Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Small Town Friendliness

I've noticed a number of times that small town friendliness is still alive and well. Now, if we could just teach those skills to folks in the Big City.

I've posted the other day about my bad experience with my major bank. It's not just that they weren't helpful. The girl was rude. But that's an extreme example. Let's look at something a little more representative at the same bank.

I've had an account there for probably 10 years. Back then, they were great. The tellers recognized you when you came in, called you by name and so on. Eight years ago they merged with another major bank. Staff started to change, policies changed, some aspects of telephone banking didn't work the same, there were some new holds on deposits but nothing that would be a total deal-breaker.

Currently when I go in I'm often asked by the teller to swipe my debit card and enter my PIN or show photo ID before they will do anything for me. Doing something like making a deposit to my husband's or Eldest Daughter's accounts seems to be a Suspicious Activity. Everything costs. Two books of 25 cheques cost over $20 recently (when they used to be free).

When I go to a branch of this same bank in the Okanagan the tellers are friendly and never ask me for my PIN or photo ID. Even when I didn't have my passbook one day this summer and wanted a printout of my account activity all they did was swipe my card to get my account number. They call me by name, even though the tellers at my "home" branch no longer do.

And my credit union in the Okanagan prints me free books of cheques on the spot when I need them!

Today, I had another situation that really touched me. I know I'm running low on fuel oil and need a fill. The minimum delivery is 100 gallons and it cost in the $400 to $500 range when I've had fills in the past. I'm a little scared of running the tank dry because I wrecked a sensor in the furnace that way last year and had to spend $150 on servicing it.

So I called the fuel dealer today to find out how much a minimum fill will cost. The driver who delivers to me was the one who answered the phone. He told me the minimum charge currently is $415 and we talked for a couple of minutes about how I'm not going to be there until the 25th and about having my neighbour check the level to make sure I'm not about to run dry. I said I'd have to juggle things around to open up enough space on the credit card and he said that I don't need to worry about that. I've established a history with them and he's going to be in my area tomorrow. He asked if I want him to just deliver then and he would wait until I called back to put the charge through! I said sure and we left it at that. I should mention that I never gave him my address or an account number, just said my name and the name of the unincorporated town where the house is located at the beginning of the conversation! He knew who I was right away even though I only had two fills last year.

As for how I will pay for this, Hubby already transferred some money to me from his most recent pay and I get paid tomorrow. I have to pay down the card and keep checking until the space opens up on the card (probably a couple of days). Then I can call and have the fuel charged on the card. They were so nice they definitely go to the head of the line in terms of who I pay first!

1 comment:

Bouncing Back said...

I have a saying, "When you live in a small town and you don't know what you are doing, everyone else knows what you are doing".

I'm still known as the lady who bought the smith house-and it's been 8 years since I bought my house