My melee at the fabric store was not the first time I have noticed that some employee has their hand on the phone and is ready to call the police to take me away. I was nearly taken away in handcuffs at the bank.
This was a while back. The bank was cutting down on tellers in an attempt to push people into using ATM's for as much banking as possible. That way the bank can keep all the fees and not use the money to pay employees. I believe they call that 'downsizing'.
It up sized the lines at the bank. The lines at the bank were more than 40 minutes long on any given day. I'd have a black mark on my soul if I was lying. I became the "Norma Rae" of the bank line.
In ever escalating protest, I riled up the folks in the big long line. Mind you, they were already in a foul mood. First it was the bank woman who would walk up and down the line and ask people if they knew they "could use the ATM" for whatever they were doing at the bank. I asked her if SHE knew that she was working really hard at ending her own job. I imagine that she figured she wasn't ending her own job, but the jobs of the people behind the bullet proof glass, which somehow in her mind made it all okay.
Then I found out that if you wait more than ten minutes the bank had a policy that said you would get $5. I made sure everyone in the line asked for their $5. I don't think the policy is still....a policy...any more.
On one occassion, while having my turn at the teller's window, I innocently asked the girl what the 800 number was should I need to call the bank and I wrote it down in very big letters. The minute she finished telling me the number I whirled around to face the huge line, holding the number over my head. "This is the number you call to complain!" I told them all. Everyone whipped out a pen.
Sally Field, stand aside for Sister Mary Martha.
And then one day....
The line stretched all the way across the inside of the bank. We were lined up in those rope things, as though this were Disneyland. Each minute the line got longer as more people arrived.
Now picture this. The tellers stretch across the front of the bank, so the last teller is really near the door. (Don't worry...bulletproof glass....) The end of the line is in front of the last teller. But when you are at the front of the line, meaning, you'll be next, you are clear on the other side of the bank, corraled by the ropes until the next avaiable teller beckons.
So I was at the end of the line, in front of the last teller. A terrifically old man came in. He could barely walk, let alone stand. He crawled over to the last teller, kind of hanging on the counter for support. He had just arrived in front of her when she called the next customer from across the bank. This customer was a young man, fully able bodied, not more than 30.
The teller was saying to the old man, "You'll have to wait while I take this man..." I sprang across the ropes.
Okay, I didn't spring. It feels like springing to me. I'm just lucky I didn't yank my veil off on the ropes.
I ran up to the window, inserting myself between the young man and the old man. I said to the teller, "Oh no....you have to take this man next." She politely told me she would as soon as she took the young man. "No, I said to her, " this man can barely stand here let alone wait. And this man is perfectly capable of waiting." I was using both of them as a visual aid. We teachers love our visual aids. I actually said to her, "Look at this man (Mr. Rude Pants) and look at this man (Grandpa Falling to Pieces)."
It turned very ugly from there. Shocklingly the young man did not step aside. I asked the teller why they bothered to have handicapped parking spaces outside if this was how they were going to treat people. I told the young man he should be ashamed of himself. I wasn't quiet at all while making these statements. The old man was thanking me.
To no avail. She made the old man wait!!!! I'm sure this is whyso many people are so taken with the idea of karma, because we would like to think of that young man someday hanging on a counter hoping to get help and hoping he doesn't collapse or faint and no one even trying to help or defend him.
But we are asked to forgive instead. oops.
So I went back into the line. Thirty minutes later when I finally arrived at a teller window the bank manager strolled up behind my teller...a totally different teller at that....and said to me, "I didn't appreciate the way you spoke to my teller." (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
"Really?," I said. "Well, I didn't appreciate the way she treated that poor old man!" I restated my argument, and since he the manager was talking over me, I got louder and louder. Somewhere in there he said, "I'm the manager....." and I said, "Well, you're a very terrible manager! Just look at this place!" At this point the line actually stretched out the door, so once again, I had a wonderful visual aid. And the people in the line were very happy to be part of the visual aid, and began to relish their role as 'angry mob'.
That's when I noticed he was headed for the phone. I had a vision of myself in hand cuffs, the large hand of a police officer on the top of my head, protecting me from bumping my head on the squad car as they loaded me in. You know how they do that, we all see police shows. So I left the bank.
I did get a written apology from the bank a few weeks later, after I had called and written to complain myself.
It was shortly after that that more tellers were added and the lines ended. Last year the bank even opened a second branch in the neighborhood.
But the donnybrook at the fabric store.....I think I may be banned for life from there...