The Pen at the Bank.

posted in: Day In The Life 16
The second note. Photo: Me.
The second note. Photo: Me.


I am waging a war with a pen. Actually, I am waging a war with a Citibank ATM vestibule.

The only reason I “like” banking at Citibank is that in the 15 years I have been a customer, Citibank has not been absorbed by a series of other banks like most everyone else’s bank seems to be.

It happens all the time around here: On Tuesday, you’re banking at Bankorama and then Bankorama gets bought out by Blinky Bank; by Wednesday, you’re a Blinky Banker. Then Blinky Bank gets bought out by Ba-Donk-a-Donk Bank and now when people ask you “So where do you keep your life’s savings and petty cash?” you have to say, “At Ba-Donk-a-Donk Bank.” You do not have to say that for long, thankfully, because it’s only a matter of time before Ba-Donk-a-Donk Bank gets…you get the idea.

Citibank has consistency going for them and I appreciate that, but I’ve had plenty of run-ins with statement errors and exorbitant fees. I’ve endured agonizingly slow service and I’ve overdrawn my account a few times. (It just feels better to blame them for that.)

But not until this spring did I question my loyalty. Why did I question my loyalty?

Because the pen in the ATM vestibule of the Michigan and Monroe branch has been dead since May. May! 

I told them in May. With a chipper attitude, I let the tellers know that the metal pen on the cord attached to the table in the ATM vestibule was not functioning and that they might want to replace it. Several weeks later, finding myself without a pen and needing to deposit a $1m check (just kidding, it was $40), I told them again. Next time I’m at the bank — after hours this time — and need a pen… Same pen! That pen has no ink! The pen is just a metal nib that scratches paper but does not mark! How hard is it to change out the pen?!

I started leaving notes. In the vestibule one evening, I took an envelope out of the trash and wrote — with a pen I found in my purse, thank goodness — “Fix this pen!!” and I stabbed the pen through the envelope so it might be seen.

No dice. That pen is still the same pen. So I left another note, which you can see above. I’ll leave one more because it’s really fun and funny to yell at a bank about a pen, but if nothing changes, I shall write a stern letter. I can only do a few things really well in life and baby, writing a stern letter is definitely one of them.

In fact, if you ever need a stern letter, call me. I’ll pen one for you.


16 Responses

  1. Joan Elkins
    | Reply

    Credit unions are way better, have very hateful feelings toward CITIbank, very hateful and I usually have a very sweet disposition, you know, see the good in all things, etc…

  2. Sandra Weimer
    | Reply

    You make me laugh! Love it!

  3. Penny
    | Reply

    Find a credit union, much better than aNY bank

  4. Britiney
    | Reply

    Oh, honey. Do I EVER need a stern letter! But you don’t want to get me started. Huff.

  5. Ruth
    | Reply

    Maybe it’s not the same pen. Maybe they replaced it and the new one ran out of ink, too. I know that my personal pens don’t last forever, and the ones in the bank probably don’t, either, especially with more use.
    PS. Your new very, very light font is hard to read.

    • Betty
      | Reply

      Perhaps her printer is…..out of ink

  6. Colleen
    | Reply

    I love it.
    I only compose stern letters in my mind

  7. Cherie
    | Reply

    And that’s why I bank at the local credit union and make all deposits via my phone.

  8. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    I may take you up on that offer some day, Mary!

  9. Tracey
    | Reply

    I wrote a stern letter a couple of days ago. Not about an empty pen,, although my bank also has empty pens with very short chains that are equally stern-letter worthy, I was particularly pleased with my stern but non- threatening or demanding letter (because to demand or threaten is just not polite in good social circles don’t you find? ) and it did the trick. Result! Stern letters are definitely needed sometimes.

  10. Susan Sebree
    | Reply

    Mary, you make my day ! Thru all life’s trials, keep your stellar personality.

  11. Pam Williams
    | Reply

    Seems like it’s time to explore your options!!

  12. Jess @ Quilty Habit
    | Reply

    When you started talking about ATM vestibules, all I could think about was that Friends episode where Chandler is stuck in one. 😀 At this point, I love using the mobile deposit feature at my bank, so I never actually have to go to the bank except in dire occasions. Good luck!

  13. Heather
    | Reply

    As someone who works for a credit union, I love all the CU love in the comments section. 🙂

    I also enjoy writing stern letters!

  14. Dale Odberg
    | Reply

    Hahaga, A real pain..things like that drive me insane. When I worked for the Roysl Bank of Canada I was put in charge of Chang the pen refills….best job I ever had,,,coukd go around change the refills and gave a chat with the tellers, was great..much more fun than being in the paper sorting room for the rest of the day!

  15. Ang
    | Reply

    After I gave birth to my 1st daughter, I ended up in a hospital room with the TV remote not working on the hospital bed. Not the end of the world, but would have been nice to have this working after 27 hours of labor. Left a comment on the comment card that it was broken. A year and a half later, I end up in the same room, 2nd daughter, and it’s still not fixed! Lots of exclamation points on that 2nd card, because, honestly, walking around right after birth is NOT fun.

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