Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sinking Ship - Features - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

So it was with fairly unmixed feelings that I went to say good-bye to you. I waited for a long time. Finally I was granted an audience with you, as represented by a slightly wild-eyed assistant manager. I told you that I would like to close my account. You asked me why. I said that I was concerned about the health of the institution. You asked me why. I said that I'd been keeping abreast of the situation in the media and that I'd been advised by two people whose financial expertise I respected to close my account. I also said that I was pressed for time. You asked me who these two people were, which I did not feel was any of your business, but I answered. You told me that that the media was acting irresponsibly and reporting things that were "just untrue," and that word-of-mouth was causing people to make "emotional decisions." I said, "This is not an emotional decision." I said that I was sorry for your predicament; I said that surely you could understand that I wanted my money in the safest possible place. You told me (at length) that my money was safe. I said that I understood what "FDIC insured" meant, and that I also understood there might be a gap when my money might be unavailable. You said that this was not true. I took your business card from the holder on your desk and began making notes on it.

This went on for a long time. I began to hate you, Washington Mutual. I said that I would like to close my account and that I was pressed for time three separate times. I said that I did not want to continue this conversation. You became increasingly agitated, and you browbeat me, intimating that I did not understand financial matters and saying that I was being "rash." I did not say, "Would you say that to a man?" But would you, Washington Mutual? You did not say it to Tim Keck, the publisher of this paper, when he closed his account the day before I did. Mr. Keck was neither rash nor emotional: He was merely a man who wanted his money.

2:56 PM