[Hey guys! Have a feisty one about what to not do at a bank for y’all today while still at the beach ;) Brought to you by a new blogger on the scene, Marc, from SelfEmploymentMovement.com. Check it out and then show him some love over on his site! (As long as you’re not one of the people doing the following below – hah)]
I’ve spent the last 3 years as a bank teller at a major American bank. It can be fun, and it can be boring, but it’s always stressful.
We deal with money which people have a strong emotional connection to and makes them do stupid stuff. I’ve seen fraudulent check-writing grannies, customers getting beat up and robbed right outside our doors, and a kid once cashing stolen checks from a businessman who happened to be at the bank when the cops snuck up to arrest him. It’s always something!
A lot of you probably don’t step foot in a bank branch much these days with the technological advances that we’ve seen lately, but when you do, here are some sure ways to piss us off (and some ways to avoid doing so). At the end of the day we have the same goal as you: to process your transaction correctly and efficiently.
What to Not Do at a Bank:
#1. Sneeze, cough, bleed, wipe your butt, wipe your snot, or sweat all over your money or your ID and then have the nerve to hand it to us. Basically, no bodily fluids. Ladies, it’s not cute when you pull your ID from your bra after you just hit the gym. We have to handle that stuff with our bare hands! With all the fluids, dust, dirt, and who knows what else we come in contact with, our hands are filthy at the end of the day. I have to wash my hands before I eat or go to the bathroom. Basically, be a decent human being. Is that too much to ask for?
#2. Joke around with bomb threats, robbery threats, or death threats. There is a time and place (I think?) for these kinds of things. Your bank is absolutely, definitely not one of them. We take them very seriously and don’t like to joke around with our lives. We want to go home to our families at the end of the day. It gets old and it’s not amusing. Ask us about the weather instead or how our days are going.
#3. Ask us “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!” Never utter those words to us. We don’t give a shit who you are and it won’t make us treat you any differently. Treating us with respect, instead of trying to intimidate us, will get you further with whatever your request is.
#4. Slap on perfume/cologne to hide the odor of being a drug dealer. If you sell the good stuff, we do get a contact high whenever we open our cash drawers. Use the ATM and save us the hassle or simply don’t be a drug dealer. Whichever works for us.
#5. Line up at the door before we open. Is it that important that you have to deposit your pay check bright and early before most people are even awake? (including me; I’m not much of a morning person) There’s other ways such to do this such as using an ATM, your smart phone, or you can avoid the situation altogether by setting up direct deposit! It’s also fishy and causes security concerns. We aren’t afraid to call the cops…
#6. Bring us 20 pounds of loose, unrolled coin and expect us to deposit it the same day. No, we can’t roll it for you; that would take all day. And no, we don’t have a machine that counts it. That’s called a CoinStar. Good news is that we can ship it to our main cash vault and it’ll be deposited to your account within a couple business days. It’s actually pretty awesome and convenient if you can wait a couple of days.
#7. Slip us your phone number, expect a date, and cuss us out when we reject you. It’s just weird. We’re not gold diggers, but we do know what your bank account looks like. How many times has such a stunt worked out in your favor? Show some respect and we’ll respect you. Doesn’t mean we’ll say no, but you’ll have more of a chance.
#8. Walk in and expect to receive more than $10,000 in the exact denomination that you want it. Believe it or not but we don’t have that much money on hand at any given time. We have to forecast how much money we’ll have on hand at any given time that has to last us a couple days until our next shipment comes in. This large of a withdrawal can throw things off and poses a security and safety risk for us, you, and other customers. People go crazy when they see “lots” of money and things could potentially escalate quickly! We can definitely accommodate you but we’ll have to special order it for you. Give us a call a couple days in advance and we can work with you.
#9. Staple your deposits together. We have to scan every piece of paper so if there’s a staple attached that we don’t catch, it’ll break our machines which in turn means your trip to the bank will take longer than usual….and so will everyone else’s which just makes everyone livid. Paper clips are fine; staples are a big no-no.
#10. Bitch at us for doing our jobs. Part of our job description includes minimizing risk for ourselves, our co-workers, other customers, and our shareholders. If we need a second opinion from a supervisor, don’t freak out and cuss at us. One, it’s rude….and two, it makes us want to help you a little less than we already wanted to. Seriously, just be nice! You’d be surprised how much this will change how much we’re willing to help!
#11. Try to cash a check without the other person being there. When a check is written out to someone, that person specifically, has the right to the funds. If it’s not you, I can’t give you the money because the person who the check was written to can say that we gave someone else their money. We’re just trying to minimize the risk and keep our jobs. However, we can make exceptions; we take into account what your relationship is with us such as if you guys have a joint account, how much the check is made out for, how long you’ve been a customer of ours, and what your balance looks like. At the bank I work at, we are able to make judgment calls for anything under $100 without any repercussions if things don’t end up well. Again, be nice to us, and it’ll help you get the result you’re looking for.
