The Suitcase Lady


January 28, 2014, 7:53 pm

My father worked hard all his life, saved a part of every paycheck and pulled himself out of the poverty he had known as a child. After retiring, one of his favorite activities was going to the bank. He would deposit checks, get cash, visit his safety deposit box and have pennies counted. He knew all the tellers and brought them Hershey bars (with almonds) as a thank you for their courteous services.

If my father were alive now, he would be appalled. Big banks have become the bastions of crooks and scam artists, and most of the scams are legal. Not one of these jokers deserves a Hershey bar, almonds or no almonds.

If you think I’m exaggerating, consider the fact that many banks change their names about every six months. One of our banks changed names so many times that we could hardly keep track of our own money.

The ingenious ways that banks have devised to divest customers of their savings and homes is breath taking. And if you actually have money left in your accounts, accessing those accounts takes advanced computer skills and constant new passwords. I believe the theory here is “If the customers can’t find their accounts, they might forget they have them.”

I admit to nostalgia. In my father’s time:

  • Banks paid interest on customers’ savings.
  • Banks often had names that were 100 years old.
  • Banks updated the balance of accounts in a passbook at the time of every transaction.
  • Banks had tellers who were friendly and helpful even without Hershey bars.
  • Banks gave toasters, popcorn makers and other incentives for opening new accounts.
  • Banks sponsored day trips for older customers.

I have no desire to take a field trip with my bank nor do I need multiple toasters. I would, however, like to be treated with fairness, respect and decency by my financial institutions. I’ve got a much better chance of winning the lottery.


7 Comments for this entry

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    like with hospitals, better to stay away . . .

  • vicki samolyk

    Oh yes, I remember those days too. I still use the harvest gold blender that I received from the savings & loan when I was saving for my first car early in my teaching career!

  • Mary

    Was’t it wonderful when banks acted like we were valued customers?

  • Elaine Schueler

    Try Bank First National, Sheboygan branch or Custer Street branch in Manitowoc. I can’t say enough good things about the tellers. As for all other departments I think things may be achanging. Is this not true of so much in our world today?

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    As a girl geek, I have to say that most of the in-face relationships I once had are now maintained through my fingers. In the 1980s, I predicted that the gradual increased productivity of single individuals may lead to physical isolation. That isolation, however, might be required by space travel. In other words, we are getting ready for it. In 2000/2001 I studied stock market software. As a programmer, I was amazed at the radical changes that were taking place at the time. Today, I manage 100% of my financial affairs without consulting with “experts.” I have not stepped into a bank since “bank by mail” became popular, and I have not accepted a check since “automatic deposit” became a reality. Most of my shopping is done on Amazon. One of the reasons is that no matter what one might think of NYC, it is not a convenient place to shop, but I digress. As I’m learning new illustration techniques, I spent 1 hour typing my list into Amazon, then maybe 15 minutes opening the packages when they arrived by carrier. Part of me is horrified by life’s changes. The other part, excited about the future.

  • Mary Tooley on Facebook

    Don ‘t you miss people!!??????? I go to the post office just to see Dan, our wonderful postmaster. I could just put the letters in my box. I do believe we will all evolve ourselves into robots. Sorry, Hal.

    Peruse my blog:

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    It is absolutely a problem. That said, I turned girl geek in the 1980s and via the computer and my fast typing, made friends with other professional geeks around the world. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this has been. If it weren’t for all of my geek friends, I would have never founded and been successful at managing Office Technology Academy. … Now that I am retired, I have found that the lack of talking in regular social situations (the job) is a serious problem as it becomes a skill lost. Currently, I’m recovering from a serious knee injury that has kept me inside. Once I regain my walking power (possibly with a cane), I’ll be attending events, which are pretty fabulous. This is definitely a transitory time for the human race.