Banksters, Part Two
April 5th, 2014

In a previous post I lamented the business model of Wells Fargo, and the vast gulf that separates the company’s happy-talking tellers from their ball-squeezing overlords. Then there are the robots who have commandeered the switchboards, and the lone human customer service rep whose name I didn’t catch because she was speaking in an unfamiliar dialect. I believe her name was Tayneesha, but I could be wrong.

“What is the nature of your problem, Mr. Mayonnaise?” is what I think she said.

“My ‘problem’ is that I have just been robbed. Someone unknown to me has just withdrawn $303.25 from an automated teller machine in New York, using a debit card that couldn’t possibly be mine, because mine is in my wallet.”

“Have you ever let someone borrow your debit card, Mr. Mayonnaise” is what I think she said.

“Of course not!”

“Do you share your PIN number with strangers on a train? Is it tattooed on your forehead? Do you leave your luggage unattended at airport terminals? Do you wish to press charges?”

“WHY would I NOT wish to press charges? Is bank robbery no longer a crime?”

“Very well, Mr. Mayonnaise. We have received your inquiry. Thank you for calling it to our attention.” Then she gave me an eleven-digit claim number and wished me a good day.

Claim number? So I call in to report a crime, but end up just “filing a claim.”

So now I am out $303.25, while the Wells Fargo Company “investigates” my “claim.” Well, they could start by reviewing the images taken by the faraway ATM machine. A picture of the perpetrator would be a good place to start, I should think. And in the meantime, they could credit my checking account the $303.25 that was stolen from THEIR bank. Isn’t that the way it works, or have I been deceived by all those Westerns I watched as a kid? If so, then lets go back in history to a time before electronic banking, when hard currency was transported from bank to bank by Wells Fargo stagecoaches. Let’s say the stage is rolling through a narrow mountain pass when suddenly a trio of armed men ride up alongside and order the driver to stop.

“Throw down the strongbox,” orders one of the men. “And don’t make any sudden moves, or we’ll shoot you dead.”

“Cole Younger, is that you again?” the driver asks. How’ve you been? Where ya been keepin’ yourself? Are you having a nice day?”

“Pretty nice, so far. Say, how’d ya know it was me?”

Well, I recognize your voice. And besides, your face is uncovered.”

“It is? Oh, my. Guess we plumb forgot our bandanas.”

“Yes, we have no bandanas,” chirps the second gunman.

“We have no bandanas, today.” sings the third.

“Ha, that’s a good one,” says the driver. “I’ll have to remember that one.”

At this point the man riding shotgun asks permission to shoot the three stagecoach robbers.

“What with?” asks Cole. “You ain’t got no shotgun.”

“No, we at Wells Fargo don’t carry shotguns. I meant, may I shoot a picture of you three fellas with this here security camera. It’s for our records, and of course we won’t share the information with anyone, least of all law enforcement.”

“Well, sure,” answers Cole. “It’ll be one for the record books, in case future generations should become as enamored of bank robbers as the Wells Fargo Company is today.”

The three pose for a photograph, whereupon the driver asks if there’s anything else he can do for them.

“How about a handful of them lollipops?”

“Help yourselves, boys. And have a nice day!”

Later that afternoon the stagecoach rolls into Dusty Gap. It’s Friday, miner’s payday, and the local working stiffs are queued up at the Wells Fargo branch office, waiting to cash their pay stubs.

“Bad news, fellas,” the bank manager announces. “Stage got robbed again, and the thieves made off with the mine payroll. Guess you boys won’t get paid this week.”

The miners, in unison: “Shit!”

“Good news is, they didn’t take all the lollipops. So you can each have one. And if you have any questions, here’s a toll-free telegraph number you can call. Good luck with that, and have a nice day!”

-Richard Menzies