Merchants Have Gotten a Little Too Chummy—Or Have They?

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2014-08-12 – Now that my birthday is past, I have a few comments on the birthday wishes I received.

Most came through Facebook. A few came through email. Some came in person. They were all heartfelt and I appreciated them. None came by phone, except one from my insurance agent (I didn’t hear it ring, so I got a voice mail) and one from my dentist. My insurance agent is about 20 miles from here, so I suppose the phone was appropriate. My dentist is two blocks from here. He could have walked over to say happy birthday, but I suppose that would have been creepier than having a recorded phone message deliver his well wishes.

Merchants have gotten a little too chummy, don’t you think?

Then there’s the greeting I got from my bank that popped up on the ATM when I went to get some cash. “Happy Birthday” it said, as I heard the gears spinning to deliver my cash. “Have a great day!”

I didn’t know the bank cared.

A few minutes ago, my wife came over to me and handed me her cell phone. It was the same bank. They wanted me to authorize her to complete a transaction in the account.

It’s a joint account!

They wish me happy birthday, but they don’t seem to know that I have authorized my wife, the joint owner of the account, dozens or even hundreds of times over the years. I don’t know why they can’t seem to remember that little detail. Is it because she is a woman? Is it because I was the original sole owner of the account before we were married? 20-some years ago? Before the current bank acquired the account in some sort of merger or acquisition? (Maybe we should require the current bank to recertify their acquisition repeatedly before we will talk to its representative.)

The odd thing about this is that some Russian hacker could steal my password and empty my account without all the questions and personal verification. But the joint-owner of the account is given a hard time.

We’ll see if the bank wishes my wife and joint account holder a happy birthday next time hers comes around.

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