Monday, September 15, 2008


Today, my bank informed me that I'm now eligible for a wonderful new scheme! Wa-hoo! I've made it! I belong!

If my checking account falls below zero - which is invariably - instead of an overdraft fee of twenty five dollars, they will transfer money from my savings account to cover it! How awesome is that?

< / sarcasm >

First off, how ridiculous is it to have an "overdraft fee" at all? If I've got no money in my account, where am I supposed to find twenty five dollars to pay it? Secondly, check out the small print: instead of the twenty five buck overdraft fee, there's now a minimal ten dollar fee for the transfer. Yes my dears, they are charging me ten dollars of my own money, for moving my money from one of my accounts to another of my accounts. The really funny thing was that the teller was so excited to tell me this, like she was handing over a big comedy outsized cheque, a la Ed McMahon. Oh thanks, Mrs Teller! Thanks for providing such wonderful service whereby I get shafted by your crappy piece of shite bank AGAIN.

Now, I'm not a monster. I can, at least, somewhat understand the philosophy of ATM fees (that's Automatic Teller Machine - sorry to disappoint all you fans of gonzo porn). I can't defend how they keep going up, but I can at least understand them. What I'm having trouble with is the bank (Chase, in case you were interested) charging me money for moving money from one Chase account in my name, to another Chase account in my name. WTF am I paying for, exactly? This pish is all automated. It's not like some drongo in a blue sweater has to take time out of her busy day to do it manually. Where is my ten spot going, exactly?

After I was told of this exciting offer (eeee! give it to me one more time!) the thought of automation struck me, and I was reminded of simpler days in the life of Spikey; when I wore a younger man's clothes. Now, I was never a big bang whizz at programming my clunky old shoebox Commodore 64, but I did have a somewhat working knowledge of the programming language BASIC. It's been a looong time since I tampered with BASIC, but I tells you what... I bet I could, in less than an afternoon, write a very simple little program that would automate - for free, mind'y - the savings-to-checking transaction. All with those funky little sideways triangles. What you're seeing here is a simplified version of the program, which would require "checking" and "savings" to be represented by what's called a 'string' command. The 'string' command - which happens to be a dollar sign - would just throw confusion into the mix, since we're dealing with money. So, all you BASIC nerds who are probably already composing a far better and more effective program to post in the comments section, take that into consideration. Also take into consideration that I've edited this post four times now to correct places where my BASIC programming goes all weird. I fix it and within a day or so, it's wrong again. Particularly line 50 - maybe Blogger was built on BASIC and it's trying to put money into my account.

10 REM SPIKE IS A SEXY EFFING BEAST YPRICK (that line's just so anyone who performs a runstop knows just who is in the drivers seat here. REM commands don't generally like punctuation, so they tend to look like a text-mad eighteen year old wrote them.)
20 PRINT "I DID THIS FOR FREE, CHASE. SO G.T.F" (that will print that statement on the screen. First. Thing.)
30 REM ALRIGHT ENOUGH DICKING ABOUT HERE IT COMES (this means that the fun's over and it's on to the real sheet.)
50 IF CHECKING <>(easy stuff here. If my checking account is less than zero, it forwards you to line 70. If it's more than zero (ha!) then it tells you 'ALL IS WELL'. Reassuring, huh?)

Alright, here's where I get fuzzy on BASIC, so I'm winging it here. But you'll get the general idea.

(this line, if I had a better memory, would be the command that would move a pre-determined amount of money from savings to checking. As it stands, I'm fuzzy on my commands and, as I said, it would take an afternoon of re-learning the basics of BASIC. Don't judge, piety is a very unattractive quality.)
100 GOTO 10

And there you have it. A simple little routine - a free routine - that does, for free, what Chase wants to screw me out of a tenner for. And in BASIC! You realise that there are Word documents on your computer that take up more memory than was in a Commodore 64?

And so, in closing,


Chris James said...

Chase once upped our fixed interest rate on a CC from the low teens to 29.99% with some fine print about how if we wanted our old rate restored, you have to call and bitch out two layers of phone zombies til you get a friendly employee who is actually authorized to restore the low rate.

I wonder how many people who throw things away without reading them or who actually believed "Paul" from Bangalore and Steve from Washington, DC that having them transfer you to a real employee would get any results.

That said, they always have the hawtest tellers of any of the local banks.

Chris James said...

I left out part of the third paragraph. Staple "got stuck with rates usually only seen at payday lenders." on the end.

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