Why do the bank ladies make me lie to them?

by Angie Mansfield

You see, my checks from one of my clients are drawn on a bank that happens to have a branch nearby. I go there to cash my checks from this client because a) I can cash checks drawn on that bank without incurring a fee, and b) I don't really need a bank account except to cash checks because my trusty prepaid Visa debit card handles all of my banking-related activities.

But every time I go to cash my check at this bank, the bank ladies try to get me to join their bank. They start out with a soft sell, easing me into the idea. "Have you thought about opening an account with us?" When I say that yes, I've thought about it but decided to pass, their smiles begin to freeze on their faces. Their eyes get a little shifty, and they try to sweeten the pot: "We have a range of account options to suit anyone's needs." I start to feel a little sorry for the bank ladies at this point -- I mean, it's obvious their bank is struggling, since it's resorting to turn its tellers into sales representatives, so I smile as gently as I can while telling them my first lie: "Uh...I'm in the process of moving and don't want to set up an account until I get settled."

That's when their desperation really sets in. Their smiles get wider and more demented, showing all their teeth, and they develop minor facial tics and eye twitches. This is generally when they bring out the big guns: "We have a promotion going on -- we'll give you 30 dollars if you open both a checking and savings account with us. 30 whole dollars! Free!" They end with sunny, manic grins, rolling their eyes to direct my attention to the bank manager, who is standing a few feet away with a baseball bat and brass knuckles, glaring at them.

I smile sympathetically and lean in for a conspiratorial whisper. The bank ladies lean in too, a spark of hope shining in their eyes as they hold their breaths for my answer.

I lie to them again. "I'm not sure where I'll be living just yet, so it would be silly to set up an account here. I don't know if I'll even be in this town. I just need to cash my check. Thanks all the same."

They all let out their anticipatory breath, and their shoulders sag in defeated dejection. The one who is still holding my check hostage gives up the game and counts out my cash. She rallies enough to bid me a nice day.

I smile back at her, but in my mind I'm already choosing the lie I will tell her next time.


  1. Ack! It reminds me of the time when I applied to become a bank teller. I was ultimately not given the job because I did not have enough sales experience.

  2. It's just as bad at the phone company. I worked there for a year and ultimately was asked if I wouldn't rather move along because I refused to "hard sell" people on internet service and calling features when they just called with questions on their bill. O.o

  3. What, they didn't even offer you a toaster? What's this world coming to? ::shakes fist::

  4. I know! Back in my day, after you walked uphill both ways in ten feet of snow with no shoes to get to the bank, they gave you something worth the trouble.


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