It may not seem like an enormous amount of money, but...
When my daughter - the single mother raising a thirteen year old who is eating her out of house and home - told me she couldn't cash the check from her part-time job, that was the answer I got. "Seven dollars." "Huh?" was all I could say. She went on to relate she doesn't have an account at the bank the checks are drawn on, therefore if she wants to cash the checks she is charged seven dollars. Per Check.
I can't say that the ills of the world were suddenly clear to me - can we say Corporate Greed in unison... - but within the space of a few minutes I was on the phone to to the bank while my daughter drove to her bank to deposit the check.
I asked to speak to the manager and was told she was busy and they would have her return my call.
When she did an hour later ( time enough to do a complete check on my financial history I am sure) I asked her what the purpose was to charging seven dollars to cash a check drawn from that bank if one does not have an account and is this legal ( 'cause I fully intend on calling the CT. Banking Comm. to find out). Her answer was that it is a small processing fee and it is approved. Hmmm.
Two days later I received a call from another woman. The head of the state division of said bank. I once again explained the situation, and posed the question, "Come on, how often would you cash a hundred dollar check or less from a part-time job and pay seven dollars?"
Well I was on a roll still mullin' things over and wondering how we have been caught up being held hostage by banking institutions attempting to monopolize the free world by forcing us to have an account with them in order to cash their checks, when I received a call today from the bank in question's corporate headquarters in another state. It is no help that a friend has been given the run around for the past three years on a refi deal. The seven dollars broke the camel's back if you will.
I went through the entire sad tale again. This woman assured me corporate would be dealing with my complaint personally. I was beginning to wonder if the entire personnel pool consisted of women. Ruthless ones at that. I hit her with my seven dollar story. Her solution was to open a savings account for the minimum twenty-five dollars required, that would 'qualify' as an account, eliminating the seven dollar check cashing processing fee. I advised her I had not yet heard back from the banking commission on the legality of the fee, but as long as she was trying to hold us hostage by forcing my daughter to actually open an account at their bank, would she mind telling me the minimum amount required in a savings account to avoid any fees on that? "Oh, she replied, well that would be a three-hundred dollar minimum." "Right, and what is the FEE, if one cannot afford to fork over the three hundred dollars, and starts with the twenty-five dollars?" The pause on the other end of my phone was significant. "Four-dollars and twenty-five cents. Per month."
Yup. That did it. I asked her how far removed she was from the days we were, as children, marched into the bank, given an official savings passbook with a five dollar gift from the bank. Something I did for my children as well. Every little thing that could be scraped up from shoveling snow, raking leaves or any other chore that a monetary reward could be claimed for was lugged down to the bank to put in the savings account. Every time a deposit was made, the interest was added in as well so watching the money grow made it all worth while.
I asked her to please file another complaint in my name regarding this little matter as well because while I was reminiscing about little kids and savings accounts I was punching numbers into my calculator. She said she would add this complaint and was there anything else she could help me with and not being one to turn down help of course I said yes. I went on to inform her that my daughter has worked this part-time job for well over two years, which means she would have cashed at least forty two checks in order to use cash and avoid being charged by her bank for writing checks (1.00 per check written- yet another pesky processing fee). This would, in fact, result in over three hundred dollars - required to maintain a "free" savings account - and would they like to refund the money they have charged to started a savings account for her?
It may be a stretch, but it could be part of the reason more children these days don't grow up appreciating the simple pleasures in life. Such as being thrilled with a giant root ball.
Or exploring uncharted territory with Mom.
Wisteria deep in the woods.
And violets just over the third stone wall.
In more agreeable matters......
Our INDOOR cats are now going OUTSIDE during the day...
The son built an escape hatch through the basement window.
Seen here being blocked by an indecisive soul.
They have a, er, birds eye view of the wildlife wandering through the yard.
And sunsets while we try to coax them inside at dusk.
Which is when the coyotes that are as big as a German Sheppard take their stroll.