For the first time in about two months, I checked my bank account on payday and had a positive bank balance. I breathed a sigh of relief that I would no longer have to rely on the kindness of strangers for gas money, and pulled the Buick up to my local bank branches ATM to withdraw my hard earned cash.
Upon putting in my bank card, I got an unusual response...
UNAUTHORIZED TRANSACTION. CONTACT YOUR BANK FOR DETAILS.
"Huh? For all intents and purposes, this box full of money is my bank" I thought to myself, reaching for my cell phone. So I called the bank... to be told that my access to my account has been restricted because of excessive overdraft fees.
"I know all about the overdraft fees..." I explained, "I've spent the past three weeks living a cash-free existence to pay them all back to your fine institution, but I would like my hard earned cash now, please. Please reactivate my card so we can all move on."
"I'm sorry, sir." The young woman said, "You have to go for six months with no overdrafts before we can issue another card."
"Lady, April Fools day was almost two months ago, and this isn't funny."
"I'm not joking, sir."
"But I was out of work for a month with pneumonia, Lady! Can't y'all cut me a break here? I have bills to pay!"
"I'm sorry sir, but you'll have to talk to a branch manager."
I hung up the phone and tried not to sob aloud. At 9:01 (they opened at 9) I was in the bank and sitting with a banker. I explained my case, and asked for an ATM card a little sooner than six months from now.
"The best we can do is three months sir." the Banker explained to me, "If you still have no more overdrafts in that period, then we can give you one."
"How am I supposed to pay my bills?"
"Well, you can still write checks, Mr. Cerio."
This struck me as the stupidest damn thing I had ever heard, and I felt obligated to point out that it was just as easy for me to overdraft my account with checks as with my Debit card.
"Well," She said, "It's hoped that by having your checkbook with you, it will encourage you to use the ledger we provide to keep better track of your bank balances."
I sighed, got up and wrote a check for cash so I could fill the gas tank of the Buick and left, disgusted. I worked out how much they charged me in overdraft fees, and it really pisses me off that I paid them all that money and they can't cut me some slack for being sick.
Overdraft fees accrued and paid in the past month: $352.00
Amount of work required from bank personnel to earn this money: None
Number of warning letters that the bank says they sent me: 3
Number that reached me but were unopened because I thought they were just another overdraft notice: 2
The look on my face when I realize that I'm taking it up the pooper without the benefit of KY: Priceless.