The technology wars: human 100% , bank 0%…

Continuing my theme of cheering up my readers during the slow, grim grind of January, I thought I’d share this hilarious letter, sent to me this morning by my supervisor to help cheer ME up. It did the trick! I think we should all model ourselves, as we grow older in an increasingly technology-dominated society, on this kind of  feistiness in response to the slings and arrows of  engaging with contemporary institutions. Well done, Mavis!! ( I feel sure her name is Mavis but my psychic powers are, to say the least, unreliable, so don’t quote me…) 

Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 82-year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times. (i)

Angry? Moi?
Angry? Moi?

” Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, — when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an OFFENSE under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets, and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me.

I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.

When you call me, press buttons as follows:

#1. To make an appointment to see me.

#2. To query a missing payment.

#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case, I am there.

#4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case, I am attending to nature.

#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. The password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.

#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7 again

#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

#10. This is a second reminder to press* for English.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

And remember: Don’t make old people mad. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off…”



(i) I don’t have the original source for this: I googled and there are several links featuring variations on the letter. So it may be apocryphal, but I detect the ring of truth, don’t you?…

750 words Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


4 thoughts on “The technology wars: human 100% , bank 0%…

  1. YES! Thank you, “Mavis”, for saying it for us–those of us “over a certain age”. See me smiling ear to ear. 🙂

  2. Maybe the letter is “real,” and maybe it isn’t. But as William Faulkner reminds, truth and facts have very little to do with one another.

    I’ve no complaints about my bank — they still send out hand-signed Christmas cards, for heaven’s sake, and know me by name — but my cable provider? Comcast? Oh, I could write them a letter or two! Honestly, it’s not because we’re old(er). They drive everyone in this country crazy, regardless of age, gender, race, etc. ad nauseum. They are the world’s most inclusive aggravator, bar none!

Leave a Reply