Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on November 10th, 2009, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 10, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 10, Issue 35

Fee fi fo fum

A giant bank takes Rob's money


I make just enough money to have about three cents left in my account on the last day of the month. My bank balance is a delicate thing that has to be handled with absolute care and precision. Even a minuscule error can be disastrous—not only disastrous to my finances, but, more importantly, disastrous to my marriage. Everybody knows that when the bank calls, the blame game begins.

Let the record show that my wife, whom I love, totally finds me at fault for last month’s snafu with the checking account. Apparently, I don’t know how to add or subtract whole numbers. I blame my high school math teacher, who, coincidentally, was also my high school football coach. Coach was a great guy and he taught me how to successfully tackle, but he never really got around to teaching me any math. These days I don’t have much reason to knock someone into the dirt, but oftentimes I need the skills to tackle addition and subtraction.

Regardless of my inability to keep an ongoing bank balance in my head as I use my debit card, this is how “the incident” with the bank account all went down. It was an unassuming Saturday night on the last day of the month. My payroll check was scheduled to be directly deposited on said last day of the month. Since I “knew” we had some cash, I decided to take the kids out to a local car show. We’d let Mom have an evening at home alone, and we could go drool all over cool cars.

It didn’t take long for the kids to get bored of staring at automobiles while Dad chatted endlessly with strangers about cubic inches and superchargers. To keep the kids happy, I bought them each a $3 pretzel on my debit card. After a few hours, the pretzel power wore off, so I used my debit card to get the kids some candy so they would patiently finish out the show. The candy cost me a whopping $2, and the kids were back on board. The hard part was making sure the kids kept their pretzel grease or chocolate-covered fingers off of all the show cars.

As we were walking around the show, we came across a vendor selling something I just had to have. It was a computer mouse shaped like a Camaro. It was made by a company called Road Mice, and the headlights came on when you pushed the buttons. I absolutely had to have it: $40, and yup, right on the debit card. So I spent $48 that night on three separate charges. I knew I would probably take some grief from my wife for spending a few dollars on what she would say was a “stupid car mouse,” but I had no idea what kind of storm the little car was about to cause.

On Monday, my wife was looking at our account online and saw that my check had been deposited during the weekend, but the bank didn’t actually post it until Monday morning. According to the bank, when I used my card on Saturday night, the funds weren’t available. However, they covered the charges anyway. They charged me for three separate insufficient funds fees at $35 each. I used my card three times, totaling $105 in fees for two pretzels, some candy, and the “stupid car mouse,” which will now forever be known as the “$150 stupid $%*#ing car mouse.”

The bank was making me look very bad. My wife was furious. Things were not good at my house, as you could imagine. I was about to have the “$150 stupid $%*#ing car mouse” shoved in a very uncomfortable place (which made me suddenly wish I’d bought the smaller Mini Cooper mouse instead).

WARNING: This is going to sound like the rant of someone who has listened to way too much a.m. radio lately, hence the apology in advance. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to water this down. I’m furious with my bank, Bank of America, a sad name for a bank that is basically screwing me (an American) on a monthly basis. This bank, which got a century’s worth of bailout money from the federal government (my tax dollars), is using every single possible opportunity to absolutely gouge me. They have raised my credit card interest to unthinkable rates (29 percent) on cards that never had a single late payment. They charge upwards of $8 for using an ATM that doesn’t have a BofA sticker on the side of the machine (even though the bank, through recent mergers, actually owns the machine). And for using my debit card on Saturday night, a few minutes before my payroll check went in, when I bought a couple of pretzels for my kids, some candy, and the stupid car-shaped computer mouse, I was charged three separate insufficient funds charges totaling $105.

The bank made $105 on me within a few minutes. They didn’t have to design a product, buy resources, build the item, package it, ship it, advertise for it, or sell it. They didn’t have to produce anything. By using a computer, playing with a few numbers and the clock, they earned $105 off me for absolutely nothing, and they had the pleasure and convenience of automatically deducting it from my account. Gee, thank you Bank of America—when can we do that again? The mafia is more compassionate.

My wife spent two hours on the phone with customer service talking to supervisors, managers, moving up the chain, staying on hold, and endlessly arguing her side: “The check should have been credited earlier and thus our account wasn’t overdrawn.” The bank had my payroll check money, but the end result from the bank was, “Your account was overdrawn and thus you were charged appropriately for the fees. They will not be waived.” There was nothing we could do except let the bank do whatever they wanted.

What’s next, Bank of America? A fee for using the ATM? A fee for using a bank teller? A fee for paying a loan off early? A fee for getting a cashier’s check instead of cash? Oh, that’s right, you’ve already done those. Maybe you should have a fee for too many fees in one month. Here’s one: Charge me a fee for being poor. It is a win-win corporate policy, because even if I’m not totally impoverished yet, after more of your fees, I soon will be and then you can tack that one on me as well.

Rob used his new $150 Camaro-shaped mouse as he wrote his first official “I’m not gonna take it anymore” column.

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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