Okay, so I get this bright idea.
WHEREAS my otherwise excellent credit union is a 40-minute round-trip from the Funny Farm; and
WHEREAS my pretend-employer, a certain Vast Community College District, waited eight (8) months to let us know it had released all of our personal information (including our names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, bank routing numbers, bank account numbers, employment histories going back to our first jobs, and every single college-level course we have taken from freshman year all the way through the Ph.D.) to hackers who put said information up on the Internet for sale to the highest bidder; and
WHEREAS I don’t trust the bastards to direct-deposit to my NEW! checking account without forking the relevant data over to their crook friends;
WHEREAS the last time I tried to deposit checks electronically it took 40 minutes to upload a $20 check from Medicare and I gave up after an hour of trying to upload the community college’s piddling $350 paycheck; and
WHEREAS at $60/hour I can NOT afford that kind of opportunity cost,
THEREFORE I decided to move my checking account from its present home in a local credit union, whose nearest branch is on the way to nothing anyone in their right mind would choose to visit unless they were employed by the Great Desert University, to another local credit union that has a branch right in the middle of my beaten path.
Oh, how grand (thought I) it would be to have an account at the Desert Schools Credit Union, where I could deposit the endless flow of stupid goddamn paper checks as I’m running my regular errands.
Sounds almost reasonable, doesn’t it?
heh heh heh heh heh…. It does, if you’re not living in a Monty Python Show.
You will recall that because of the community-college-district fiasco referenced above (second WHEREAS), I had to put a freeze on all three credit bureau accounts.
Now, you know and I know that to open a bank account these days, you have to subject yourself to a full-blown credit check. Right? For the prospective banker to accomplish this, he/she/it has to be able to access your accounts at one or more (preferably all three) credit bureaus. This makes a certain twisted, Big-Brotherish sense, right?
So, I go over to the Desert Schools Credit Union, explain the deal, and remark that if they want to proceed with this, I’ll need to go home and remove all the freezes on the three credit bureau files. I ask if this is REALLY necessary, though I believe I know the answer.
But apparently they don’t.
In Trip to the Credit Union the First, an exceptionally gorgeous CSR (o god, black curly hair and sapphire blue eyes and the sweetest manly smile: hevvin help us!) says ohhhhhhhh NO problem. No, we don’t need to do a full credit search. All that needs to happen is you give us a phone number where we can reach you and if we can confirm that then we can move ahead.
But alas, His Gorgeousness is not a permanent employee of the branch but is only standing in because the regular dude in that office is out sick. He says I should come back with the amount I would like to deposit in cash and checks and see a young woman we shall call Ms. Greene. On this particular day, I have not shown up with either money nor checks, but these are easy to marshal.
The next day I present myself to Ms. Greene with $3,000 worth of undepositable checks and cash rebates from the Costco Amex. She says that since I don’t have a cell phone, she must call my land line at home to confirm I’m who I say I am.
Reflecting silently on the idiocy of this (THINK about it! 😀 ), I say fine. She says “Call me this afternoon at your convenience and I’ll call you back.”
I do call her; reach her voicemail; she doesn’t call back until after 5:00 p.m., and, she informs me, she has the following day off. Will I come in the day after that (today, Wednesday)? I say OK, and find a place to hide the cash and checks.
Today I show up there and, after another 20- or 30-minute wait, once again she claims her computer doesn’t work. I point out that this is probably because the credit bureaus have a freeze on my (totally unasked-for) accounts. She says she will talk to her manager.
Another 15- or 20-minute wait ensues, during which I am painfully conscious that the bank probably has a camera staring at me, since we are supposed to not be bothered that privacy is a thing of the past.
Finally she drags back into her office, looking like a whipped puppy. Now she says that because I have a freeze on all three credit bureau files, they can’t do anything until I unfreeze them. She looks so woebegone that I refrain from remarking that I’ve now been told not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES that it’s unnecessary for me to do this.
Time to cut my losses.
I drive to my existing credit union, 20 minutes up the freeway, and deposit the cash and checks I’ve been dragging around for the past week or 10 days. I ask the teller if she could please remark to management about the despair caused to at least one customer by the stubbbornness of their online check deposit software. She cheerfully says she’ll pass that report on to the IT department.
By the time the third meeting with the Desert Schools Credit Union people was wrapping up, I realized none of them could tell their bung from a hole in the ground. Ms. Greene seriously thought I was going to traipse back to her precincts for the FOURTH time, sit around for 20 minutes for the FOURTH time, and take a FOURTH chance that maybe she could manage to figure out how to open an account for me.
Sometimes other people’s incompetence makes mine look good.