"Sir, we can only serve vehicles in the drive-through."
"That's fine. Minnesota state law says I'm a vehicle." and I pushed Send. Whoosh! Off it went.
A couple of minutes went by. Whooosh, back came the canister.
With the check and deposit slip still in it.
The speaker piped up again.
"Sir, my name is Suzanne (? it started with an S). We can only serve motorizedvehicles in these lanes. You'll have to come inside to make this deposit."
Motorized vehicles? That's not what the original teller said. Screw 'em. I took the check and deposit slip out and left. Time to write a letter or three.
- It's my wife's paycheck, which she gets twice a month and we deposit in this bank. My wife is on the checking account.
- The amount of the paycheck is not reportable under the Patriot Act (I wish it was!).
- I wasn't asking for any cash back, it was a simple deposit.
- I've deposited at this branch before off my bicycle.
- We have a long relationship with Norwest/Wells Fargo, including car loan, musical instrument loan, mortgages in Des Moines and here and the refinance a couple of years ago, a credit card and a checking account. While CFO at a small company in Des Moines we had a $2 million line of credit with Norwest that I arranged. We are not new customers.
- We're not even just customers; I worked for Norwest Document Custody (I was a stinking temp) for a year (basically 1996) running a project to reconcile their vault contents and computer systems which had become almost comically screwed up. I ran the project.
- Norwest used to support cycling, even running the fabulous Norwest Cup race in Minneapolis from 1993-1995. They are the main sponsor of Maryland's MS150 this year and sponsored a criterium in Boise last year.
- Wells Fargo's own advertising doesn't have a motorized vehicle--it's a horse-drawn stagecoach. Ironic that they'd refuse to accept a deposit from the vehicle central to their branding strategy.
What to do? I'm going to contact Wells Fargo and see what they have to say. What possible reason could they have to make life more difficult for cyclists? Why is my wife's paycheck deposit fine if I stick it in the plastic canister out a car window but so radioactive they won't touch it when I'm on a bicycle? What if I ride a Stokemonkey-powered Xtracycle up to the drive-up, would it then be ok? How about a 25cc gasoline-powered Cyclemaster? What if I were Amish? Does it matter to them that I normally shut off my engine while using the drive-through when I engage in transactions while in a motor vehicle?
I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else has run into this problem at a bank. I volunteer on a credit union Supervisory Committee so know there are fishy transactions, and if I wanted $12,000 in cash or to change the account address or get cash back without an ID I would understand, I hope they'd have me come inside for those even if I was in a motorized vehicle, but to refuse to accept a straight deposit because I'm on a bicycle is just stupid.
I've heard of people having troubles at fast food restaurants although I have personally gone through MacDonald's drive-throughs on my bike as long ago as 1983 and as recently as last summer with no hassles.
I'll write Wells Fargo this weekend and we'll see where this goes.
Meanwhile, off to the movies! I'll see you there!
PS Late addition: Take a look here to see a photo I took last summer of one of Wells Fargo's preferred motorized customers.