For all who have ever had any dealings with the banks..... This is an
actual letter sent to a Bank in the US. The Bank thought it amusing
enough to publish it in the New York Times.

Dear Bank Manager,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing the cheque with which I
endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations some
three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque,
and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I
refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire
salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has only been in place for eight

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity,
and also for debiting my account with $50 by way of penalty for the
inconvenience I caused your bank. My thankfulness springs from the
manner in which this incident has caused me to re-think my errant
financial ways.

You have set me on the path of fiscal righteousness. No more will our
relationship be blighted by these unpleasant incidents, for I am
restructuring my affairs in 2000, taking as my model the procedures,
attitudes and conduct of your very own bank. I can think of no greater
compliment, and I know you will be excited and proud to hear it. To
this end, please be advised about the following:

First, I have noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone
calls and letters, when I try to contact you I am confronted by the
impersonal, ever-changing, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank
has become. From now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh and
blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and
hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by
cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee of your
branch, whom you must nominate.

You will be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any
other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an
Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to
complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know
as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no
alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history
must be countersigned by a Justice of the Peace, and that the mandatory
details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and
liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she
must quote in all dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter
than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button
presses required to access my account balance on your phone bank
service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further by introducing you to my
new telephone system, which you will notice, is very much like yours.
My Authorised Contact at your bank, the only person with whom I will
have any dealings, may call me at any time and will be answered by an
automated voice. By pressing Buttons on the phone, he/she will be
guided through an extensive set of menus:

1. To make an appointment to see me.

2. To query a missing repayment.

3. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

4. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there;
Extension of living room to be communicated at the time the
call is received.

5. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping;
Extension of bedroom to be communicated at the time the call
is received.

6. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to
nature; Extension of toilet to be communicated at the time the
call is received.

7. To transfer the call to my mobile phone in case I am not at home.

8. To leave a message on my computer. To leave a message a password
to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated
at a later date to the contact.

9. To return to the main menu and listen carefully to options 1
through 9.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my
automated answering service. While this may on occasion involve a
lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration. This month
I've chosen a refrain from The Best Of Woody Guthrie:

......."Oh, the banks are made of marble
With a guard at every door
And the vaults are filled with silver
That the miners sweated for"

After twenty minutes of that, our mutual contact will probably know it
off by heart.

On a more serious note, we come to the matter of cost. As your bank has
often pointed out, the ongoing drive for greater efficiency comes at a
cost - a cost which you have always been quick to pass on to me. Let me
repay your kindness by passing some costs back.

First, there is the matter of advertising material you send me. This I
will read for a fee of $20/page. Enquiries from your nominated contact
will be billed at $5 per minute of my time spent in response. Any debits
to my account, as, for example, in the matter of the penalty for the
dishonoured cheque, will be passed back to you. My new phone service runs
at 75 cents a minute (even Woody Guthrie doesn't come free), so you would
be well advised to keep your enquiries brief and to the point.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an
establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous New Year.

Your humble client.

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