Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wells Fargo Is Not Your Friend

Because of the refusal of Wells Fargo and maybe the entire banking system to get with modern times, I ended up spraining my ankle while trying to get to the bank post haste for my sister to have money to pay her rent.

A little history will be needed to explain some of this story & context so you really get it. Here's one of those interludes now; read back if you need to but I assume you readers are intelligent enough to stay with me on this. If you aren't, why the heck are you reading a blog authored by a lawyer?

History Interlude #1: Growing up, I have been the bank of my family. Seriously. When I was little, I saved my money. You could stay I'm a pretty good steward of it. I pay my bills on time, don't bite off more than I can reasonably chew & aside from the total BS debt one must acquire to actually do anything productive (student loan debts, I'm looking at you) I've historically been good about paying my own day to day expenses & not squandering money. I also tend to lean toward the cheapskate spectrum instead of spending like a drunken sailor. My purchases are carefully weighted & tabulated. In fact, I've been accused of over-analyzing in most facets of life & spending money is one of them. I don't like gambling & I don't play lotto.

My parents borrowed money from me many a time when I was kid. My own father actually stole money from my Minnie Mouse bank as a kid. To this day, he's never apologized for it.

My sister & my father were the "spend money like it's burning holes in your pocket" crowd. My mother was more careful except she made the mistake of sharing finances with my father.

So my attitude on loaning money is extremely business like & far less generous these days. My sister has been good about actually paying me back as she's matured into an adult & like a good lawyer, I always make sure to memorialize any borrowing done in my adult life in writing so no one gets to talk their way out of it. Plus, when you're married you can't leech off relatives if the spouse says "over my dead body." My parents will never get a loan from me again. I'd be more inclined to just pay a debt of theirs by going to their creditor directly & paying that way.

Who do you think said I ought to be a loan shark?

[End of History Interlude #1]

So, as I've done with transferring money to a different account I have in a different bank, I set up an online bill pay with my bank to go to my sister's bank to avoid travel to a Wells Fargo branch (none of which are convenient to me or where I'm working) or mailing checks multiple states away. I've never had a problem doing this sort of transfer with my accounts so I figured if I can do that with mine, why shouldn't I be able to do this for my sister & have her money post to her before the time she needed it?

I get a call Wednesday morning, after being awakened by my husband a little earlier, that the money hasn't posted. Yet my bank posted this bill pay earlier in the week. "What gives?" we wonder.

I call my bank. Apparently, this logical idea doesn't exist for Wells Fargo's account holders. My bank mailed out a paper check set to arrive in 7-10 business days. My sister needed that money the same day. I explained this & my bank was very good about cancelling the check.

So, I had to get more cash to give to her & figure out where the nearest Wells Fargo branch was. It was located in the same neighborhood as my doctor's office. This turned out to be an advantage.

It's not just me, is it? Shouldn't you be able to do an electronic bill pay to ANYONE'S bank account if you have their number & the bank should accept it that way just as a different bank allows this for your own accounts? Modern times, assholes! Modern times.

Why the Hell should I or anyone else be inconvenienced with this? What if there were no Wells Fargo branches anywhere near me? Having to travel on my lunch hour, when I already have limited time during the work week to keep up on e-mail, do tasks for my business, etc. doesn't make me happy at all. I also have to wear dressy shoes to work. I was wearing my black heeled boots, my standard in clothing because they look good with a skirt, jeans, dress pants, anything you want to wear with them.

The problem is these heels are more narrow than those in other heeled boots I've owned & worn out. They also tend to cause you to be tipsy if you walk too fast. As a New Yorker & efficiency freak who has some height, I do tend to walk fast & like to get where I need to go as quickly as I can.

So when I'm on my lunch break, after eating most of my lunch on the subway to get down there & after taking lunch late to accommodate for having to call people in Mountain Time (where it's 12 p.m. vs. 2 p.m. where I'm at), I notice that I need to be on the other side of the street to get to the bank & the crosswalk light is a flashing hand.

As I normally would do, I try to hustle across the street before the light changes.

