Friday, April 29, 2011

Saying goodbye, saying hello.

I finally ended a 23-year relationship with my former bank yesterday. Actually, it was longer than that; I was using yet another bank that was swallowed up by the Stagecoach & Horses bank, and didn't bother to shop around when informed that they were my "new" bank.

The relationship -- banks are big on that "relationship" stuff, but mine didn't think I was worth relating to -- ended the way it had always been: with a heavy dose of frustration on my part. They don't make it easy to close accounts, hiding the information in obscure corners on their website and denying access via their automated "customer service" phone line ("I'm sorry, that is not an available hear your account status, blahblahblah...."), forcing me finally to send an email demanding that they close my accounts. Whereupon, I got an email from the customer service center (in India, I think, as the email started out "Hi, my name is Seth and I am here to help you...") and the deed was finally done. Only took a couple of hours.

My new bank, which D. also uses, is a small, conservative and local institution. Opening an account was simple; the hardest part was the activation of my debit card. Old Bank was satisfied if you stuck the thing in an ATM and chose your PIN there. Not this one. After said card arrived in the mail, I had to trot down to the bank in person -- only a 10-minute walk, which I enjoyed -- and have the customer service lady crank it up for me. After, that is, I signed in the bank's book that I was me, had the card and wanted it activated.

Ah, the human touch.


Also got my driver's license today. My new home state offers what it calls "conversion" of an out-of-state license, which struck me as a very civilized procedure. Hand in old license, fill out form, take eye test, pay fee and have photo taken for new license, which will supposedly arrive in five days. No written test, driving test, or any of that other folderol I recently went through elsewhere. Only took a few minutes, too. And the clerk said "Welcome to [my new home state]" when we finished....

The only agonizing element was the cost of the conversion. It would have bought me three licenses in my Old Home State, four in my recent Transient State. Oh, well.

Still, I left the Registry of Motor Vehicles a happy boy.

PARENTHETICAL NEWS-YOU-CAN'T-USE THOUGHT: That name strikes me as strangely archaic, as many names do here. Something one might have seen in Colonial days, like "Informer of Deer," a sort-of game warden's job which, in fact, was held in a nearby town at one time by one Lord Timothy Dexter....

So now I have my driver's license, bank account and library card. I guess I'm really here!

And, if anyone asks, I can prove it, Jim....


Ptolemy said...

I don't think I've ever heard of such a euphoric experience at the RMV. EVER. Your new home state is really, REALLY welcoming you. ;-)

John0 Juanderlust said...

Getting away from a creepy bank is well worth a ten minute walk. I've dealt with that bit of bank A being swallowed by bank B, and then they tell you. Each acquisition seems to dehumanize it another several degrees.
Got the license, now you have really arrived