Friday, January 03, 2014

Hey, Bank of America, I’ve got a couple of cranks for you.

I hate to start the new year with consecutive old lady crankster cranks, but a girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do. In this case, that means unleashing my inner old lady crankster on Bank of America.

The other day, I visited the ATM on Charles Street to deposit a check.

This is a pure ATM facility, no bank in sight, that has two ATM’s: one for cash only, one for check deposit and/or face-time assistance from a virtual teller.

If I could have gotten some face time with that virtual teller, I would have let him or her know that the ATM was frozen, but the ATM was frozen so I couldn’t get in touch with him or her.

But posted above the frozen screen was a sign letting me know that if the machine were out of order, BofA would like me to call the posted number to let them know.

So I whipped out my phone and called the magic number.

But, but, but… there was no option for reporting a malfunctioning ATM. Instead, I was asked to provide my phone access number.

Dipped if I know what my phone access number is. And why should I need to give it up anyway, given that I’m calling to report your broken ATM?


Well, I tried again the next day, and the screen was unfrozen, so either someone got through on that number, or routine maintenance cleared the problem up.

In any case, BofA, if you want us innocent bystanders to let you know when your ATM’s aren’t working, you really do need to eliminate the need for us to know what our phone access code is, especially given that most of us probably do 99.99% of our banking online or via ATM, and probably call in even less often than we drop into a branch to engage with a non-virtual teller.

While I’m on the subject of ATM’s, I’m not the only one in the ‘hood who’s a bit annoyed about your decision to start dispensing one-hundred dollar bills..

Fifties I could understand. But jumping from twenties to hundreds?

A lot of us don’t like it. And a lot of the merchants in the ‘hood don’t like it either.

We have a lot of small businesses in our neighborhood.

Sure, there are two Starbucks, but Charles Street also has a handful of non-chain coffee shops. Our very own – and exceedingly wonderful – non-chain drugstore. Our very own – and exceedingly wonderful – non-chain hardware store. A bunch of non-chain restaurants. A cobbler.  Two art framers. And a whole lot of other one-off shops. Sure, some of them are sufficiently high end – fancy-arse clothing, antique dealers – that paying with a hundred dollar bill is big nada.

But if I’m dead broke, withdraw a couple of hundred bucks from the cash machine, and head off to Gary Drug to pick up a prescription with a one-dollar co-pay, or get myself a cup of tea and a croissant at Café Vanille, or buy a package of sponges at Charles Supply, and it’s first thing in the morning, ain’t none of them going to be jumping for joy to see me proffer a hundred dollar bill as payment.

So, after you do something about facilitating the broke-down ATM reporting, how about rethinking those hundred dollar bills? I understand that you don’t want to shoot out a big wad of twenties when someone takes out three hundred bucks (which some weekends is the new one hundred withdrawal). But fifties might be nice…

To recap my crank:

  • Come up with a better way to report a broken ATM.
  • Stop with the hundred dollar bills.

Thanks for listening! Have a nice day!

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