biscuits likely cost him about $0.15 to make and sell but it wasn’t about the $0.30 he lost by giving 2 of them away, it’s about taking the time to listen to your customer and showing concern even when you really could give a rat’s ass about what the customer is saying. He didn’t have to offer me those dog treats but he did and I viewed his compassion as something rare in this county and something to be appreciated.

I am consistently treated well and with respect when I shop at Michigan Traders and I will continue to support their business venture out here in the middle of nowhere. Fifth Third on the other hand will be getting no more of my money and they will be getting a bitchy letter to the head of customer relations. Fuck em.

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