Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Technology, Old Values

I just started banking online this summer. Very late to the party, and still a hesitant guest. My debit card was skimmed/compromised last summer...and I'm skittish.

I admit that I do like the convenience of paying bills online. Transfer funds, press a button, save a stamp, avoid late fees. No chance of forgetting that stack of bills tucked into the car's sun visor. Though George Costanza's fiancee died from licking "bad glue" on her wedding invitation envelopes (I didn't really happen, Seinfeld is a sit com), the taste is a trigger for me. Memories of a time before stamps turned to stickers.

We live in a "I want it yesterday" world. Business proposals and reports sent from a wi fi hotspot, e-mails being answered while on vacation "just to stem the tide." No more notes being passed in class, send a text and pix, tweens are too naive to know the consequences of those being forwarded. The dog can't eat your homework if its saved in a Word file.

My niece and nephews will never know the adventure that was banking in the 60's and 70's. Open an account, get a blanket or a toaster! Mom would roll up to the drive-in window in her burgundy convertible LeMans, long brown ponytail, sunglasses, Eve cigarette, and four kids in the back seat. No booster seats, no seatbelts. "His leg is touching mine!!"

We'd stop pinching each other (for a minute) and watch, rapt, as our mother put white yellow and pink slips of paper into a plastic container, that got sucked into the bank. A few minutes later it came back out in a mechanical drawer, full of money and lollipops! I loved the bank!!

Charlotte, NC has a small-town feel. I was inside the bank the other day and watched as a teller greeted a drive-up customer. She was pretty loud on that mike, going on about vacations and summer news. Her colleagues didn't shuush her, they were all chatting too. Through the drive up window I could see it was a family with about 5 kids. One kid climbed over a seat and asked about the teller's dog. She took out her cellphone, pulled up a photo of the dog, put the phone in the automated drawer, the carload all ooohed and ahhed while they passed the phone around..then the dad put the phone back into the drawer.

The perfect mix of new technology and old values.

There is no bullet proof plexiglass separating the lobby from the tellers. We exchanged pleasantries, I did my banking, and I availed myself of the lollipops in a vase on the counter. They still look the same as they did when I was a kid. Ribbed cellophane, straightforward flavors, smaller than a Charms and bigger than a TootsiePop. Generic but comforting.

When life offers you a lollipop, take it!

Slow down. Make a phone call instead of sending a text. Write a letter on paper and address an envelope. It'll feel good and it'll be appreciated. You can bank on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment