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There’s No Accounting For The Stupidity Of Some People

, , , , | Working | March 22, 2021

About two years ago, I finally got my first job after five years of searching. I admit, I was a bit naive about how the world worked. After accepting the job, one of the things I needed to do was get a letter from my bank. It basically confirmed that I had an account with them and my identity matched. It also had my account number for my employer to transfer my salary without any compromising information. Getting the letter was easy, in and out, and I handed it in at work. Easy peasy, right?

Wrong. Payday comes. The morning of payday, I check my account because my first salary is exciting… only there’s no money. Maybe they only pay salaries at midnight? Okay, I will check the next morning. When I check, there’s still no money, so I ask the other people who started with me. They have all been paid.

Now I’m getting antsy. I send an email to the Human Resources lady to make sure I’ve actually been paid. She is very friendly about it.

Human Resources: “Yes, I can confirm that you have been paid into the account on the letter provided by your bank.”

Since a bank is supposed to know about banking and bank accounts, it never occurred to me that their official letter would be wrong. So I compare the account number on the letter to the account number on my banking app… and they are completely different.

That Saturday, my mom takes me back to the branch that gave the letter and I manage to get the same employee as last time.

Me: “The account number on this letter you gave me is wrong. We need to get it fixed so I can get my salary.”

The employee notices that she was the one who completed the letter and immediately becomes defensive.

Employee: “No, the number is definitely correct.”

I decide that I’m not going to get worked up or angry because mistakes do happen. But her attitude is starting to annoy me.

Me: “No, it is not correct.”

She loads up the account number on her computer and points at the screen.

Employee: “See? It’s correct. There’s your charge for Lotto and airtime and there’s your salary.”

Me: “Um… no. That account number isn’t right.”

Still, she treats me like I don’t know what I’m talking about, so I try another way.

Me: “I don’t play Lotto and that airtime charge is not my carrier.”

There’s an awkward pause as she finally realizes that the number is not for my account, which means my salary is sitting in someone else’s.

Then, she asks a question that still annoys me years later.

Employee: “Can’t you just ask your employer to reverse the charge and pay you again?”

I don’t answer because now I’m freaking out. Would that be possible? Who would I ask? Would they fire me over this? Am I going to lose my job after a week because this woman screwed up?

My mother suddenly leans in irritably.

Mother: *To the employee* “This is your mistake! You fix it!”

The reason why she wanted me to fix it? She didn’t want to call her manager and admit the mistake and get in trouble. I got the feeling this wasn’t the first time this had happened. So, the manager got involved and, despite her obvious annoyance with her employee, took over and treated my mother and me very respectfully.

She apologized for the mistake many times and phoned the gentleman whose account now had my money to authorize a transfer. The gentleman had seen the money and knew it wasn’t his, so he didn’t spend any of it — something I will be forever grateful for.

They transferred the money into my account and got me a new letter with the correct account number this time. Everything was right with the world again.

How did this happen in the first place, you might ask? The branch uses a template for the letter, so the employee only needs to fill in the account number and date and then print it. The employee would put in the number, save the document, and close it. In my case, she didn’t delete the numbers correctly from the previous person. So, lesson learned: always double-check your paperwork.

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