I fought the Man, and I won. Behold, my story of triumph (this is a brief and much more comedic version of a longer, sadder story, the full writing of which would be too emotionally wearing. Just hearing the word ‘deposit’ could conceivably bring on a nervous breakdown).
One sunny, unseasonably carbon de-oxygenated, ozone-depleted day in December, I skipped to the bank to deposit a check from my mother, who was graciously saving my ass from overdrawing my bank account. I had been very sick with laryngitis for the past few days, and was strung out on DayQuil, hence, I had a senior moment and neglected to actually put the check in the deposit envelope. That night I realized my mistake and deposited the check again, for real this time.
Fast-forward three days. I try to use my debit card and am denied by the woman at Wholesale Liquidators. “This is a mistake,” I tell her. “I have plenty of money in my account.” She seems unmoved.
I return to work and look up my account balance online. My balance is $-888,888.88. Something is amiss.
I call Bank of America. They helpfully* explain that the bank suspects me of defrauding my account by falsely depositing funds. Apparently, when the bank suspects this, instead of calling you up, they take $888,888.88 from your account without asking. Apparently this is routine. When I helpfully* ask if they are trying to give me an aneurysm, for Christ’s sake, they hang up on me.
*In these cases, “helpfully” means “not at all helpfully”.
I go to Bank of America. The tellers there cannot help me. They give me more phone numbers. Each person I call is less sympathetic than the last. One even tells me that people “deposit empty envelopes all the time. You’d be amazed.” That said, I am still suspected of fraud and my bank account is in the process of being closed.
“You can close someone’s bank account without calling them?” I ask incredulously.
“A letter was sent out today, m’am,” I am told.
“Why not just toss a note in a bottle and pitch it into the Hudson?” I ask. This gets me the dial tone.
At the urging of my mother, I sit down and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I write outraged, articulate letters to the CEO and President of Bank of America. I drink champagne and clutch my last remaining $40, cash, while indulging macabre fantasies of my disgraced credit score leading me straight to debtor’s prison, which I imagine to look like the bowels of the Delancey Street subway station, outfitted with cells.
A few days later, I open an account with Commerce Bank, which I know must be nice because they have a mascot with a cartoon face and legs. Bank of America has an American flag; I should have known I was doomed. As soon as I get to the office after opening my new account, I get a call from someone named Matthew, from the CEO’s office at Bank of America. He tells me that he’s received my BBB complaint. He tells me that he’s personally overridden the decision to close my account. In fact, it’s open now and all of my money is available. I thank him and hang up. And then …
And then, a strange feeling comes over me. I feel powerful. I feel like I just kicked someone’s ass. I feel like the luckiest wretch in all of Christendom (and of Jewdom). There’s a skip in my step. I buy myself a celebratory Peppermint Mocha, pay my overdue credit card bill, and fantasize about closing my account with Bank of America, possibly wearing a fedora, possibly throwing around words like “morons” and “good-fer-nothins”.
I beat the Man, and I must gloat. One little letter from an indignant customer who never has more than $1,000 in her checking account and they fold like a bunch of pansies. Let this be a lesson to us all:
Bank of America got beat up by a girl.