Working with the public as I do, I’m used to having people come to me in a bad mood. Some folks are just sour from birth, it’s a fact of life, and I try not to let it bother me. One day late last week a customer came into [ghostbank] and marched right up to my desk. Before I could even open my mouth he launched into a tirade that went something like;

“…YourmachinetookmycardandIneeditbackRightnow!Firstly,ithadnorighttodothatandIthinkthemachinewasdefectiveandIwanttomakeacomplaintbecfauseitshouldneverhavetakenmycard.IwouldneverhaveusedthatmachinebutIwasintheareaandnowIhadtocomeallthewayhereanditisreallyoutofmywaysoyoushouldhavesentittothebranchclosertomyhouse,Don’tyouknowI’vehaditforyearsandthisisthefirstproblemI’veeverhadsotheremusthavebeensomethingwrongwiththatmachine…”

And so forth. It was really hard to make out individual words, but I managed to get the gist of things – at some point over the previous weekend, our ATM had kept his card and he wanted it back. This happens on occasion, usually for one of three things; there’s a problem with the machine, in which case it usually keeps every card, there’s a problem with the card or the account associated with the card, or the person didn’t retrieve their card in a timely manner and the machine took it back, which is a security feature that prevents people from forgetting their card and having it picked up by the next person to use the machine. I directed Mr. Speedy to the tellers, who are in charge of the cards collected from the ATMs we service.

I could hear him from across the lobby, talking faster and louder, as the teller kept telling him “I’m sorry but I can’t give you the card.” He said something that sounded like “Iwannaseethemanager!” and marched back across the lobby, past my desk, and stood in the doorway of my boss’s office. My boss was on the phone at the time, but could clearly see him since he was practically in his office, but continued with his call. The man started pacing and I was contemplating calling the police when the bossman hung up the phone. Mr. Speedy took this as a sign to immediately sit down and start talking, which he did.

Based on what I (and everyone else in the vicinity) could hear and what the teller who had tried to help him told me later at lunch, I know what happened. Over the weekend Mr. Speedy had used his card, which was from some obscure bank no one in the branch had ever heard of, at one of our ATMs and it had kept it. As it was not one of our cards we had no way to contact this person and no way of knowing if there was anything wrong with the card – as far as we knew, it could have been reported stolen. As is our SOP in such circumstances, we kept the card for two days in case the owner contacted us. If he had and could provide a letter from his bank stating it was okay to release the card, we would have gladly given it back. As he had waited nearly a week without so much as a phone call, the tellers followed procedures.

The card was shredded.

Mr. Speedy eventually left, swearing to sue us blind, but there wasn’t much else he could do. If he really needed the card that badly, he shouldn’t have waited so long to collect it.

 

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