One day, in early January when cars were still sliding off the road because of the near zero degree temperatures, I opened my bank statement and was once again thoroughly displeased with my bank. I had broken yet another rule and it was going to cost me. I am not against breaking rules, on the contrary, when I know about certain rules I make a point of breaking them. I climbed onto my high school’s roof and played violin just minutes after the final bell of the school year rang so I could ask the principle, “What are you going to do? Suspend me?” I do prefer to know about the rule before I break it. I also prefer not to get caught breaking rules when it will cost me money. Getting caught speeding or anything else that will get me a ticket is entirely out of the question. I only break rules that will get me in trouble not cost me money. That money belongs to me and while I have never been very responsible with it I am not going to just give it away to satisfy my own need to rebel against the system.
I strolled into the local branch of my bank in the same manner that I believe I always stroll but it might have been a good deal more forceful because I was already irritated. “Hello, I’d like to close my account,” I announced to the teller. This was not the first time I had tried to close my account but while I rarely shrink away from an argument I do not care for a time consuming one. I had decided that I wanted to quit the bank and that was all that was to, I just had to convince the bank it was in their best interest as well.
“All right,” the teller gestured toward one of the empty desks in the lobby. “You will have to talk to one of our personal bankers. Just have a seat and they will fetch you.” Fetch me? Is the personal banker a Golden Retriever? I found the idea of a golden retriever as a personal banker both amusing and insulting. How could a dog be better at math than I am? I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that it was very possible for a dog to be better at math than I am. I took a seat.
The bank teller was not a Golden Retriever. I was very disappointed. A dog would have been much nicer to deal with.
“How can I help you?”
“I would like to close my account.”
She looked shocked, as if it was entirely unbelievable that someone could possibly be unhappy with the soulless conglomerate she worked for. “Have you thought this through,” she asked, “how will you cash checks?” I considered telling her that no one gives me checks anymore just cash, which I spend with unbridled speed.
“I already have another savings account that I can use for that.”
She made a sound that sounded a little like “fine” and started typing on her computer. Next she asked several personal and penetrating questions like what my account number was and my reason for leaving the bank. In this world everyone has to have a reason for everything whether it is not wanting a certain kind of meat with their meal or leaving a bank you have to have a reason.
“Because…” I started then stopped realizing that the answer I think you are a soul sucking organization and I don’t care for your rules would be the kind of answer they wanted. “Because….” There was no suitable answer that would not hurt the banks feelings; at least there was no answer that I could think of. “I WANT TO QUIT THE BANK!” The Golden Retriever looked like she had eaten a pie that was filled with salt instead of sugar. She typed something onto her computer.
I assume that she would have continued questioning me until I gave up trying to close my account. I knew that from experience. Fortunately I had planned for this eventuality. The personal banker looked at the screen. Her eyes widened but they did not get nearly as wide as saucers, like people enjoy saying. “Okay, we’ll close your account for you.” She forced a smile.
“If you don’t mind, what is my ending balance?” I knew it was low. It was low on purpose. I had actually brought several dollars with me in case I had overdrawn.
“Three cents.” She stood up and left to fetch my three pennies.