Elderly Banking

Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker here: Have you ever had to contact your bank? What a pain in the keester! However, I plan on hiring the author of the letter below to deal with mine from now on!

Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 82-year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, — when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an OFFENSE under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contract which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets, and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows: IMMEDIATELY AFTER DIALING, PRESS THE STAR (*) BUTTON FOR ENGLISH

#1. To make an appointment to see me.

#2. To query a missing payment.

#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

#4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contract mentioned earlier.

#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7 again

#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

#10. This is a second reminder to press * for English. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Your Humble Client

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

And remember: Don’t make old people mad. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off. . .


Author note: I have tried to get her name and contact information, but the bank said they can’t release it due to privacy constraints! Riiiight!


About Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker has published seven novels and numerous short stories. He is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the International Thriller writers. Three times he has been a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction category, SNIPER in 2015, THE FISHERMAN in 2016, and WENDIGO for the 2018 award. The second installment of his Ed Traynor series, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, was released in July 2019 and is available through all major booksellers. A signed copy can be ordered directly from Vaughn (vhardacker@gmail.com). RIPPED OFF is his most recently published crime/thriller, it was released on January 25, 2023 by Encircle Publications. He is a veteran of the U. S. Marines and served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Technical College, the University of Maine and Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in Stockholm, Maine.
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17 Responses to Elderly Banking

  1. This is great. Thank you! 🙂
    Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe

  2. Kate Flora says:

    Lovely. Thanks for sharing. Customer service was awful before COVID. Now it has disappeared entirely. I tried a new mail order nursery recently. The person answering didn’t understand English and no one answered on their customer service line. I tried email and got a canned reply there as well. At least plants are optional, unlike banking.

  3. John Clark says:

    I hear automated customer service is coming to heaven and hell. Wanna bet on which will offer better service?

    • Sorry John. Even I know better than to take that bet! Heaven will put me on hold and Hell would put me on ignore. It proves what I’ve known for years. I’m going to live forever…God doesn’t want me, And, the devil is afraid I’ll take over!

  4. jselbo says:

    This is the absolute best – I hope she writes a follow-up and that the bank will share that!

  5. David Plimpton says:

    Thanks, Vaughn.

    Best thing I’ve read in a while. It should give most readers a good laugh. And these days if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!

    Reminds me of trying to log in for internet access to my bank account, which I probably shouldn’t do anyway, given the presence of sophisticated hackers these days.

    Often, what I know is my pass-code is not recognized or they have to send me a text code and that doesn’t work or I make a mistake keying it in and am immediately locked out.

    Fortunately, I can drive to to me bank easily to get it straightened out. They apologize and say it won’t happen again. Right!

  6. Alice says:

    Thanks for giving me a much-needed laugh of the day.

  7. Thank you all for your comments. Isn’t it a sad thing when it seems that the only times we get to laugh is when we are being satirical about the crap we have to deal with on a daily basis!

  8. Pingback: Elderly Banking | Maine Crime Writers – Maine Reportings

  9. kaitcarson says:

    Hysterical! I am so grateful that I bank locally at a bank with branches in Caribou and Presque Isle. When I call, I use the local number that is not a secret and 99.5% of the time a human picks up who can either help me or get me to the person I need. That other .5%? Voice mail, and call backs within the hour!

  10. I do likewise. Do you live in the area? I live in Stockholm.

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