We Have No Money. We're Just a Bank

 Apr 5, 2018 6:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

     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?





Top of page