Check in hand, I entered Bank Of America.
After a short wait in line, I was suddenly called to the next available "associate". I signed the back of the check in front of her, took out my driver's license and handed both over. She scanned the check through her reader and confirmed I wanted to cash the check. I answered I did.
"Would you mind running your card to confirm your account?" she asked.
"I don't have an account here," I replied. She nodded at my response.
After a few moments of tapping away on her computer, she noted: "There will be a $5.00 courtesy fee for cashing the check since you don't have an account with us."
I looked at her. "I would appreciate it if you waived that fee."
She looked up at me. "I'm sorry sir, but I can't do that."
"Why not?" I asked. "I would get more of a courtesy if you waived it rather than charge me for it."
"Sir," she again told me "I can't do that."
"Well ... thank you very much. May I speak with your supervisor?" I politely asked.
She asked me to hold tight while she went over to speak with a woman a short walk from her. The Other Woman came over to me.
"May I help you, sir?"
"Yes," I replied. "It seems I'm being penalized for not having an account and I would appreciate you doing away with the fee you plan on charging me for conveniently walking into your bank and doing business with you."
"Well, I'm sorry sir, but if you don't have an account at this bank, we can't cash your check without charging you the fee."
"Sure you can," I stated. "You see, it's just a matter of waiving the fee. That's all. It would be an all together different affair if the fee was earned, but what you are doing by imposing the fee is not charging me a courtesy fee - which isn't "courteous" in the least, by the way - so much that you are penalizing me for coming in off the street out of convenience to me and conducting business with you."
"I understand your concern, sir, but I cannot waive the fee," she attempted to explain.
"Well ... maybe your manager can do what you cannot," I suggested. "Is he available?"
"I'll get him for you," she answered.
A full seven minutes later, the manager (who I caught eyeing me several times while The Other Woman went over to speak with him) finally sauntered over.
My position was relayed to him.
“You can always go to your bank, if you wish, sir.”
“You are correct. I can. However, it was convenient for me to stop into your establishment this evening instead of haul all the way across town to my home bank.”
“Regardless, the service fee still must be charged being you are not a customer, sir.”
“Oh? Now it’s a ‘service’ fee? When I was speaking with the other lady before, it was a courtesy fee … and not very courteous in my opinion. Let me ask you something: Would you be willing to pull out your wallet and pay that ‘service’ fee for me, good sir?”
“Now … why would I do that?” he asked.
“Doesn’t seem fair for you to do something like that now, does it? Just as I feel it’s not fair you are penalizing me for walking into your bank to cash a check. And that’s exactly what it is – a penalty. It’s not a courtesy fee … it’s not a service fee. You don’t even earn the five bucks, you just out and out zap me for it.”
“You can always go back to the person that issued the check and ask them to front you an extra $5.00. That way, you won’t be shorted the money coming to you.”
“Oh … that’s fair. Sorry … but that is a sad, sad suggestion and I don’t appreciate the manner in which it was given. On top of the way you treat strangers who come in to do business with your bank as well as the unearned charges the bank assesses, these reasons, among others, are why I choose not to do business with your establishment. Thank you very much for the your response and the zero help you’ve given me this evening. Please be so good as to give me one of your cards so that I may write the Bank Of America to let them know of my displeasure, if you please. And so that you know specifically, the bank I do business with - Chase - does not charge people coming off the street fees such as yours does.”
For the record: I’ve had this little verbal exchange with the employees of Bank Of America. And the managers I encountered and dealt with the previous two times this situation came up (yes, “managers”, as Bank Of