Tuesday, October 18, 2011

King for a Day

The richest 1% of Americans own 40% of the nation’s wealth; the least well-off 80%, a mere 7%. This disparity in income is the widest since the eve of the Great Depression. So, what exactly is wrong with this picture? Well, a local gourmet market, which practically everybody raves about in the neighborhood—mostly folks among the unwashed 80%, by the way—was charging $7 for a basket of strawberries today. And I could cite a few more examples…but I won’t.

I’d rather bask in the glow—of my one brief shining moment—when I was among that illustrious 1%. A couple of weeks ago, I deposited a $150 check in a local branch of a really, really big bank. To make a long story short, I needed to check my bank balance. I had to see if that aforementioned $150 check had cleared, and whether some checks I had written had been cashed. I feared there might very well be a close call or two between deposits made and checks paid out, and very possibly a humiliating $32 overdraft charge—which I believe is the current fee—for me coming up an inch short and not beating the clearance clock.

Anyway, when the statement of my last five transactions appeared on the ATM machine screen before me, my $150 deposit was listed as $15,000,000—that’s, if you're keeping score, five more zeroes. My available balance also had five more zeroes attached to it. I became jelly-legged while poring over this astonishing visual. And, no, I didn’t go into the bank proper and withdraw a couple of million dollars—and not because it was closed for the day. In retrospect, I should have at least printed out a copy of my statement.

I felt, for some strange reason, guilty—like I had done something wrong—as I scurried out of the bank’s ATM alcove a very rich man. I returned the next morning to see if I had been relegated to pauper. I had indeed. Okay, so I didn’t have to go into the bank and inform them the $15,000,0000 was all a mistake…but not my mistake. I always wondered whether the bank would have given me a reward for my honesty. You know…like no overdraft fees for a year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.