#12. Be a complete ass. A large part of our job is talking to you. Yes, we want to genuinely know how your day is going and make a personal connection but we also are in the sales business. If you’re going to be an ass to us, don’t use a teller. With all these technological advances these days such as online banking, mobile banking, and ATMs (which have been around forever,) you can choose not to interact with us. Please, use them.
#13. Expect to receive foreign currency the same day you walk in. Sure, branches are in different geographical areas so banks close to the Mexican border might have Pesos on hand and banks close to the Canadian border might have Canadian Dollars on hand but it doesn’t mean a branch in any other region does. It most cases, you can order foreign currency and you can pick it up from us in 1-2 business days depending on what time of the day you place your order. If you need it sooner, airports usually house foreign currency exchange businesses that will usually give you a worse exchange rate than a bank will but you can get it right away.
#14. Complain when the exchange rate is different than what you see in the newspaper or online. The exchange rate is constantly changing. The bank doesn’t take a “cut” or a “percentage” but we do “buy” (take in) foreign currency and “sell” (give you) foreign currency at different rates because of the fact that the exchange rate can be so volatile. Believe it or not, but most banks are in it to make a profit (shocking!) so they can’t afford to lose money from this risk. Don’t expect to get the rate that you see in the newspaper or online. Unfortunately, it’s just not gonna happen.
#15. Hide your money under a mattress. It has a certain disgusting odor that makes us gag. It’s also displeasing to touch and that dead skin, old sweat, and whatever other nastiness is now on our hands, clothes, and our work area. Thanks…. There’s really no reason to put it in your mattress. If you’re that paranoid that your bank will fail, put it in a safe. Also, the FDIC insures all checking and saving accounts up to $250,000 so if your bank fails, your money is safe. See, there’s nothing really to worry about.
#16. Complain when we have to fill out extra paperwork when it comes to federal regulations. We’re really just doing our jobs. You know how difficult it is doing taxes and stuff like that, right? Well it’s even more tedious when the government oversees everything that you do. You have nothing to worry about if you’re not doing anything illegal. Actually the more you complain, the more suspicious we become.
#17. Don’t fill out a deposit slip fully or correctly. We ask you to fill them out because all the information is needed to make a deposit. It makes our lives easier and gets you on your way quicker. If there’s a problem with your deposit, the more information we have, the easier the problem can be resolved and the quicker you can get your money.
#18. Complain if you have to wait or if we ask you if you bank with us if you don’t. You aren’t our customer so we really don’t owe you a damn thing. I can cash your check and give you your money but it doesn’t really motivate me to move things along if you complain and bash me or the company I work for. Just be nice, it’ll get you a lot further and out a lot quicker. We’re actually doing you a favor. We know nothing about you so there’s more risk involved for us. If you want to avoid dealing with us, there’s usually no reason why your own bank won’t cash your check if you aren’t complete scum.
#19. Complain that it’s busy on a pay day, Friday, 1st of the month, 3rd of the month, middle of the month, day right before a holiday, or the end of the month. These are peak days and are extremely stressful for us. You mouthing off to us doesn’t help and it slows us down which not only slows you down, but all the people waiting in line behind you. Don’t be that guy. Usually, the best time for you to come in would be Tuesday or Wednesday around 10 am or in the afternoon around 1:30-2 pm.
#20. Walk in a couple minutes before we close. Don’t be that guy! We’ve been open for hours and are exhausted. Being a teller involves paying close attention to everything you do and talking to every customer you help; it’s mentally draining! The last thing we want to do is deposit your check, withdrawal cash, pay your mortgage, your credit cards, and your auto loan. It takes a little longer than the 3 minutes you’ve allotted yourself to go to the bank.
So I’ve told you a couple of easy ways to make your branch teller mad, but that’s no real help, is it? What can you do to make your trip to the branch as pleasant as possible?
It’s pretty simple: help us have fun and enjoy being at work.
We’re not machines and we like interacting with our customers. We enjoy the face-to-face human interaction of our jobs. If we didn’t, we’d be in a call center.
Talk to us and get to know us; finance can be a boring, monotonous subject if you let it get to you. Help us break up the monotony. Anything you can do to make our job easier such as having a deposit slip fully filled out, having all your information readily available, or knowing how you’d like your cash back when you cash a check is a huge plus.
Treating us with respect and how you’d like to be treated will make your trip to the branch as enjoyable as possible.
Marc blogs over at the Self Employed Movement where he helps people (including himself!) go from being unemployed, underemployed, or unhappy in their jobs to being self employed. He’s most proud of dropping out of college and pursuing his childhood dream of playing professional soccer, while also helping his dad pursue his childhood dream of running a vintage motorcycle shop. When he’s not cashing your check, making your deposit, or trying to stick it to the man in his spare time, he enjoys living life with his fiancée and their pug, Sabine. Sometimes he has some interesting things to say on Twitter too: @SelfMployedMvmt
PS: If you liked this, check out our old post here on 35 things NOT to do when ordering delivery ;)
[Old school bank photo by Wystan]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!