I walked into a Chase Manhattan Bank branch yesterday to make a deposit for the store in which I work. The smug young man in the fancy suit on the other side of the window asked me about the extra 59 cents I’d deposited.
I wanted change back.
They don’t do change anymore, he told me.
My company doesn’t give me a cash drawer, I explained. And they insist I make the deposit the next morning before 10 am. So sometimes I have to depend on you, the bank, to make change.
We don’t do change.
You’re a bank, I said. You’ve got money there, you can’t fool me.
He gave me a look and I lost it.
Excuse me, I said, if you want to be an investment bank only, then take the name ‘bank’ off the front of the building and just refuse to let anyone but millionaires inside. But while it says ‘bank’, your job includes making change.
That’s not our policy, he said.
That’s a stupid policy, I said. Nothing about you personally, I know you didn’t create the policy but it’s still a dumb policy and you’re going to have to keep explaining it and getting pushback from guys like me over it. Because you work for us.
Now I got a dirty look.
And there’s the problem, I told him. Your attitude is the problem. You’re the Chase Manhattan Bank so you don’t need us. Congratulations. Eventually, you’ll discover you do. Now give me my change.
He gave me my change.
You could say I shot myself in the foot here and you’d be right, because now I’ll have to look at his smug nasty little face every time I make a deposit in that stupid bank branch. But in a world that gives me no cash drawer and a bank that won’t make change, the momentary satisfaction of throwing a childish fit seemed about the only option open to me.
This morning, however, reading the headlines, I realized that it was just that kind of reaction that leads to a Brexit, Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Trump as President and Mussolini as Il Duce. Get mad enough that you just don’t care about the consequences anymore.
You can’t have a democracy where the majority of people are getting screwed all the time. Working people are building up a universe of anger. Either someone starts pays attention to that very soon or we’ll all pay in some other (worse) way later.
FOLLOWUP 7/11/16: Just a little karmic note. I found out a few days ago that the bank branch where this incident took place had a fire last week and is no longer functioning. So apparently I won’t have to look at that guy’s face anymore, at least for a while. Mess with me, willya?