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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Customer Service

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A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it.
William Feather

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Ebay works at a bank. Actually, Superdude works at a bank too – a completely different bank. Ebay and Superdude’s employment opportunities came about in a completely separate ways. Ebay did an internship with his bank during his senior year in high school and was fortunate enough to be hired as a teller just days before graduation. Superdude basically just got lucky with who he knew, had a good interview. I like to think that it’s somehow significant that both my boys are bankers (lowly peon bankers - but still). Just how it might be significant I’m not really sure – but you never know.

Anyway, both Ebay and Superdude are enjoying their jobs and are learning a lot about public relations. But, like Jim Morrison said, people are strange and while both boys are very careful about protocol - never disclosing specifics, they do have some good stories about the trials of customer service. It seems that some customers can be a little nuts when it comes to their bank accounts, understanding how the banking system works and then coming to terms with the limitation of what lowly tellers are able to do.

For example after serving 300 people a day, a teller might not automatically know your account number just by looking at you. Also, the bank probably won’t be able to refund the money your wife spent from your joint account even if she spent it without your permission. And before you throw a fit about being absolutely sure that you set up an account and deposited money in that account and the bank"damn well better find my account and get me my money before I...” be sure you didn’t actually set up the account at the Wells Fargo across the street.

My favorite banking predicament to date though happened to Ebay just a couple of weeks ago. Ebay was working the drive-thru and a slightly-older-than-middle-aged woman drove up. She wanted to pull some money out of her account. However, when Ebay tried to complete this transaction he found that her account was overdrawn.

Customer: “What? How can it be overdrawn?”

Ebay: “Well Mam…in your account history I can…um….see a couple of…um…. different transactions that um…might have been…um…the problem.

Customer: “Well what are they?”

Ebay: Well…um….I’ll just um….give you a printout…so you can um…see…um…”

Now this exchange doesn’t make Ebay sound like the most articulate or helpful of bank employees. But I’ve seen Ebay in action and he is very articulate and yes, even perky when he’s in teller-mode. The problem here…the thing that was turning Ebay from perky/helpful bank teller to blathering squeaky voiced teen-geek was where the point of sale occurred (official bank-speak there).

The transactions were from what I guess you’d have to call a “specialty store” in the area. A store that specializes in special garments (and other items) of a romantic nature…if you know what I mean (wink-wink, nudge,nudge). This is the kind of store that there are probably a lot of in Las Vegas. But here in middle of Mormonland there’s only a few - actually I can only think of this one. This specialty store has a provocative flirtatious little name and has been savvy enough to promote their business by a couple of prominent billboards along the freeway – one of which Ebay passes every day on his way to and from work. And poor Ebay just couldn’t bring himself to say the name of this specialty store out loud through the drive-thru speaker to the slightly-older-than-middle-aged female customer and in front of his fully-grown-woman female co-workers….it's just not a good out-loud name.

Ebay told me this story with a kind of sheepish/mortified expression on his face like somehow he’d actually been the one that had gone to the “special store.” And I of course helped him out by laughing uproariously and reveling in his embarrassment and discomfort.

Poor Ebay. I like to think that specialty-store-lady may have appreciated Ebay’s manners -what a nice young man to be so discrete regarding her somewhat blue transaction history. The truth of course is a lot less noble...but a lot funnier.


Teachinfourth said...

The funny thing is that knowing Ebay makes this story all the better (and having heard it live).

You done did something right with that boy, Mel...

Lori said...

Hilarious! I love his discretion. Good for him!

lexi crandall said...

ohhhh boy. that's a keeper. :D I totally agree with your co- writer teachinfourth... knowing Ebay makes this story a laugh out loud instead of a snicker to yourself.:D

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