I went to my on-line bank account a few days ago to find that it suddenly would not accept my user name and password. Well, what the heck – things had been running too smoothly, anyway. When my original bank had changed over to a new name, I’d spent hours and hours there over several months, trying to get my parents’ accounts straightened out.
I didn’t blame the employees. After all, I’d sat right across the desk from Nancy, a very friendly, competent staffer each time, watching her enter the correct information on her computer, only to go back the next time and find the same problems. When my dad passed, it appeared we had successfully changed my status from Power of Attorney to joint owner of the account with my mother, and on we went, paying bills with the new checks.
I was out for a walk the other day when I decided to stop in and see Nancy about the user name/password glitch, but when I got there she wasn’t in her cubicle, so I sat in the lobby and waited for her to return. Then he walked through, the guy whose cubicle was next to Nancy’s, the guy I loathed doing business with and always tried to avoid – tall and skinny with collar-length hair, big, pouty lips, languid eyes and a blasé attitude. He had the subtle look of total depravity and heavy metal morality – yep – Mick Jagger in a business suit.
“I can help you,” he said without looking at me.
“No thanks, I’m waiting for Nancy,” I said cheerfully.
“Nancy’s not here today. Come on in.” He continued into his office as I reluctantly got up and followed.
As we sat down, he busied himself with his computer. No smile, no small talk, no warmth. I was as unwelcome as any other unfortunate customer.
“It’s just a password issue,” I said to break the awkward silence. “The last few times I’ve tried to log on to my account, it won’t take my password.”
“No big deal, I’m sure,” I kept going, annoyed at myself for always talking too much when I’m uncomfortable.
He still hadn’t looked at me. “What’s the account number?”
“Oh, sorry – I don’t have it with me. I was out on a walk and…”
His eyes briefly shifted in my direction and looked down his nose, obviously assessing my apparel — a trench coat, worn Reeboks and a headband, making it clear that I had all the allure of a Ukranian bag lady.
Then I got mad. Oh, yeah, Mick? I thought, I’ll bet if I was 25 and wearing a tight skirt and stilettos, you’d have me on this desk in your filthy imagination, rattling the pencil tray and…
“What’s the name on the account?” he continued.
I gave him my mother’s name.
He picked up the phone and dialed, asking the person at the other end to check on the account. “Yes,” he said, “the customer forgot her password…”
“No, I didn’t. I know the password,” I said. “It’s just not working.”
He didn’t react, then nodded and hung up. “The password doesn’t work because you’ve been blocked out of the account and you no longer have electronic access.”
“Because your mother is deceased.”
My mother had just passed away within the past month.
“Yes, but I’m on the account with her,” I said.
“What’s your father’s name?”
I gave him my dad’s name. “But he’s been deceased for a year,” I added, “and his name was removed from the account and mine was put on.”
“His name is still on the account. Yours isn’t.”
My mouth dropped open. “Are you kidding me?”
Mick’s gaze was devoid of empathy, as though he’d seen this routine a million times.
Now I was getting angry. “I sat in Nancy’s cubicle, right there, several months ago and she put my name on my mother’s account. I have the new checks at home to prove it.”
Mick’s expression hadn’t changed. “Not that you would,” he droned, “but anyone can go on line and order checks with anyone’s name on them.”
I took a deep breath. “Nancy ordered my checks, and after two screw-ups, they finally came in right.”
Silence. Clearly, Mick felt no responsibility to soothe my emotions.
“Okay,” I relented, “until we can correct this, can I at least get a paper statement of the account?”
“Bring in your license ID, birth certificate and your mother’s death certificate and we’ll print out a statement.”
“Will that mean I’ll have access to the account again?” I nearly whimpered.
He sucked in his hollow cheeks. “After we take the necessary steps.”
“I took the necessary steps. I don’t deserve to be treated like a stranger when I’ve banked here for all these years.”
“Oh, it’s not your fault,” he said unconvincingly. “Just come back with your verification.”
I left the office with a polite thank you, but in my imagination, I reached over, grabbed Mick by the tie and yanked him, choking, across the desk. Man, was that pencil tray rattling now. Then I put my stiletto heel on his chest and murmured seductively, “I can’t get no satisfaction, Mick.”
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