$0.92

So the house is finally empty, my sister and her family took to the road this morning. As such I got back to my desk and got to my small stack of mail. In which I found a letter from Wachovia notifying me that I currently owed them $35.92. Well to be perfectly honest I thought I had closed this account but what happened was that it was still open and my iTunes account was drawing off of it. My last transaction took me over the zero mark from +$0.07 to -$0.92. The bank, as I’ve railed against previously, slapped me with a $35 fine for the evils I dared commit by spending $0.92 that I did not have.

At this point, I just want to close the account so I dial the easy to remember 1-800-WACHOVIA, enter my customer ID and pin number, then press 0. I’m not angry, I’m not irate. I realize this is part of the Wachovia bank system and I’ve fought them long and hard on this. When Shirley with what sounds like a Texan accent answers I was quite polite as I explained my intent: to pay the outstanding balance and close the account.

Shirley: “Oh, I see the problem here sir. You made a purchase for ninety-nine cents through paypal and it overdrew you by ninety-two cents.”

Me: “Yes, I fully understand what has occurred. I’m just trying to pay my outstanding balance and close the account.”

Shirley: “Well we’re sorry to hear that sir. Unfortunately you have to get the balance back to the positive before you can close your account.”

Me: “No problem, I’ve got a check card here from the local credit union, I’m more than happy to pay with it.”

Shirley: “I’m sorry you’re going to end your business with us. I’ve gone ahead and taken care of the $35 as a courtesy but unfortunately you will have to go into a branch to pay the remaining… ninety-two cents.”

Me: “Well that’s very kind of you, but you mean you don’t have any way to accept payment of ninety-two cents?”

At this point I’m just enjoying repeating the ludicrously low outstanding balance, I can tell she’s uncomfortable with it and while I realize none of this is her fault, the sheer stupidity of it was making me smile.

Shirley: “Yes sir, I’m so sorry.”

Me: “Oh it’s alright, it’s just another example of why I’m switching to this credit union.”

Shirley: “Well, is there anything else I can do for you today?”

Me: “Nope.”

Shirley: “You have a good day sir.”

Me: “You too.”

The sheer craziness of this makes me wish to write Michael Moore a letter, begging him to turn his sights for his next project on the piracy that is modern banking. It just blows my mind. Ninety-two cents.

From this all, an idea has hatched. I’m going to go into the bank with only three quarters, a dime, a nickel and a penny. Yes, $0.91 and I’m going to deposit it, leaving my account overdrawn by $0.01. Then I’m going to draw perverse satisfaction by waiting for the letter which they will send me demanding the full outstanding payment. That letter will cost them more than the outstanding balance.

No, it will not accomplish anything, but what is there but for me to be bitter and pithy.

3 thoughts on “$0.92”

  1. Wachovia and Bank of America are evils the Moore should definitely throw himself at…
    I would love to see a copy of that letter demanding 1 single stupid cent.

  2. A few years ago I changed insurance carriers. Shortly afterward I got a letter from the old carrier, informing me that I owed them something like $3.20. I wrote them back a LONG, convoluted letter, which explained in baroque, obfuscatory language that they could kiss off.

    What I actually did was show them charts and graphs and such, examining how much it would cost them to send me two more letters (I explained that I was not going to pay them until they asked me at least three times). What I came out with was that writing me three letters would cost them $3.209; they would thus be losing nine-tenths of one whole cent on the deal.

    I got a letter back shortly afterward, saying they had cancelled the debt. Sure, $3.20 isn’t a big deal, but I BEAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY! I used to show the letter to my composition students as an example of why they should learn to write well.

    (On a practical note: Be sure Wachovia isn’t going to hit you with some annual fee, or minimum-balance fee, or some such when you’re not ready for it.)

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