I want you to know that sometimes I learn the lesson with you.
Time for you to learn some basic money handling skills. Now I’m not the Madea of Money, but I know a lil’ bit. Also, I have lots of hip hop albums that talk about money.
You have three coin banks. One for giving. One for saving. One for spending. All year, you go through couch cushions, car seats, probably my purse while I’m sleeping and you amass a small fortune. At the end of the year, I decide we are going to cash this all in. Deposit the Save to your account. Decide how we want to use money to make the world a better place with your Give. And BALL OUT OF MOTHERFUCKING CONTROL with the Spend.
So I decide that this is the morning for a grand lesson. We are going to deposit your savings into your account. Sure I could just take all your change for you and give you money, but I want you to HANDLE YOUR MONEY.
“Number three: never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms’ll set that ass up, properly gassed up”
And I will. To teach you a lesson. This weekend at Target, you wanted to borrow the money until the banks opened on Monday. I turned into The Godfather.
Or worse, Sallie Mae.
You thought you had $60. I told you I would charge you 20% on the loan. So spend 50 bucks today and next week pay me my fiddy plus the VIG of 10 bones. Or, wait and get your full duckets.
This is like my Hood Marshmallow Test …
… and you passed. You opted to wait until Monday. AND you understood the basic principle which is that borrowing money is not free.
Cash rules everything around you. Not credit.
Anyhow, we go to our bank, Wells Fargo. I want you to experience depositing money into your savings account. The teller comes back with a funny pinched look … their coin counting machine is broooooken. She’s so sorry.
I blink. Decide not to make a scene, as I’m sure they will arrest me and put you in foster care before 10:30.
Head to grocery store for Coinstar. Broken.
By now, the corners of your mouth are in your shoes. You SOOOOOO want to spend your Spend bank but you know I won’t let you because you pay yourself first.
We go to Capital One. I don’t have a bank account at Capital One. We go in and explain and ask for their coin counter … they don’t have one. “Those things are always broken,” says the manager.
Now the corners of my mouth are in my shoes.
“Well what do you do for customers who have coins?”
You know what this Capital One branch (1801 E. 51st in Austin) does? They get out trays that sort coins and paper tubes. If the morning is slow, as it was, they sit down with a six year old boy and his frazzled mom who is trying to teach him about money but is now late for work. The manager and a teller take a bank and carefully sort your hard-scrounged fortune into them and package your coins into satisfying rolls.
Mr. C. talked to you the whole time. He showed you how the tray works. He examined your foreign coins and talked to you about where they came from. He asked about your coin collection at home.
Ms. A, the manager, laughed a big bright laugh with you and called you Captain America which is the way to your heart.
And as I sat poking my finger into a paper tube, I realized that I needed to settle down and accept the lessons you were learning.
I want you to know that plans don’t go as planned. Sometimes you gotta figure out another way to get what you want. You were learning visually - how these coins made dollars. You were counting. You learned that bankers are your partners.
I would be remiss if I didn’t put on my Hey Lady voice and say, “This is also a lesson about EXCELLENT customer service.”
And most importantly? You learned that showing simple kindness can make someone’s day. I know that when I walked into Capital One I probably had my stank face on due to frustration. They were nice to us and it turned everything around.
At the end, they placed your dividends into neatly labeled envelopes with the totals written on paper inside. They made no money off that transaction.
But that interaction made me feel so good about the other accounts I have with Capital One? I’m not thinking banking. Banking with them never crossed my mind. I thought of them more as a credit card company.
That is called a “consideration set.” We’ll talk about that another time.