The Newtown Pentacle

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Busy, busy, buzzy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another one of those annoyances which distract one from productive pursuits is a certain inclination corporate America has developed in the last few years. It seems that just as our elected and municipal officials seem to have largely forgotten whom their constituents actually are, so too have our corporate entities developed a lack of understanding as to what the nature of the “customer/services provider” relationship entails. A certain amount of pique, therefore, drove my steps as I headed over to a storefront outpost of a certain bank which has enjoyed collecting the fees associated with my various bits of financial business for nearly three decades in order to identify myself. The fact that they were able to reach me on the phone, and send me mail, was immaterial.

It seems that some new set of internal rules which their drones had determined as being necessary to safeguard the world from terror was missing from my account information, and it was the duty of the customer (me) to come to them and dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s.” The consequences for not doing so would be dire, with accounts closed and an inability to remove my limited funds from their institution without supplying them with the information which they so recently decided was required anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It should be mentioned that the account in question was opened in 1987, an era when a young Joe Piscopo taught America how to laugh and Saint Reagan was in office down in Washington. Upon arriving at the bank, the manager I sat down with (they don’t wear suits and ties anymore, these bank managers. Rather it’s corporate branded polo shirts) was informed that since his institution was wasting my time in a vociferous fashion, so too would this process take as long as it possibly could for him. I apologized in advance and got started.

One launched into an extensive conversation about the history of colonial Woodside and Maspeth, the trade relationships between the Nieuwe Stadt and Boswijck colonies along Newtown Creek during the Dutch colonial period, my thoughts about the current Mayor, and my opposition to the Mayor’s proposed Sunnyside Yards development. Discussion of the current state of the Mets, where to get a good egg sandwich in Astoria, and the relative merits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ensued.

After wasting after forty minutes of the gentleman’s time, I decided that I was satisfied and supplied him with the requested paperwork. He disappeared into the back room to make photocopies for their files and then returned telling me “you’re all set.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happily ensconced in the comfort of knowing that my accounts were not going to be frozen for the sin of not supplying 2015 era information to the institution back in 1987, one found himself wandering back in the general direction of HQ for around 15 minutes. That’s when my phone rang, and the manager announced that his photocopier had malfunctioned. A second trip to the bank was then called for, and this time I opted not to take it easy on them.

Using my tour guide voice to ensure that everybody in the bank, and likely in neighboring store fronts, could hear me – a long soliloquy began. This time I covered subjects ranging from the Rockefellers to LeCorbusier, mentioned a few bits about Robert Moses and the construction of the Whitestone Bridge, the declining quality of Italian style food in Western Queens, and how much enjoyment I find watching “The Strain” television show on the FX network which tells the story of a vampire takeover of NYC. Ending with the analogy that large financial institutions like the one I started a checking account with back in 1987 are in fact the true vampires of our modern age, I was handed back my paperwork and told “you’re all set.”

You waste my time, I’m going to waste yours.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 10, 2015 at 11:00 am

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