Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Breakup: The End of an Era

So while I'm reading a thoroughly titillating book--John Updike's Couples, as you can see on my sidebar--my life is as humdrum as the book is exciting. Well, not true, but just for fun, I'd like to compare my recent breakup, with my longtime bank, Chase Bank (formerly Bank One) to the break up of one of the book's many adulterous couples. There are actually a lot of parallels:

  • Protagonist contractor Piet Hamena breaks it off with dentist's wife, Georgene Thorne, over a phone call at work.
  • Protagonist account-holder Elaine Meyer breaks it off with a Chase Bank account representative over a phone call at home.
  • Piet loses interest in Georgene because he begins a relationship with another woman, Elizabeth "Foxy" Whitman: Foxy is younger, new to town, and--the kicker--she's pregnant!
  • I lose interest in Chase Bank because I have begun a banking relationship in Washington, D.C.: Bank of America has banking centers and ATMs in both Chicago and D.C., and one could say BoA is "pregnant" with ever-more banking centers, as it also has several abroad and claims it is still expanding (Chase, you were just too slow to expand. Banking centers in West Virginia? Sorry, not close enough).
  • Piet's relationship with Foxy is known of by everyone in town except his wife, Angela, and her husband, Ken.
  • My relationship with Bank of America was known by everyone except Chase--that is, everyone who cared enough to listen to my riveting story about me switching banks because I had moved.
  • When Piet essentially breaks it off with Georgene, she becomes desperate, begging him to just come over and visit her for 15 minutes. Nonetheless, what she offers isn't enough to sustain a dying affair.
  • When I end it with Chase, they become desperate, offering me free banking and a free account without minimum balance requirements. Nonetheless, what they offer isn't enough--my Bank of America account already has free (or "free"--they are getting my money, after all!) banking and no minimum balance requirements with direct deposit.
So in a time when our relationships with the service sector and the financial sector are treated as delicate and as personal as our relationships with actual people, it becomes hard to sever ties with an old brand or old institution, even if that institution itself isn't very old and in fact is a very impersonal worldwide chain.

At least we can always call our bank if we need late night company or just want to check up on an account. After all, the customer call centers are open at all hours of the day and night, nowadays.


Chris said...

And the best part about breaking up with a bank is that there's no way for the two of you to stay friends.

Elaine said...

Haha, yes, an awkward stage entirely avoided because those banks are just so aloof once you break up with them.

Steph said...

i will speak for mr. too-good-to-comment-on-blogs and forewarn you that BoA is EVIL! they entice you under the pretense that all these things are "free" but they peck away at you later on with fees for the most preposterous things (e.g., a financial reference letter). tread lightly, my friend.