What I’ve Learned From the Stop Sign

There’s a four way stop a block from my place and today the epiphany hit me; what a marvel of simplistic delegation. Everyone in America who drives or has driven knows the rules of play here. First person at the sign gets to go first, if two cars arrive at the same time the driver to the left yields to the driver on their right. No muss, no fuss, everyone gets along. Sure, every now and then some dick will run it ahead of you and cause that vein in your temple to throb for a moment but most of us will get over it and go on to more important matters. It’s the polite way to do it and the right way to do it. Picture that same four way in your mind backed up with thirty cars in all four directions. Even then people will follow the rules although you may get a few people trying to u-turn their way out of the mess and sure, there will be a lot of people throwing their hands in the air but the rule is followed and everyone takes turns. Democracy at its finest in our society (or is it Socialism at its finest in our democracy?).

The same with small businesses. You go to a local diner and there’s a problem with your order. If it’s something minor like food not prepared properly or they left something out of your order, the establishment is usually pretty good about making things right with you by way of a free entree or not charging you for an item; they feel it’s the right thing to do. Now the law can get into a bit of a gray area. Was the infraction by the diner big enough to warrant a bit taken off the bill or more like worth the entire dinner marked off? I went to a steak house in Cincinnati and it took them one hour and fifteen minutes to get my meal. I was in a great mood that day and enjoying the company I was with so it was no skin off my sac but they insisted on giving me my meal for free (in return I made sure to give a very generous tip to the waiter). Why did they do that? Because they felt it was the right thing to do. Why did I tip my waiter twenty bucks rather than scream and throw my steak knife at him? Because they made things right and it was the right thing to do. A lot of small town shops will stand by their product or service even with the knowledge that returned merchandise or payment for unsatisfactory work will probably be coming out of their pocket. Why do they do that? Because it’s the right thing to do. They know what working hard for your money is and can definitely relate to someone blowing a hunk of cash for a pile of disappointment. Here again, anyone splitting hairs over a purchase in order to get a buck or two knocked off the price should be maced on the spot and thrown out of the store. The store owner works hard for his money too so quit fucking with them.

Now let’s switch to a larger organization like say, a bank chain. Let’s take the Bank of America for instance. Bank of America has decided they need to charge debit card holders five dollars a month to use the card. Here’s the humanitarian codicil to this; the fee will only be charged each month IF you use the card and you will not be charged the five dollar fee per month IF you use the card at an ATM machine.  Why are they doing this? Because they can. Creeping Jesus what other kind of company is allowed to charge such balls-in-my-mouth fees for nothing? Let me think, oh yeah. Probably a half dozen (at least) other large corporations that have grown to become financial behemoths in our world today. Fine, they won’t charge me a five dollar fee if I use an ATM, but more than likely the next ATM I run across will be from a neighboring bank that will charge me up to three dollars for that transaction. I’m already being charged fifty cents every time I swipe my card at a store unless I list it as a credit card rather than a debit card. Oh I forgot, Bank of America wants to start charging a monthly fee for using a credit card so now I can’t even choose credit rather than debit . Another bill the bank wants to enact is to charge a monthly fee if you don’t keep a minimum balance in your account. so that means you need to make enough money to leave some lying in their vault or they will charge you. Why do they do that? Because they can.

What I’d like to know is where and who did the bank fuck up along the way that caused them to feel they have to rectify a situation in order to ‘do the right thing’? Who do they owe it to and why isn’t it coming out of their pockets, like the small business owner? If the bank screwed up on Acme Inc. then why are the other patrons being held accountable to make it right?

Be on the lookout because the future will more than likely hold more surprise fees popping up through your bank, phone service provider, cable provider and more. Citibank encourages individuals who are not satisfied with the banking changes their company is draining out of their customer’s pockets to stop by their local branch. Yeah go right down there folks and talk to Milburn Fucking Drysdale. Why?

Cause it’s the right thing to do.


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