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Banking on a good holiday

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It's Christmas Eve and you're still reading my blog ... having said that, it's Christmas Eve and I'm still blogging ...

So, I was going to post something serious, and then thought: "what the heck, it's Christmas!" and decided instead to pick on one of my favourite TV shows, Frasier.

There's one particular episode that has a great skit on bank service.

Here's the transcript, thanks to Twiz TV, and a bit of the show for any of you who missed it.

Merry Christmas.

Martin (Father): Hey! Hey, everybody. Check this out! I just went to the ATM for $20, as you can see from this receipt, and it gave me $60. I won 40 bucks!

Niles (Brother): You mean the bank lost $40.

Martin: Uh, yeah, that big faceless bank that charges me $12 a month for my checking account lost $40.

Daphne (Housekeeper and Niles' Partner): You know, you can't keep that. It's bad karma.

Martin: Sorry. This is America. A land built on the principle, "Finders Keepers."

Daphne: Oh, come on. There's a toll-free service number right here on the receipt. Just call them and tell them what happened.

Martin: Why should I?

Daphne: Because otherwise, you could end up like my brother Nigel and his baby teeth.

Niles: [deadpan] What happened with your brother Nigel and his baby teeth?

Well, like any child, the first time he had a tooth fall out he put it under his pillow at bedtime, and sure enough, the next morning he found that Winston Churchill had left him a shiny new coin.

Martin: Question.

Niles: No, Dad, we're not stopping. Go ahead, Darling.

Daphne: Well, instead of being grateful, he got greedy and went off to school, punching people in their mouths and scooping up their teeth. Of course, it didn't work and he got kicked out of school, became a thief, and eventually went to prison.

Where he... fittingly had all of his teeth knocked out...?

Daphne: No, he lost his teeth years earlier in a rock-eating contest. Now that's an interesting story. We were renting a house next to a quarry at the time...

Martin: [unwilling to take any more] All right, all right, I'll call the bank!

[Fade out.]

[Next scene. Bank lobby. Daphne and Martin approach the counter. A male teller greets them.]

Hi, can I help you?

Martin: Yes, uh, I was at one of your ATM's yesterday, and it gave me back more than it should have, so I want to...

Teller: [interrupting] Okay, for that you're going to need to complete an ATM trouble report [producing one] and then take it to our operations officer at the desk over there.

Martin: You mean I have to fill this out before I can give you 40 bucks?

Yes, sir.

But your sign says, "Making banking simpler!"

Teller: Yes, sir.

Well, this isn't simpler, it's more complicated.

Yes, sir, it is.

Oh, forget it.

[He and Daphne leave the counter and walk to a table.]

Martin: I knew this was going to be more trouble than it's worth.

Daphne: A little paperwork's a small price to pay for a clear conscience.

Martin: Yeah, meanwhile, I'm out 40 bucks.

Daphne: It's not your money!

[They approach the desk indicated by the teller. A male officer greets them.]

Officer: Can I help you?

Martin: Yes, uh, I had some trouble with one of your ATM's.

Officer: Oh, I can't help you. I need a manager.

[He exits to the rear.]

Daphne: I'm proud of you. Trust me, when this is over, you'll feel better.

Martin: You really think so?

Daphne: I'm sure of it.

Martin: Ah, maybe you're right. Maybe I will feel better. And if you're right about that karma stuff, I got a good thing coming to me.

Daphne: [looking out the window] Uh-oh. How much money did you put in the meter?

Martin: Oh, son of a bitch!

[The bank manager, a woman, enters.]

Manager: Hi, Mr. Crane, I'm Bree, Todd's manager. I wanted to apologize for the trouble you had with our ATM. And make sure that you got your $40.

[She offers him the cash.]

Martin: What, uh, oh, no, no! You don't need to give anything to me. The machine accidentally gave me $60 instead of $20, so I need to give you $40.

So, you want to put this in your account?

Martin: No, no! I want you to take it, plus this $40, and put it back wherever it came from.

Manager: Well, I'm afraid I've already done the paperwork. Now, you'll need to speak with our branch manager, and he's out of town.

This is ridiculous!

[Martin sighs and sinks into a chair. Fade out.]

[Next scene. Martin approaches the counter. The teller is female.]

Teller: [cheerily] Hi! How can I help you make banking simpler?

Martin: [agitated] I'll tell you how you can help me. I'm going to talk, and you're going to listen, and you're going to do exactly as I ask.

Teller: [apprehensive] I think I should go get a manager.

Martin: [angrily] No, no managers!

Teller: Oh, but our policy is...

Martin: Now this is real simple and I know you can handle it. Now what I want you to do is... [as he speaks, he reaches inside his coat]

Guard: Hold it right there, Mister!

[He turns and sees the guard pointing a gun at him. He quickly raises his hands. Fade out.]

[Next scene. Bank lobby. Martin and Daphne are seated at the back desk. A dignified, bearded gentleman speaks to them.]

President: Mr. Crane, as the president of the bank, I want to assure you that it is not our policy to draw firearms on customers trying to make a deposit.

Martin: [wearily] It wasn't a deposit.

President: Now, I'm sure that neither of us wants to turn this into a protracted legal battle, so if you would simply sign this non-disclosure agreement here, here, here, and here... [Martin puts on his eyeglasses.] Our attorneys have authorized me to compensate you for your troubles in the amount of $10,000, which can be credited to your account.

[Martin and Daphne are stunned.]

Ten grand?!

Plus the $40 from our original mistake.

Martin: [feigning weariness] Oh, what the hell, I just want to get it over with. [He signs the forms.]

President: That's wonderful. Now, is there anything else I can do for you?

Daphne: [bemused] Could I open an account?

[Fade out.]


Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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