Friday, June 15, 2007

I Hate Banks

I Think it was 1987 when I saw Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper at Kirby's Bar in Moorhead, Minnesota. He was jumping all over the place playing his guitar and singing rants such as "I Hate Banks" and "I Ain't Gonna Piss in no Cup." He had so much energy, he was practically jumping off the walls on the stage as he banged on his guitar or a large empty 5 gallon drinking water container. I was awestruck. That night at Kirby's he played for me and about 100 other college student aged music lovers. The next week I drove to Winnipeg for the annual folk festival they have up there and to my chagrin, they had Mojo in the lineup and he was scheduled to play the main stage the first night. This time he was playing for aging hippies who were sitting on their blankets with their young families and enjoying acts such as Bonnie Raitte, and David Lindsley. Mojo got up there and did his thing and soon had several thousand people in the palm of his hand.
The Chorus for "I ain't gonna pis in no cup," is

I Ain't gonna Piss in no cup
Unless Nancy Reagan licks it up

Well he got to the last chorus and then started prancing around stage as Skid thumped out a rhythm on his washtub one string Bass and ranting about Nancy and Ronnie to the melody of the Chorus. Then in an impromptu moment he started a chant and had the whole audience repeating after him

Nancy Reagan Sucks the Devil's Dick

Maybe, you had to be there, because it seems kind of childish. However, seeing those middle aged families jumping up and down next to their infants, toddlers and teenagers, and chanting enthusiastically about Nancy Reagan gave me a new appreciation for liberals from the 60's generation. I was thrilled.

I am thinking about Mojo, though, because I really do hate Banks. Or at least I have a contempt for them. I hate how we live in fear of a soiled credit rating as if we all live for being in debt and beholden to the lenders of funds. My contempt for banks has gotten me in trouble.

When I was an undergrad and as I neared graduation, I suddenly was receiving in the mail all these applications for credit cards. I filled a couple out and then received them in the mail and maxed them out on beer at Kirby's and Ralphs for all my friendw with absolutely no intention of paying them back. "Oh, your credit rating," I would constantly hear. "You will never own a house." Well, I've always been stubborn. I thought it would be a good experiment, so I waited out several years of harassing phone calls and letters and relatives who chided me for my irresponsibility. What I discovered was soon all was forgotten and the Banks eventually determined that I was not a credit risk any longer and happily loned me money again without my having to pay back about $3000. 00 in credit card bills.

I never got in trouble with debt again, but I still have contempt for banks that still leads toward trouble. When I went back to graduate school I rang up new debt in student loans. Then, it took me sometime to get a job after I left the PhD program with only a Masters in tow. I have slowly been paying back credit card debt that I built up over that time and recently have been making a strong push to pay them all off so I can pay off my student loans. I had a checking Account with a bank called Twin Cities Federal (TCF). Well, in my enthusiasm to pay off my debt, and because I never balance my checkbook and prefer to keep an approximate running balance in my head, I suddenly started to get an occasional overdraft letter from TCF with a service charge for $33.00. I called TCF and explained my situation and they waived the fee. Nice. It happened three times like that with TCF waiving the fee, but I realized I was playing with fate, so I went into my local branch and asked for overdraft protection so I would not get anymore fees and I would not have to make anymore calls.

I filled out the application and TCF told me that I should be approved in a few days. Two weeks later I knew that my account was getting close to zero, because I made some purchases online for some spring gardening needs. I had money in another savings account to cover it, but I don't like to touch this money. I would have but it had been two weeks and I thought my overdraft protection application would have been approved. On a Saturday, I suddenly received four overdraft statements in the mail. I called the customer service line and they told me that They could not waive any of the fees, even after I explained what happened. On Monday Morning I went through the drive through at my local branch and deposited $500.00 to bring my account out of the negative and learned that three more overdrafts and service fees also went through. I called my local branch from work and learned that my application had been just sitting there the whole time and no one looked at it. I was told that my service fees should get waived for this oversight, but I would have to check with the checking account manager. I went in on Tuesday after work and talked to some kid and he told me "Sorry, we cannot waive the fees, none of them." I immediately closed my account. The next day I called my student loans and told them my account was closed and that electronic payments could now be taken out of a new checking account at a credit Union.

Several days later I get a new overdraft statement from TCF becaue my student loas company took money out of my closed account in addition to a payment taken out of my new checking account. Another $33.00 service charge. That's eight of them so, far. Shortly after, I get another overdarft (9) card over a backorder on some seeds ($3.00 for a seed packet, $33.00 more for a service charge from a closed account). I start getting calls on my answering machine telling me to call TCF over suspicious activity on my account and letters in my mail threatening to close my account (I already closed it you dolts).

Okay, I'm irresponsible. I recognize that. I cold have avoided all of this. TCF is not at fault. So, what? I can't stand how banks operate. They prey off of customer irresponsibility and mistakes. I ended up paying 7 service charges for a total of $231.00. That is not that much.My closed checking account is two service fees ($66.00) plus a student loan payment ($255.00) in the Red. And Guess what? I am not going to pay it. I have several years ahead of me of harassing phone calls as TCF sells my delinquent account once they realize that $321.00 is not worth the effort. I don't care. TCF loses me as a customer forever and I have to deal with some jerks on the phone. It is not that big of a deal. I don't really care. This is not about $321.00. I just hate banks.

1 comment:

Richard said...

My favorate Mojo Nixon song is UFO's, Big Rig's, & BBQ. If the Stones had covered this back when they were still good, it would have been a hit. Can you imagine stickin that right on Some Girls? Yeah htat'd sound gooooood.