December 14, 2010

Why we're in a financial crisis

My local Bank of America branch moved to a temporary office while their building is being renovated. I pulled up yesterday afternoon in the rain behind another car, which stopped halfway between the two spots in the loading zone in front of the building.

I thought about sounding the horn. In Boston we would have sounded the horn after about half a second, but in Seattle sounding the horn is considered rude for any occasion short of a nuclear attack.

So I waited patiently for about 30 seconds for the driver to notice I was behind him waiting to pull in. He remained motionless in his car so I pulled up beside him and made the universal hand signal for "would you please move your car one way or the other?" He rolled his window down, puzzled, and I asked if it would be possible for me to use one of the parking spaces. He looked around at where he was parked (squarely in the center of the two-spot loading zone) and then said, "I guess I could move up a little." I thanked him, maneuvered into the space behind him, and then watched as he tried to get into the bank.

I say "tried" because the obvious door to the bank on the main street, Kirkland Ave., has no handle. To its left is an unmarked elevator door, and to the left of that is an ATM vestibule that actually connects to the bank but it's not obvious. Around the corner to the right, hidden from view, is an actual door that works. That's the one the man, now wet, ended up using. I went in through the ATM vestibule and made my deposit while the wet man was dripping and filling out his deposit slip.

"Why can't you enter through that door?" I asked the branch manager, who was standing behind the tellers.

"That's an exit only door," she said.

"Yes," I offered, "but you haven't really answered my question. Why don't you make it an 'enter and exit' door?"

"Oh," she said, "It has no handle."

"Very true," I said. "But why doesn't Bank of America put a handle on it?"

"Because it's an exit door."

I looked at the wet man, next in line to visit the tellers. "Surely," I said, "Bank of America has enough money despite the financial crisis to install a handle."

She looked like she was thinking hard. Finally she said, "It's a temporary location."

I smiled and nodded, then turned and walked out the exit door, steps from my car in the conveniently located loading zone.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see what you will write next. Currently reading one of your books (ok - the book, not the question) and appreciate you very much. Thank you for your work, clarity and humor.

FleaStiff said...

Watch than conversation with a teller show up as a charge to your account as well as that location being still temporary five years from now.

Unknown said...

Seattle is famous for it's misty fog isn't it? :-)

Anonymous said...

Where are all the posts these days?

GrandmaQ said...

Maybe the conspiracy theorists are right! BA is certainly fomenting frustration/anger in anyone not thinking consciously.

Marcus said...

Haha, that's a good story. I'm sure they're making more money then ever now after the crisis. But they'd rather give it as a bonus to the CEO than provide bare necessities to their offices.

John Linnus said...

I bet you miss "honking' ur horn in Boston, it's very relieving. And not much mist. And oh yeah, The "B's" are Kickin' it old School!!!!!