Socializing at the Bank

In the world of banking, the people on the front lines of the industry are known as tellers. These are the people who are expected to help customers with all of their day to day banking needs. It is often a thankless and miserable position to hold. These are their stories. These are their legends…

Bank Teller 4After a while in my position as a teller, I noticed a phenomenon among my coworkers. Really, it was a “phenomenon” for only one or two of them. It wasn’t anything new, really. It was actually something I’d openly complained about. Eventually I stopped complaining because it didn’t do any good. Nothing changed.

This phenomenon involved long periods of socialization with random people who frequented the branch. I know what you’re thinking, that, as tellers, we should have been expected to have conversations with our customers in order to get to know them and make them feel like the special, unique snowflakes that they were. I got that. But I only got that when it applied to talking to the random people who came in to do their transaction and spend a couple minutes, at best, inside the bank. My complaint came when we finished their deposit or withdrawal or whatever and they were still standing at someone’s teller window for half an hour talking about anything and everything except the reasons why they came into the bank.

One example is of a customer who came in to flirt with one of our tellers, as he normally did. She ran his transaction and accepted the cookies that he brought for her. They talked about nothing for about 15 minutes, and then, without any announcement whatsoever, she walked out of the branch with him. She returned roughly 20 minutes later. I’m not trying to suggest that anything inappropriate was happening. I’m just expressing my annoyance with a prolonged disappearance for which there was no explanation.

At the time, I discussed the situation with a friend and told her that I needed her to come by the bank sometime so that I could go hang out outside for half an hour or so. I mean, if other people I worked with could do it, why couldn’t I? Just because all the people I knew and was familiar with lived away from the place where I worked didn’t mean I should have missed out on stealing company time.

To me, it was the same argument that I used to hear between smokers and non-smokers. People who smoke are able to go outside several times a day to take a 10- or 15-minute smoke break. What about the non-smokers? Do they get to go and stand around taking a 10- or 15-minute non-smoke break?

When I originally wrote about these banking experiences, I was hesitant to post anything about work because some of the people I worked with read my old blog. The person I described above was one of those people. She didn’t check the blog every day, but she did have occasion to go on and check things out. Eventually, I reached a point where I just didn’t care anymore whether or not the people I worked with got mad at me over something I’d said or thought. My blog was where I vented my frustrations about a job I hated. Believe me, when it came to that job, I had a lot of frustrations. As I said above, it did me no good to complain out loud. Blogging about it didn’t change anything, either. I just kept going to work every day. I did my job. I tried not to make too many waves. I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to get a pitiful paycheck. And I did so until I finally (thank the Lord) found a new job.

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