Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking it to the bank, literally

I’m pretty open to advances in technology, even if I’m often relatively late to the game. I think I’m part of that niche generation that was young enough to witness and accept the tech boom, but old enough to still be confounded by it. I am caught in the middle. If something weird happens to our laptop, I will literally just hand it to my 25-year-old brother-in-law and say, “Fix it.” Yet I am often the troubleshooter for my parents. (The troubleshooting is usually me telling them to just click “yes” on a pop-up box or telling them to call my brother-in-law.)

I embrace technology, so much so that it becomes for me a source of embarrassment to do something the old way. In fact, I will often blame outside factors for my inability to do something rather than just admit I have no idea what’s going on. Last week during some correspondence with a customer, I received an email that was like, “Please confirm via E-tear or scan and attach E-confirm form from web hoster.” I responded something along the lines of, “Unfortunately, I am unable to do that because of our operating system. :( How bout I just fax it, m’kay?” I didn’t even know if this made sense, but it was easier than having to admit my lack of understanding and risk having to learn a new thing.

Still, overall I think I’m adept at implementing technology into my everyday life. I mean, I’m the guy who uses the Great Clips app on my phone to check-in and gets to cut in front of the 8-year-old kid who’s been waiting with his mom to get his haircut for 20 minutes. There is, however, one facet of life where I am voluntarily old school in my approach—the bank.

Don’t get me wrong, I bank online, receive paperless statements, all that jazz. But when it comes to making physical deposits, I still do it the old way. I wait on line—the actual line with people, not the Internet—for the teller.

There is a reason for this. Many years ago when it was revealed we could, as Americans, deposit cash and checks into the ATM, I obliged. Granted, I was very nervous about this, and it took a considerable amount of courage for me to insert two weeks worth of pay into a machine. But I did it. And the machine lost it.
The amount of red tape and heartache it took to resolve this issue forced me to promise myself that I’d never succumb to the allure of bank deposit technology ever again. Ten years later, we live in an age where we can scan a check ourselves and deposit it through our phones. Do you have any idea how badly I want to do that?

Alas, I cannot. Besides the young children hanging perilously from the velvet rope maze, I am always the youngest person standing in the bank line because: who stands in the bank line anymore? Last week I stood in line for 15 minutes to deposit $20 into our daughter’s savings account. When I finally reached the teller, I became engaged in a familiar conversation:

Teller: Okay … twenty dollars? Is that, uh, all for you today, sir?

Me: Yes.

Teller: You know you can—

Me: I KNOW, I know.

Teller: Would you like cash back?

Me: Har, har. I use the Great Clips app, ya’ know …

Note: This column appears in the 11/8 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/9 issue of the Peoria Times.

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