Late Fee Fiasco

Posted on September 23, 2015 under Storytelling with no comments yet


Instant teller? I think not



After a long, productive work career, Donna retired. But not for long. When you have energy to burn and you’re still young, the thought of sitting at home watching soaps and sipping on Chardonnay held no appeal. She decided that in between stints of babysitting for her grandchildren, a shift or two at the local hospital might be just the tonic.

Donna was known as someone who got things done. Hard working, efficient, personable and punctual; she always seemed to be in good cheer even when things weren’t going according to plan. Her laugh was infectious. This happy demeanor was about to be tested.

It was a particularly humid day for mid-September as Donna headed to work to catch the afternoon shift. She decided to make one brief stop along the way at her bank; to pay a credit card bill that was due that very day. Yes, the card proclaimed that “membership has its privileges”, but pity help the customer who paid a nanosecond late. That is when the exorbitant interest rate kicks into gear.

It was 2:35 when Donna entered her financial institution ahead of her 3 PM shift. With the hospital only a few minutes away, there was plenty of time to take care of the task at hand. Or so she thought. It was blessedly cool in the bank as she slipped into a short lineup, if you can reasonably call one person a lineup. Having grown up in the area, it was not surprising that the person in front of her was someone she knew. Kelly was a well-known real estate agent and the two women engaged in casual banter about the plethora of houses currently on the market.

Despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon, it was somewhat surprising that there were only two tellers on duty. One was manning the senior’s wicket. Both employees were engaged with customers. Donna chatted and started watching the clock as the line was just not moving. A queue was now growing in number behind her. A real crowd.

A small bead of perspiration formed on Donna’s brow, despite the air conditioning. Kelly was not under the same time constraints, so that when one of the tellers became free she offered her position to Donna; a true act of charity. Donna hastily approached the counter, slapped the credit card bill on the counter and waited for confirmation of payment. This was precisely when the teller’s screen froze. It was now 3 PM and Donna wasn’t sure which was worse: the thought of showing up late for work or the image of trying to explain her late fee charges to some overzealous call centre worker in Omaha.

Despite her cheerful demeanor, which was being tested to the limit, she was anxious to get the matter resolved before going to work. The teller sensed this and rushed over to her colleague’s computer. By now, Kelly was occupying the space at this wicket. Sensing the urgency of the moment, she told her teller that she could wait if she wanted to process the credit card payment for her friend.

Barely breaking stride, Donna’s teller virtually ripped the monitor from the hands of her work mate, did a log out and log in, and at 3:05, the payment was processed.

Donna bolted for her car and sped the short distance to the hospital. She arrived to some good natured ribbing from her co-workers.

When supper hour came, she decided to forego her bagged lunch and slipped down to the hospital café to buy a meal. She approached the cashier and the order was rung in. “Will that be cash, debit or credit?” queried the attendant.

Donna paused momentarily and a wry grin appeared on her face. She smiled and slipped the clerk a crisp $10.00 bill.

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Highland Hearing Clinic

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