Many times I have espoused that if you feel you are not getting the service level you want or you are paying far too much for these services you should simply change your bank or find a different service provider (with phone services, cables services and internet services), however sometimes acting in haste can have some unpredictable consequences, so while you should act, always take a moment and figure out what possible ramifications there might be from you making a sudden change.
I write this remembering a story of my childhood where my Mother first taught me that you must stand up for yourself, however, that can cause unexpected ripples elsewhere in your life.
My Mother is an astounding woman, has worked very hard, and is a very independent person (even now when she is 80+), but this happened when she was much younger. She had gone to her Bank to do some banking (remember this was in the early 1970′s for a timeframe) and many times she had received condescending comments about “shouldn’t your husband be here?” from the Bank Staff (implying that my Mother couldn’t nor shouldn’t be making financial decisions on her own).
At the time my Mother had her own job as a teacher, her own income, her own benefits yet the Bank continued to treat her as a simple appendage of my Father. As a bit of background my Mother got a Statistics degree from University College of London in the early 50′s, when women did NOT get those kind of degrees, so while I would not view her as a Feminazi, she was and is a very strong believer in her rights.
All of this came to an interesting crescendo one day when a Bank teller refused to do a simple transaction for her without my Dad’s signature. The account was a joint account, however, either was allowed to sign for transactions, however this teller would not budge, and refused to let my mother do this simple transfer without my Dad’s signature. For my Mother this was the line in the sand, and she decided she had enough of this.
She thanked the teller, walked away (politely) then went over to the Customer Service desk and asked to close all of her accounts with the bank. My mother could not close any joint accounts, but she did in fact have her own account and a Chargex card with the bank as well, so she closed both of those and came home. The bank didn’t really care, I guess they thoughts it was some overly emotional woman flying off the handle, but my Mother refused to do business with them.
This story in itself would be a good example of standing up for yourself, but it also has an added epilogue which is
important to remember too. The next day my Dad went to buy something downtown, didn’t have enough cash with him so he used decided to use his Chargex card, however, that Chargex card was not actually his account, he had a card off my Mother’s Chargex card, and thus the transaction was refused. My Father was not very happy about this, he ended up using one of his own Credit Cards, but when my Mother heard of this, she had a good laugh (my Father was not as amused by this turn of events).
The moral of the story: Stand up for your rights, don’t take crap from any service provider, especially your bank, but remember if you make a rash decision, maybe think about it for a few minutes and figure out what all the ramifications of the decision might be.
Oh and it is my Mother’s birthday this week as well, so Happy Birthday Mum, your influence in much more than you think!