I Don’t Want to Take the Credit!

8 12 2011

I’m sick of banks and their loan-sharky credit cards. So recently I decided to cancel all my bank credit cards except for one. (How I ended up with three VISAs and two Mastercards, I’ll never know. I think they procreate in my purse.) So I sent each bank where I had a credit card a letter instructing them to close my accounts.

Exactly one out of the five banks I contacted responded by canceling my account. Three banks sent me computer-generated complaint forms, and one had the audacity to reply with a bill for the $35 annual fee.

Eager to know why I had to pay to close my account, I called the latter bank first. By the third word out of my mouth the customer service representative interrupted with, “Can I have your NIN and your PIN, please?”

“My what?”

“Your NIN is the node identification name that your account uses to communicate with our host computer in our head office, and your PIN is your personal identification number that you use at automatic tellers.” She might as well have added, “you twit!” given her tone of voice.

“Uh, I don’t have those numbers,”” I replied sheepishly. I could picture her rolling her eyes, as she recounted her day that evening to her husband.

“Honey, you’ll never guess what happened to me today. A customer called needing assistance, and she didn’t even know her NIN or her PIN. Can you believe it? And she wanted me to help her! What nerve!”

“Golly, Madge, did she even know her account number?”

“Well, yes, but anyone could get that.”

The impatient voice on the other end of the phone interrupted my reverie. “Look ma’am, I can’t cancel your account without your NIN and your PIN. Call corporate at…”

If I have to talk to one more NIN-compoop…

After speaking with four more equally pleasant customer service individuals, I discovered that my NIN was a 10-character, alpha-numeric sequence that resembled the zip code of a medium-sized, foreign country, and my PIN was an eight-digit number that spelled out the words “poop head” when dialed on a touch-tone phone. (When I pointed this out to the customer service manager, she assured me that it was just an unusual coincidence. Right. I’ll bet.)

Once I was able to give my NIN and my PIN to anyone who requested it, I canceled my account. Or so I thought. Two days later I received a letter that read: “Your current cards have expired. Here are your new ones!”

Paranoid that I had been assigned a new NIN and PIN, I immediately called my friends in customer service. “Hello,” I barked into the phone. “Let me speak to the PIN head. Er, excuse me. I mean the head of the PIN department. No wait… I mean the manager of the PIN department… Actually, I mean…” Instantly I was connected to “muzak” and then a woman’s voice came on the line.

“Node identification names. May I help you?”

“What?! You’re,… you’re NINs! I asked for PINs! This is just great! Don’t you people know your PINs from your NINs?!” This conversation did not go the way I had practiced it in the mirror.

Fortunately, the lady in NINs was not the usual insensitive ninny I’d grown accustomed to dealing with. She graciously explained how the bank canceled credit cards and I politely pretended to listen. However, my ears perked up when she promised she would personally delete my account from the their system.

At last, I would be free from this bank and their greedy computers.

Weeks went by. No word. However, I knew that my cancellation confirmation would come soon. I’d made too much of a stink to be ignored again.

Finally, something did come in the mail. As I tore open the envelope with the bank’s logo in the upper left-hand corner, I felt a sense of victory. These were my emancipation papers, as well as my proof that in the end humanity trumps technology. Because despite NINs and PINs computers are basically stupid, and do ONLY what they are programmed to do.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to read the entire letter and savor the moment. In fact, I didn’t get beyond the first sentence. I felt light-headed and fainted when I read, “Dear Valued Customer: Thank you for reporting your lost or stolen cards…”

Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.


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10 responses

8 12 2011
Dee Macaluso

Wonderful! They say they care about us, but I think they really only want us for our money.

8 12 2011
Stacy Dymalski

You’re absolutely right, Dee! In fact, here’s a little joke I’ve coined in honor of your comment: What’s the difference between a hooker and a banker? The hooker screws you only once per transaction.

8 12 2011
Annette

I think this verifies my suspicion that all the people in banks’ customer service departments are ex-IRS employees who were let go for poor customer service! They came pre-loaded with personality disorders and a penchant for making things harder than they need to be.

Loved it!

10 12 2011
Stacy Dymalski

Interesting theory, Annette. I always assumed that customer service people were from another planet…in a galaxy far, far away, where they partied in a cantina with a multi-cultural space alien band that had a penchant for John Williams tunes…but that’s just me.

8 12 2011
m hilton

Excellent! Great that you made this funny because if you had told this straight, my blood pressure would have shot through the roof reading about it. Oh how I despise Customer Service Shits.

10 12 2011
Stacy Dymalski

The term “customer service” has evolved into an oxymoron, like “military intelligence” or “non-working mom.” And nothing has caused “customer service” in general to spiral downward faster than the banking industry. Nothing says “I only care about your money” quite like charging you for 10 different ways to withdraw your own money out of your personal bank account.

9 12 2011
billiejh

You go girl! This is another example of how far we have fallen from the days of customer service that was really there to serve the customer! I wish more people would speak out about how ridiculous the banks have become!!!!!

10 12 2011
Stacy Dymalski

I know, right? I’m telling you, putting my money in between the mattress and box springs on my bed is sounding better and better! I think maybe Grandma knew better all along.

9 12 2011
shoes

LOL!! I find this hilarious but then it was not happening to me. 🙂
While I have not been following you for long I have really enjoyed your blog so I have given you the Versatile Blogger Award (you can read details in my latest post). Feel free to do with it as you want. I am happy to share you with my blog readers and give you a bit of link love. Cheers!

10 12 2011
Stacy Dymalski

Wow, Ms. Shoes-on-the-Wrong-Feet, thank you so much! I’m truly honored! Especially since my blog is fairly new, so I doubly appreciate the recognition. And you can bet that I will sound the alarm on the Web that I have been bestowed this wonderful award. I love to write these blogs and love that people like you (who can relate) read them and comment. What a treat for me that I can express my quirky take on life and parenting without leaving my kids and enduring TSA to board a overbooked, dilapidated Boeing 737. Thanks again! (And thanks for following me.)

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