There are very few times when I go to the bank to withdraw a larger than usual amount of money. Each time, the bank teller, in a casual friendly way, has asked me what I'm doing with the money. The first time it was slightly jarring, and none of her business, but it seemed like an over-friendly fluke and I thought nothing more.
On another occasion, I was asked again. This time the money was going to a young widow who needed some help. I didn't have any problem answering the question about my altruistic withdrawl.
When it happened yet again, I casually answered, "A woman's got to have some cash." The bank teller and I had a little laugh.
This time, as I made plans to stop by the bank, I wondered if the question would pop up again. If it did, something was amiss. This time I was ready to fight the intrusion into my personal money management.
After I handed the teller my withdrawl slip, the expected question wasn't even disguised as casual interest, "What are you doing with the money?"
Hmmmm. I'm on the verge of blowing a fuse at the young man who is probably following protocol established by a higher-up.
"Why do you ask?" I ask with suspicion.
His answer is reprehensible; he explains the bank feels responsible for how I spend my money and more especially that I'm not being defrauded.
I feel like I'm in a twisted version of Huxley's Brave New World, or Orwell's 1984. Is this really 2016?
We banter back and forth and the young man as sweet and concerned as he is, cannot convince me that the bank is acting in my best interest. Their assumptions are plainly that I am stupid. The bank feels responsible for my money.
"Like you're doing a service for me right?" I question him about the zero interest policy that's popping up at various financial institutions. It may not be too long before the bank convinces me that letting them take care of my money is a great service and I will be paying for those services--instead of the bank paying interest on my money they are using to make loans, interest, which = money.
This encounter seems to be the norm. The woman at the next teller window overhears the conversation, and when she finishes her transaction, she leans into me and says, "I just always tell them I'm going on vacation."
The bank teller stammers. He apologizes for offending me.
I wasn't offended, I was made aware. I can't ignore that this is the same bank where the CEO recently resigned for a fraudulent act. Hmmmm....
Time to find a new bank.