I dropped by the Bank of America in Palo Alto this morning to cash my paycheck. It was my first check of the new job, and I didn't have direct deposit set up. Since my credit union is on the other side of the valley, I hadn't made it over there yet. Since my company banks with B of A, I walked in with two forms of ID and asked for my money.
"There will be a five dollar charge for that," said the teller, one of those snotty nosed ones with her bangs pulled back and long straight hair on both sides. Get a hairstyle, would you?
"My company banks here," I pointed out, laying an index finger on the bank's logo on my paycheck.
"Yes, I know," the teller said, "but you don't so we charge a five dollar fee."
Huh? I've never heard of this. I mean, I know people complain about bank fees, but I had no idea this was one of them. There's a commerical where the teller charges a fee to talk to him, then another for a borrowed pen, another when the customer raises her voice. Since I've always banked with credit unions or friendly banks, I had not had this experience. I paid the fee. I hesitantly asked for an envelope for my Andrew Jacksons, fearful she might ask for a buck. She didn't, and I got the envelope and left.
Next stop, Wells Fargo Bank. Granger opened a savings account at the branch near where his dad left. He'd asked me to dig around in his sock drawer and find two checks he'd earned while testing video games for Bay Area companies. He wanted me to deposit them. I found the checks, but couldn't find my cell phone to retrieve his account number.
"May I help you," the teller said with a smile.
"I hope so," I said, explaining the situation: Could she please look up my son's account number by his name?
She laid a finger aside her nose (really!) and thought, then punched a few keys. Less than a minute later she had it and filled out a deposit slip for me. She stamped the back of the checks because they weren't endorsed, and cashed one of them because it was drawn on Wells Fargo, then deposited the cash so he'd have access to it right away. (I hadn't even asked for this.) I added a little allowance to the total.
"Thank you," I said. "You're very welcome," she replied. "Any time!"
That made me stop. I backpedaled a little and told her the deal: "I've just had a very bad experience at Bank of America down the street. I don't think I would ever bank with them. But this experience at Wells Fargo has been great. Thank you for all your help." She beamed, I beamed and we both told each other to have a nice day.