Ding Dong

My bank tries to pretend it’s down-to-earth and homey by putting up little signs that encourage its patrons to ring the bells at the tellers’ windows and customer service representatives’ stations. The bank likes to compensate for extorting its customers by way of ridiculously high minimum balance requirements and charging outrageous fees for the most basic of services, so these charming placards provide the friendly touch that eases any tension engendered thereby.
I have been known to ring the bell upon receiving the excellent customer service for which my bank prides itself. And I must say that the service I’ve received at the branch in my neighborhood has indeed been excellent, so the bell wasn’t rung capriciously. The service I received when opening my account at an uptown branch was deplorable &#151 but that’s another story that I won’t recount, because not only are the details boring, but recalling them gets me mad, and I so enjoy being full of good spirit, sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns!
Anyway, the other day I was told by the sign to ring the bell if the teller used my name during the transaction. As I waited in line for my turn at one of the windows (yes, I still wait in line like a regular person; I don’t play the “Don’t you know who I am!?” card unless I’m in a real rush or I’m feeling particularly impatient), I started to fret. Would the teller say my name? Did I even want her to say my name? If she said it, should I ring the bell? Or should I just ignore the sign’s cheerful invitation?
I didn’t think I had anything to worry about, because for the duration of my wait, I didn’t hear one bell ring. Apparently, I noted to myself with a slight huff, the tellers disregarded the memo that addressed the name/bell concept. Apparently, I fussed, those signs were there just for show. Appaaaaaarently, I fretted, shifting from foot to foot, customer happiness means absolutely nothing to these employees. Oh, why didn’t I send someone to stand in line for me!?
So you can imagine my surprise when I was caught completely off guard at the end of my transaction. “Thank you, Jodi!” the teller said in a friendly voice.
What the … who the … why the … Huh??!
I paused. I didn’t know what to do. Did I just leave, the way everyone else did, and ignore the polite request of the little sign? Did I show that I was just another cold-hearted, grim-faced, pole-up-the-ass bank customer? What to do? Should I ring the bell and risk looking like an absolute dork?
A slow motion replay of my other experience with the bell instantly filled the movie screen in my mind, and I remembered the sunshine and rainbows that shone on downtown Manhattan as a result of my singular bell-ringing. I remembered people of all races, religions, weights, and shoe price ranges joining hands and hugging. Music drifting on a honeysuckle-scented breeze and the angelic tinkle of children’s laughter and song.
So of course I rang the bell … ! …
… then left the bank, and as I went to skip down the two steps onto the sidewalk, slid on a streak of someone’s spilled smoothie and landed face first on a gelatinous gob of freshly expectorated human sputum.
Today I received a settlement check from the bank in the amount of $24,000,000, for my public humiliation (“Don’t you know who I am!?” I cried in court!). I plan to deposit some of it into my old account. And even if the teller says my name (oh, and they will!), I will not ring the bell!
Oooh, yes, the paycheck is superb. But payback — oh, it’s even more divine!