Did you hear the one about the guy with no hands who tried to cash a check at Bank of America? They turned him down because he couldn't identify himself with a thumbprint.
Sounds like a bad joke, but it's Bank of America that's the joke.
CBS/AP reported last week that the guy is Steve Valdez, a 54-year-old Florida man who works at the Hillsborough County Public Works Customer Satisfaction Center. He went into a Tampa Bank of America branch to cash a check from his wife, who has an account at the bank. Valdez didn't have an account, so the teller asked him to provide a thumbprint as identification. Valdez was born without arms and wears prosthetics. “Obviously, you aren't going to be able to give us a thumbprint,” said the teller.
He showed two forms of I.D., but no go. Enter bank manager.
Valdez says the manager told him he would have to either come back to the bank with his wife or open an account himself.
A spokeswoman for BofA quoted in the report said the bank has since apologized to Valdez and that it should have “offered alternative requirements if an individual is not able to give a thumbprint.” Ya' think?
Fuck Bank of America!
I've had checking and savings accounts with Bank of America since the bad old days in my 20s when I was financially challenged and the only way I could get a bank account of any kind was via the evil behemoth because my ex's mom was a branch manager who pulled a few strings to render my ignoble credit history irrelevant to the beastly institution.
I've stuck with Bank of America through the years because—I don't know why. Habit? Fear of change? I've managed to elevate myself to a level of responsibility that would certainly warrant me an account with some sort of better-ish crunchy co-op-y credit-union type of money-handling organization, and yet, here I am, still slammed with Bank of America fees up the yin-yang month after month, sitting on the phone in a chair covered with cobwebs waiting for customer-service representative after service-center supervisor after recording of a woman's voice appreciating my call, trying to resist the subliminal message to kill myself embedded in every vibration of “smooth jazz” hold music, navigating the labyrinthine soul-erasing machine to eventually connect with either a live automaton with whom I can dispute fees I was charged for having once disputed fees I was charged or be “accidentally” disconnected and have to start all over again.
For every ATM fee, every $35 overdraft fee, every not-having-enough-dough-in-the-savings-account fee, every buying-new-checks fee, every looking-at-yourself-in-the-security-monitor-looking-like-a-dweeb-standing-in-an-endless-line fee and every gold-plated-executive-coke-mirror fee that sneaks its way into your pocket and cuts a hole in it, a new Bank of America is constructed on the site of a former Indian Burial Ground, damning it to forever torment the souls all of who enter.
And then there was the time my identity was stolen by someone in Azerbaijan, a country that the claims agent I had to jump through burning hoops to talk with could not pronounce and had never heard of, and who asked if I'd been there recently after I told her I was in San Diego and someone had stolen my ATM card number and started making hundreds of dollars in purchases on my card in the distant country of Azerbaijan. No, I have not been to Azerbaijan recently, buckethead, but I could've been there and back in the time it took me to get some help here, and, no, I don't mind if you send me a bunch of forms in the mail to fill out and mail back to you because, heck, I've only been a customer here for, like, 15 years, so why should I all of a sudden be trusted? All the forms and questions and burning hoops and no benefit of the doubt for a guy who's given the company enough in fees over the years that they probably have a wing named after me at corporate.
And don't get me started on BofA's $50-billion purchase of disgraced institutionalized gambling firm Merrill Lynch one year ago this week, which culminated in Bank of America executives awarding themselves about $7 billion in bonuses after receiving a big taxpayer bailout and are now trying to blame their own lawyers for shareholders being left in the dark.
But after all your greed and all the crappy, impersonal treatment I've endured, it is ultimately the treatment of Steve Valdez that's making me finally up and quit you, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (full new name of company).
The way you screwed that dude illustrates the very crux of what's wrong with the whole giant, soulless, corporate model of reality that you epitomize. It's not that it was your policy to treat him with so much contempt—of course it wasn't; that wouldn't look good on paper—it's that the very nature of the mega-corporation is contemptuousness, indifference, inhumanity.
I don't know what the alternative will be like, but after I close my account tomorrow, I will never stare into the cold robot face of one of your Republican Diebold ATM machines again as long as I live.Kolodenko out.Write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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