The Occasional Curmudgeonette

curmudgeonetteMy wife, Muri, is perhaps the most patient person I know.  She’s put up with me … and my Inner Curmudgeon … for all these years, hasn’t she?    When we are out to dinner and there is an annoying person at a nearby table, she has an amazing ability to tune them out, while I have an amazing ability to hear nothing but that person.   While my Inner Curmudgeon is always looking around for someone to grouse about, Muri is usually happy to let others be.  She frequently tells me that her Mom, Violet, told her, If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, and she generally lives by her Mom’s maxim.   I don’t think anyone has ever called Muri a curmudgeon(ette).  But occasionally, Muri goes to the bank, and being an old-fashioned woman, she likes to go into the bank instead of using the ATM.  And on those days, she becomes The Occasional Curmudgeonette.   Yesterday, when she got home from the bank, she did something she’s never done before … she said, You have to write a post about those people.  She then proceeded to give me a play-by-play of her visit.  I actually have mentioned our local Wells Fargo bank’s obsequious customer service once before in my post, Giving All Zeros, but if they can tick off Muri, they deserve a return engagement, so I’ll do my best to retell her story.

When you enter our Wells Fargo bank, there is always a well-dressed greeter at the door, a woman in a stylish skirt or a man in a suit.  They are so young they could be going to the prom.  How are you today? they say, smiling as if they’ve achieved Nirvana.  How may I direct you?  You want to say, Why don’t you do something useful? but people our age have been taught to be polite, so you say, I just need to deposit a check.   A teller will be with you in a minute, says the greeter, directing you to the line you’ve found on your own a thousand times.  If the line is long, there’s a 75% probability that someone else will stop by to comment on at length the beautiful day and wonder what you’ll be doing after you leave the bank.  Oh, yes and Would you be interested in talking to someone about refinancing?  Then, it’s the teller’s turn to grace you tellerwith a beatific smile and it’s-so-good-to-see-you-again.  Once she has your card, she knows your name and is determined to show how personal  her service is by using it.  So, you want this deposited in the checking account, Muriel.  It’s a lovely day outside, you’re so lucky to be out an about.  Do you have any special plans for the weekend?   (That one really gets Muri.  What the heck do they care what my plans are? she says)   Then there’s the pitch: Is there anything else we can do for you?   Would you like to schedule a financial consultation with one of our experts?  All you want to do is escape before you scream, Stop smiling, dammit!  But you get to deal with the grinning greeter one more time on the way out.  Did we provide everything you needed today?  You really don’t wanna know, kid.

Here’s the thing.  After months of welcome this and we-value-your-business that … we’ve been a customer for 39 years … when we were offered a good rate for refinancing by BluFi of California, we decided to see if our old friends at Wells Fargo would be interested in demonstrating their fondness for us with something more than smiles and platitudes.   You guessed it … they couldn’t even match the BluFi rate.  But they did note that they do a better job of shredding loan documents than most small companies.  Sheesh.

So, here’s what my Occasional Curmudgeonette wants to know.  Does this sort of obsequious customer service bother anyone else as much as it bothers her?   She knows, of course, my answer.

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8 Comments on “The Occasional Curmudgeonette”

  1. granny1947 Says:

    Oh YES…and I object to being called by my first name by a complete stranger. One young enough to be my grandchild.

  2. Glenn Reed Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, if they’d just put those people behind a teller window when it was busy, everyone would be better served. I used to have a weapon that I could bring to places like this. His name was Frank. He would not only make the comments I was thinking, he’d make them loud enough for everyone to hear.


  3. I find courtesy very nice if it’s genuine. In those cases, it’s not. You shouldn’t get paid to be nice. Being nice should be free of charge. And I hate when people use my name. It’s a marketing gimmick and I know it – don’t pretend you’re my friend.

  4. Muri Reed Says:

    Pretty good re-enactment of a visit to the bank. Thanx for being the voice of this curmudgeonette!!!

  5. cherperz Says:

    I agree with thesinglecell…courtesy would be a nice thing if it had an ounce of sincerity attached. The banks greeters are a waste of the bank’s wage allotment. We all know how to find a teller at a bank. Pretty obvious.

    I, also bank at one of the really BIG banks and they don’t miss a lick in offering me some product or service…and I never consider that anything is being suggested with my best interest in mind.

    This “have we met all your needs?” type of customer service is epidemic right now. I am sick to death of being asked to take surveys on “how they did”.

  6. territerri Says:

    It bothers me! The lack of sincerity in this kind of setting is SO obvious and I will go to great lengths to avoid further exposure. Do you think the Wells Fargo people know that their standard for employee conduct with customers is having the opposite effect of what they hoped for? If not, they should! I’m all for friendly service, but not if it has to be forced.


  7. Bank wise here, I’m lucky in that I rarely have to go to the bank -the physical one anyway. Because it involves a 12 mile drive, one-way, to the bank I deal with now (as opposed to the past when it was only a 4 mile drive, one-way) if I need to make a deposit, I usually send it in with my daughter since she works about 1 mile from said bank. But I have the same type of issue with the phony-baloney type stuff except mine takes place on the telephone as I often find myself fielding calls from various businesses. Right now, because I have an insurance claim working because of my jeep having caught on fire almost 3 weeks ago now, I have to contend with that “I care so much about you and your family and your welfare” type b.s. from the claims adjustor. “Good morning, Jeni. How are you today?” To which I normally growl a “Fine.” in response which I’m sure has to translate back to the adjustor that I’m fibbing about being “Fine.” Her response though is always the same. “That’s good.” Yeah, it would be “fine” if I didn’t have to listen to this malarkey once again or each time she calls me, which some days has been several phone calls in a day’s time. Just say Hello and get right to the point of the call and let me then go about whatever it is I need to do that day! And, above all, don’t set up appointments for me to come into the Insurance Agents office -also 12 miles away, one-way, when we are talking about insurance money I will get so I can, hopefully, find another vehicle because since the one I had is totaled, surely you understand I have no wheels to use, at the drop of a hat, to make that 12-mile trip to the agent’s office and have to rely on my daughter to ferry me from here to wherever I need to go, when her work schedule doesn’t conflict with your scheduling of an appointment with my agent (who I don’t particularly like or trust.) ARRGH. Different arena but same type of phony junk at play.


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