(photo: Loren Javier / flickr)
On Friday afternoon, I overheard a teller at Wells Fargo (“WF”) say to a cranky customer at the termination of their business, “Have a magical day!” Where are we, Disneyland?
The guy apologized (I kid you not) for not being in a better mood.
It’s like a competition. The tellers are vying to be the perkiest, nicest, most PC people you’ll ever meet, offering you bottles of water and Dum Dums lollipops, but no real service. They are so cheery that they kind of shame you when you aren’t as perky and caffeinated as they are. It’s like walking into a Miss America competition with white-toothed smiles, big-haired young women and amenable young men.
When the smooth-talking bespectacled skinny-suited young greeter/host/manager/emcee approached the huge snaking line of bedraggled customers and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you while you’re waiting, a bottle of water perhaps?”
I responded, “Get us more tellers.”
He said, “Oh, you know I’d like to do that more than anything in the world. But if you change your mind, here’s some water.” He set down the bottles of water on the table holding the deposit slips and such and ever-smiling, slinked away.
After waiting a good 20 minutes, I got to an actual teller.
She said, “Thank you soooo much for your patience today,” with giant shark teeth and a gorgeous thick head of hair. She could have been a contestant on American Idol. Is that how they’re recruiting tellers now? Qualifications: must have very white teeth, be cloyingly perky, and ALWAYS thank the customer for their patience. I was there to pay my mortgage, but she couldn’t locate my account on the system and said, “Do you know the prefix for your loan number?” GIANT SMILE.
“No, I’ve never been asked for it before.” (I’ve had this mortgage with Wells Fargo for 7 years.)
“Okay. May I have your date of birth?”
“Okay,” and I gave it to her. “Is there a problem?”
“No, no problem.”
She told me she was new at the bank and wrote down my 20 digit/letter prefix for future reference.
“Have a wonderful weekend!” she said.
“You do the same.”
Perhaps I’m not so enamored of WF, having had several bad experiences in the past:
(1) We were flooded during Hurricane Irene and they would not cash our insurance check for 4 months;
(2) They refused to refinance our underwater mortgage because our credit was too good; and
(3) They paid the taxes on a property other than ours, using our money and would not fix the problem without a call from a 1%-er that we knew.
In short, I don’t like Wells Fargo. When a teller hands me Dum Dums, a bottle of water or tells me to “have a magical day,” I really want to tell them, “You have not won my good will with treats and magical wishes. Kindly shove them up your ass!”