Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swinging Moods

Last week was a busy one opening up our shared lake house for the summer, preparing food for a weekend with friends, and a few spurts of baby sitting sprinkled in. It was all worth it when the weekend turned out to be a glorious one in lots of ways.

Then Monday got here.

The recent rains had had Walker’s farming bogged down in knee deep Arkansas mud, and he bolted out the door early Monday morning, anxious to get his crops in the ground to assure having a good place to hunt doves in September and an ample supply of sweet corn for the summer.

I knew it was going to be a busy day, but it all seemed manageable until I got to the bank.

I had allotted almost an hour to deal with getting a cashier’s check between dropping little Walker off at work and picking little John up after kindergarten. I actually thought I’d have time to putz around some of the neighborhood shops or the Williams Sonoma Outlet in between.

When I got to the bank it looked promising.

I rarely go inside the bank anymore, doing most of my business online or at the drive through. When I looked a bit bewildered at where to go, deskside or the teller window, a matronly manager spotted me, introduced herself, and put me in a line with no other customers. Piece of cake…

The teller, Tamicka, was professional in appearance, but her manner was less than welcoming. Never a smile, flat tone of voice, just a series of questions that I strained to hear through the tiny crack. Did I know that it cost $7 for a cashier's check? No your account does not provide them free anymore. The total would be ______. Yes, that does include the $7. I could almost swear that I could hear her mutter under her breath, "idiot". I carefully wrote out a check for a number considerably larger than the ones I usually write, and I got it ALL right without having to start over and I slipped it through the slot to her. She eyed it suspiciously.

Then the real trouble began. Tamicka required assistance/approval of some sort from the manager, went to the vault, brought back a stack of blank cashier’s checks about an inch thick, recorded the beginning and end numbers, and put them in the copier. When she printed mine out something wasn’t right.

Thirty five minutes later, neither she nor the friendly bank manager had explained the problem to me. A line had formed behind me and extended almost out the door. The drive through teller was alternating between cars and the line. My back was killing me from standing at the window. I spotted a chair nearby, and feeling uncomfortably like a suspect in a robbery awaiting the cops to arrive, I sat and watchfully waited while they conferred.

I did hear the drive through lady apologize for the delay to the waiting customers, as had I.

Forty minutes after my arrival, I went back to the window and asked Tamicka what the problem was. She still offered not one word of apology, but held my check out and said there was a problem with the printer and that I might want to go to another branch. The manager was on the phone with the copy company. I told her I had a few minutes left, and would prefer not to have to drag a hungry five year old grandchild back to the bank, so I would wait. When I finally gave up after another ten minutes, just in time to pick John up, I still didn’t have a cashier’s check. After more discussion, I was given a phone number I could call to see if the check was ready on my way back home after carpool.

I called. It was not ready, so I asked the Ever Not-helpful Tamicka to just call me at home to let me know when it was ready.

After John and I downed McDonald’s, I realized that I’d actually save time and relieve my mind about making my appointment to close on our refinance if I did go to a branch nearer my home without back tracking to the branch closer to his school. So he and I loaded up and went to the bank.

Again, I got in line, and the Oh So Helpful LaShandra processed my cashier’s check in less than three minutes.

I hope I’ll be able to blank out the Tamickas in the world and find more LaShandras this week. I hope I’ll be thankful for the rain and the sunshine that brings the fruits of our labors in the fall. I hope I’ll remember that technologies like copiers actually save time most of the time.


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