The Heart Of The Matter Makes No Difference

, , , | Right | January 14, 2021

I have been a teller at my branch for over a year now. One day, an unfamiliar woman comes up to my window. She hands me a check made out to one of our male customers and her ID. His name is signed on the back and matches the signature we have on file for his account. However, his last name is completely different from hers.

Me: “Hi! How can I help you with this today?”

Customer: “I want to cash this check.”

Me: “All right! Let me take a look at it and see what we can do for you!”

Already, this has some red flags. I look up her name in our system. Nothing. She is not a customer with us. I pull up the payee’s accounts, thinking she might be a custodian or his power of attorney, but no legal documents bearing her name are on file with us.

Me: “Ma’am, do you have accounts here with us?”

Customer: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to cash this for you today because you don’t have any accounts with us. This customer would have to come in and present ID for the check to be cashed.”

Customer: “But it’s his check! He has accounts with you! Why can’t you cash it if he has accounts with you?”

Clearly, she has no idea about the concept of fraud or the absurdity of expecting a bank to cash a check that doesn’t have her name on it simply because the payee has accounts there.

Me: “I can’t cash this for you because you don’t have accounts with us. He needs to come in and cash this himself.”

Customer: “REALLY? You’re saying he needs to be here? HE JUST HAD OPEN HEART SURGERY! THAT’S WHY I’M HERE CASHING IT FOR HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE! HE HAS ACCOUNTS WITH YOU!”

Me: *Shriveling away inside* “Yes. He needs to be here.”

Customer: “Do you think my bank would cash it for me?!”

Apparently, I am expected to know other banks’ policies. At this point, I’m willing to say anything to get her to leave.

Me: “Sure. They might.”

She took the check and left me in a huff. It took a cup of coffee and a few pieces of chocolate for me to process what had actually just happened.

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