Unfortunately, my boot decides to get tipsy. I feel myself stumble & at first, I think I'll be able to correct myself & stay up. I'm not too bad at doing that. However, my luck runs out & I fall onto the hard road as the light has changed.

A guy asked if I was okay. Still in shock & being the type to just pick myself up & keep going, I got up & said I was fine.

It wasn't until after I start walking down the street that I noticed the shock is still in my left foot. I end up hobbling to Wells Fargo, with no one really caring.

Going into Wells Fargo while hobbling in a short skirt with my pantyhose ripped up at the knee (a new pair, by the way), you'd think someone would have noticed or wondered about this. Nope, they apparently see this everyday since no one (customer or employee) says a word to me.

Now, I may be a fairly self-sufficient person (and you kind of have to be to survive in a major city) but there are plenty of friendly New Yorkers & concerned folk. I have seen compassion toward strangers happen lots of times. Maybe I should be glad that they didn't make me fill out the deposit slip to put my sister's money in but maybe that should just be a bare minimum baseline kindness kind of thing when someone enters your bank like I did.

With my foot killing me, I decide to sit down for a moment. I know I have to call work so I did that as well as my husband. The husband told me to go to the doctor or the hospital. Lucky for me, he was off that day but returning from going out with a friend.

While I was on the phone & trying to decide what to do, 2 different Wells Fargo employees were calling customers over while I had my foot elevated on a table. You'd think that would have drawn some questions or concern.

Nope. Still had no one say a word to me or even ask if I was okay. You'd think they'd have asked me to move my foot (hard to do this in a short skirt, by the way & not have your underwear showing to the world).

Time for another history interlude.

History Interlude #2: When I was in college, I had a job as a courier. I had to go to a US Post Office further out in Atlanta & pick up mail to be delivered to offices not far from my campus. I did this 6 days a week & drove my own car.

I also had a work study job at my campus museum. One good thing about the job was you could do your homework there & there was a big table with a chair that an employee could sit at positioned right at the elevator (the only entrance guests could use to get to the museum). I was not only working there on the weekends, I later became a weekend supervisor.

One Saturday morning while I was loading plastic tubs of mail into my car, I stepped off the platform wrong & twisted my right foot.

That day, I had not only my jobs to go to but a Halloween party at another campus to go to (this was at a frat where we had friends & many members had dated members, including me; I was more of an in-between with that crowd & the frats at my campus). I had a costume planned & would be getting a ride so no way was I going to miss it. I also couldn't get out of work because I may have been weekend supervisor at the time & was the one who had keys + knew the alarm code. No way could I get out of that.

Another important historical piece to note here: medical care on my campus was a total joke. The nurse's office was not open on evenings or weekends. The nearest doctor's office also offered sub-standard care. I was also on my mother's insurance & when I tried using it, I always got hassle over it. I was also hurt in my driving foot & essentially unable to do so, despite finishing my job (which I had no choice on). It was just like being unable to drive & since we had no shuttle + I wasn't about to ask anyone to drive me someplace (Who was I going to ask anyway since I lived alone & had never had success at doing that?), I was stuck. Public transit there was also close to nil with a 30 minute wait per MARTA bus at the stop closest to me.

So, facing all that I engaged in self-medication. I elevated my foot the entire day I was at work, slathered Icy Hot on it & wore a slipper over it. I even went to that party wearing my heeled shoe that was part of the costume & stayed sitting the whole time.

I don't remember still having this foot hurt me by Monday so I felt I probably did the right thing in my methods.

[End of History Interlude #2]

Remembering this whole college experience the last time I hurt my foot & realizing that A) I had insurance now (and good insurance at that), B) my doctor was nearby & C) we could afford it, I decided it was better to be safe than sorry & called the doctor. I was originally going to hail a cab but that plan didn't work so I hobbled over there from where I was.

In the meantime, my husband offered to get my laptop from work after my boss agreed to put it away for me (since I'm paranoid about expensive equipment I have to use for business being out in plain sight for people to steal or mess up in some way). I waited at the doctor's office.

