Can we still bank on a bank? I don’t know anymore.
I found a 100 dollar banknote recently in my desk. I don’t recall where it came from. I tried to use it at a supermarket and the cashier told me they do not accept 100 dollar bills due to potential forgery issues. No problem. I visited my closest bank in order to get some smaller bills to avoid cashiers in future looking at me as if I were Bernie Madoff.
The nearby bank was a CIBC. Actually it could have been Scotia. They all look alike.
I recalled that branch had been closed for a few weeks. There was a sign posted reading something like, “We are renovating in order to serve you better”. I accepted those words as a reasonable excuse to temporarily deny me service.
The branch was now open for business and I entered. Fortunately there was no queue in front of the tellers. The reason for this unexpected pleasure was that there were no tellers. I looked around incredulously and stepped outside for a second or two to make sure I was at a bank. Yep. No doubt; ATMs, ads with a large % image and posters of piggy banks.
As I stood bewildered, a young millennial gentleman approached me, introducing himself as Todd. Todd inquisitively asked how I was today. After responding that I was fine, he asked if he could help me. I explained that I just had a short matter to transact and he directed me to one of several iPads on the counter. I raised my eyebrows and Todd assured me this was indeed a bank and not an Apple store. He asked me to key in my name and bank card number and someone would assist me shortly.
A short half hour later, another millennial arrived, introducing herself as Amber. She asked how I was today. I assured her my emotional status had not changed. I was still holding my own.
She asked how she could help me. I took out my hundred dollar bill and asked if she could break it into tens and twenties. Amber gave me a surprised look, as if she had never seen money before. She said, “Sorry sir, but this is cashless bank.” She actually looked at me as if I was Rip Van Winkle waking up after a 20 year snooze.
I insisted she must be joking. She reiterated this was a cashless bank. I did not believe my ears. This was like Starbucks saying this is a coffeeless branch. Just come in and have fun taking up space and playing with your MacBook Pro.
Out of curiosity I asked why it was cashless and she told me the banks want to help prevent money laundering. I insisted this note was all clean to start with. I was adamant that my intentions were purely to get change for this $100.00 banknote so I can satisfy people like that supermarket cashier.
Amber did not budge. Before leaving the “bank”, I asked her what happens if a bank robber comes in and demands cash. She told me she would give him the same answer. I did not ask her whether that included asking Jesse James to sign in on that iPad. There was little doubt in my mind she would; and that would be after introducing herself she would ask how he was that day.
I guess those bank renovations were a good thing. After all the bank did serve me better, leaving me with that clean banknote relic.
Anyone have change for a C-note?