Working with the Public- Personal Narrative

Working with the Public- Personal Narrative

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Working with the Public- Personal Narrative

Friday, July 23, 2004 was the start of a week that I will never
forget. It was the week that Abington Savings Bank converted into
Sovereign Bank. I was an employee from Abington Savings Bank that was
taken by Sovereign Bank, and it was during that week that I realized
how much I hate working with the public. To work with the public you
have to have a lot of patience and keep your thoughts to yourself, but
at the same time keep a smile on your face and agree with whatever
your customer says.

That weekend we were closed to get everything ready for the opening of
Sovereign Bank. Saturday I was helping out in the Pembroke branch
because they were low on staff. People were just crazy, in fact, I
was dumbfounded by how stupid and crazy the people actually were. At
one point in the day there were a few men who were in desperate need
to get their checks cashed. They noticed that we weren’t open when
they walked up to the door and it was locked. Instead of walking away
one of the men picked up a good size rock and threw is against a
window. The rock didn’t do much damage to the window, but made a
thunderous sound that made me almost jump out of my skin. I first
thought that it was a gunshot and we were going to be robbed, but I
turned around to find out it was just idiots trying to break in. I
thought to myself, “How dumb can one person be? Even if they were to
break through the glass and get in here all they would get is a pass
straight to jail.” I repeatedly told them that we weren’t open, but
that we would be open again on Monday. “What? Why was I never told
that you were going to be closed this weekend? I need my check cashed!
I need money!” “I’m sorry, sir, but signs have been posted in every

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branch informing everyone we were going to be closed, and notices were
sent to every customer.” “So can you cash my check?” I thought to
myself “How dense can this guy be?” “No sir, we will be open on
Monday.” Of course he wasn’t going to listen to me, so he continued
to try and break in through the windows. At this point we had called
the cops and the manager went outside to try to talk some sense into
him as well as some other idiots. The manager, Karen, asked the men
what they would like her to do about their checks considering all of
the computers we did transactions on were sitting outside in front of
them. Still they wanted their checks cashed and refused to leave, so
they were escorted off the premises by the Pembroke Police.

On Monday my day began with a woman. I was, of course, very nervous
about waiting on people because everything was brand-new to me, but I
still knew good customer service. “Hello Ma’am, How are you today?”
The woman responded by slamming many papers on my desk in front of.
After a minute or so she began to talk. “What happened to Abington
Savings Bank? Why was I never notified of this change? What is my
new account number?” The questions were non-stop, and the woman never
gave me a chance to answer, so I just kept smiling while looking past
her. When she was done complaining I started to answer her first
question, but she didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. “I want
to close my account now! This bank sucks, Abington Savings Bank would
never have treated me this way.” As I was closing her account out I
tried to answer some of her questions. “Alright, ma’am, I’m sorry for
any inconvenience, but signs have been posted in every branch all over
the place, and letters were mailed out to every customer. Here is
your money. Have a nice day!” Finally, as the customer took her
money and walked away she made one final comment, “This bank sucks,
thanks for nothing!”

Even to this day I get people who do nothing but complain about how
much Sovereign Bank sucks, how they can’t remember their account
numbers because they are so long , and how Abington Savings Bank never
did that; and yet they still do all of their banking there. At least
once every day I get a customer who has overdrawn their account. When
they come in for an explanation, they can’t grasp the concept that
they spent more money than they had in their account and continue to
blame their negative balance on the bank. After every customer like
that I laugh with my co workers about how much of an ass the customer
just was. This helps me to stay sane and to keep a smile on my face
for the next customer.

One specific customer sticks out in my mind, her name was Jean Allen.
I got her during the summer on a Thursday, but it doesn’t matter what
day it was because I was already having one of those days where
everything was funny. She had come up to me with a paper saying she
had gotten fees on her account. “What is this paper saying? What is
this $25 you’re charging me? I put $1000 cash in this account
yesterday!” “Ok, Jean wait one second while I look up your account”
She had always been a problematic customer so I was trying so very
hard to keep smiling and not laugh at how badly in the negative she
still was. “Well, Jean, you had this check and that check came
through your account, bringing your balance to -$687.56.” “What? No,
this can’t be right; I have more bills to pay. This bank sucks!
Abington Savings would have NEVER charged me anything.” After she had
walked away I brought over my coworker, Jill, to laugh about the
customer I had just dealt with. We were looking through her history
and purchases she had recently made. We found out that she had a few
more purchases waiting to come out of her account. “She thinks she’s
in the negative bad now; wait till tomorrow when she has these
purchases come through her account. SHE IS GOING TO BE IN THE
NEGATIVE EVEN MORE!” I said that out loud and imagined non-customers
walking by hearing me say something like that and thinking to
themselves, “Yeah I want to have an account at that bank.” We
continued to joke about Jean. Jill wanted so badly to say over the PA
system, “Attention, Shaw’s Cashiers: There is a customer, Jean Allen,
who will be coming through one of your lines. Her check WILL bounce
so don’t bother wasting your time ringing her up.” In order to keep
myself sane, I need to have moments like that with my coworkers.

The conversion week of Abington Savings Bank to Sovereign Bank showed
me that working with the public is not all that easy. However,
dealing with the type of issues that I did everyday for a week or more
straight has only made me better at it. Working through that
conversion has not only made me dislike working with the public more,
but it has also showed me that dealing with all those people can give
you something to laugh about.
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