When they finally saw me, I got bandaged as well as prescriptions for crutches, pain medication & orders to go to the nearby X-ray technician the next day (since by this time, it was after 5 p.m. & they were closed). I also got an ice pack for my ankle & a good view of it (massively swollen). I was instructed to take off the bandage the next day, told it would take 2 weeks to heal & the worst pain would be on Friday.

Dreading stairs on the subway, we were able to get a cheaper car service to take us home. Oh, and I did traverse the street wearing my other heeled boot & my crutches (which gave me an inch in height). We used the same car service the next day to get to & from the X-ray tech's office.

I learned that my ankle wasn't broken, just sprained. I'll have to call my doctor Monday to see if I can get more details since I didn't get more than that.

I suppose another history interlude is in order, though more brief.

History Interlude #3: I never had any major childhood injuries. No broken bones, no need for stitches (my sister wasn't as lucky on that front), nothing. The worst I had was a sprained ankle in the 6th grade where I got to miss school for a day & came back two days after I fell.

[End of History Interlude #3]

So, I really hate being immobile. You take little things for granted like being able to go upstairs. NYC has TONS of stairs & very little handicap accessibility. My own local subway stop isn't handicap accessible & I live on the 2nd floor where I have only stairs to get me to my home.

There are some good sides, I suppose:

1. I do have a railing on my stairs so I can use that as support. Some stairs are just built into walls.

2. I only live on the 2nd floor, not in a 4th or 5th floor walk-up. Man, I'd hate that.

3. My arms are killing me but my husband says I'll have more upper body strength after all this since I have to use my arms to move my weight instead of my legs.

4. I've not had to berate too many people while on crutches. I only had to do this to one guy when we were getting into our car yesterday. I said "Injured person here. Thank you." Yes, even if I'm injured I will still hurt someone if I have to.

5. I'm fortunate to be married to a man who's had those major childhood injuries & knows a thing or two about broken bones. I think those people make the best caregivers since they've actually been there & understand your plight. He'll also make me work hard & has been calling me "Crutchy," "Hop-a-long," etc. Oh, and I almost forgot "Hoppy" because I can actually hop fairly well on my good foot. As a reference, I did get first place in a sack race on a field day event in middle school.

6. I can do my job from home. I already proved I could be productive since I did it before so I didn't have to argue to get to do it. Plus, I'd rather not lose the money or back out of the commitment I made to it.

Not really happy about the lack of sympathy I've seen in some circles, though (and you bet I won't be seeing those folks in the hospital or helping them out if they get hurt). I'm also annoyed about not getting to do things I'd planned next week such as go to Monday's improv class (unless someone else wants to drive me or pay for car service to get me there & back).

I have to pray I'll be able to go to an event I won admission to on Friday (though when I mentioned that change of plan to the person responsible for the vouchers, do you think she even said so much as "I'm sorry" in response? Hell no!) that will give me CLE credits. I also have to hope I can make it for the performance that's part of my improv class the next week.

My foot's feeling better today but too many people who've suffered sprains have said not to rush the healing & spoken of recurring pain for rushing the healing process that I think I'll have to wait until the date my doctor said my foot would be 100% before I attempt to go back to the office for work. At least going to Friday's event or even an improv event, I won't have to carry more than my purse.

The road wasn't messed up or you bet I'd be suing the city. I don't really blame my sister or my bank but I do blame Wells Fargo for this (though I have a business checking account there). I'm also tempted to ask my sister for combat pay since I wouldn't have been down there if I'd not been doing her a favor. Not sure I have a case against Wells Fargo or I'd do it.

Maybe we should also rethink forcing women to wear heels & uncomfortable shoes in the workplace. If you ask me, the requirement is sexist & maybe I should smack someone for that as well. I don't tend to trip so much in my sneakers. Plus, I've been hearing way too many stories lately about women with collapsed arches because of years of having to wear heels. Next thing you know, that's going to be a legal cause against employers just like repetitive motion injuries suffered by typists & the like. A heel stabbed in some chauvinist's forehead might make him think twice about supporting that aspect of a dress code.

Some good openings here for financial institutions & women's shoe designers to step up & make life easier for all. Make it affordable + accessible to me (and the shoes have to look cute vs. old ladyish) and I'm in.

No comments:

Post a Comment