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Tropical Leaves

Dear Jeff

Dear Jeff,

Thank you, for the cake and for keeping our company afloat. I know that this pandemic has truly been a trial on the financial industry. So, I hope that you haven’t been put through too much trouble. We on the front line are truly grateful to you for the cake. It was also nice to see somebody from corporate, and Helen was very nice. She is actually who prompted us to email you, to thank you for all of the hard work you do. Being a CEO of a multi-billion-dollar company must be difficult sometimes. Anyway, thanks for letting us front line employees eat cake.

With Respect,


Dear Jeff,

I would like to give you more details on Helen’s visit. First off she cried. I still am not sure why. But it was interesting watching the Director of Brand Promise deliver a $50 cake and then cry about how thankful we should be for you. Quite a site. The second thing that I would like to bring up is that she was not wearing a mask. It wasn’t a huge deal, but you did just send out an email asking that ALL of your employees wear masks while on the clock. So, I don’t know, it just seemed sort of out of touch. The cake was nice, I guess. I have given it some thought, and I wonder if you wear your mask while at work? I somehow doubt it. We have affectionately named Helen, “weepy cake lady.”

Your humble Vault Teller,


Dear Jeff,

It’s noon and I should go to lunch, but it's been wildly busy. I will just push it off another hour. Another person comes through the drive thru, but goes to the second lane, the yellow lane. They ring the buzzer. Immediately I do not like them.

I put on my headset The buzzer rings again.


“Hi what can we do for you”

“Your ATM ate my cash, go get it out.”

“Okay, so were you depositing to this institution or another one?”

“Another one.”

“Okay so we don’t actually service our ATM, you will need to go to that institution and fill out an ATM dispute form and they should be able to get your cash back for you.”

“No. It’s your ATM go get it out. I don’t have time to go to the other place. I need that cash now.”

Their voice raises with every sentence.

“I don’t have the ability to open the ATM, I’m sorry.”

They drive off, if we were in a cartoon there would be smoke and skid marks. Within a minute I can hear somebody knocking on the glass doors out front.  Please let me leave. I do not want to deal with this. Thankfully my coworker grabs the door. I can only sort of hear the conversation, but I imagine it went like this:

“Hi sir, what seems to be the issue?”

“Your employee in the drive up was very rude I want to talk to your manager”

“Okay, to be in here you do need to wear a mask”

“Its my constitutional right not to.”

“It is our company policy that you are required to. If you wait here I can go and get my manager to explain it better for you.”

He angrily pulls out a crumpled mask out of his pocket and holds it up to his face before walking into my manager's office. I can’t hear what happened there, but he walked out pissed off.

My manager didn’t say anything to me. And I never saw the guy again.

C'est la vie


Hey Jeff,

It has been a few days. I wanted to share my thoughts on opening back up the lobby. They’re bad thoughts. I don’t think that we are ready for it. And it’s not just because of the thriving Animal Crossing Island that I have been cultivating on the clock. You see, now that you are requiring everyone who enters the branch, employee or not, to wear a mask we have been getting some backlash. As a teller we are facing a lot of criticism from our customer base. For example: I had a customer come up to me (no mask) and without me asking him to wear a mask (that we would give him) he begins to berate me, saying that it’s a ridiculous policy and that he is going to bank somewhere else. This has become the norm of course, people leaving our institution due to a mask mandate. But the thing is, I don’t think that we should have to be yelled at. I know this really doesn’t have anything to do with you, but we were one of the first financial institutions in our area to open up the lobby again. And while everyone should have expected that they would need a mask, they are still taking it out on the tellers as if we have any real power, or even get paid enough to deal with their complaints.

Woefully Understaffed and Underpaid


Dear Jeff,

Hey there bud, I have some complaints. Namely, how dare you think that a cake. One single cake. Was enough to keep us employed here. You really said, “Hey let’s give them some cake in lieu of a raise.” That won’t make anybody hate their job even more than they already do. I have been working here for two years now, and my pay has barely gone up, other institutions in the area, for my position, are offering on average three dollars more. I really don’t know why I am still here. Second. Jeff. Now that you have lifted the mask mandate on our customer base, but still require it for employees we have a new host of problems. While I think that still everyone should be wearing masks the customers who do come in with their mask pulled tightly up their face make the joke “Never thought I would come into a bank with a mask on” or the slightly more concerning, “give me all your money.” I dream of the day we are robbed, so that we can close the branch for even a moment. The second issue is with our customer base who refuses to wear masks within the branch. I don’t mind the majority of them, but there is a select few. They demand that we take off our masks. Or they complain on our behalf about us having to wear that mask. “That damned mask. How can you breathe? They cry!” To both camps of these customers my response mainly stays the same. A deadpan chuckle, and with my cold dead eyes I ask them if they wanted to deposit this cash in checking or savings. This might have been confusing so let me take you through a typical transaction, Me: Hi, welcome in, what can I do for you?

Customer: Give me all your money.

Me: *Stares blankly for an uncomfortable amount of time* What can I do for you.

Customer: deposit

Me: Checking or savings?

Is murder an option? Asking for a friend,


Dear Jeff,

My last email was likely a lot. And for that I apologize, but I thought about the cake today. And I felt that you needed some more information about my day. There is an older gentleman who comes in every day. He doesn’t like to wear a mask, so he comes through the drive-thru. I am usually on the drive thru. He asks about his balance, every day. Yesterday, he told my coworker Nicole, “You look beautiful without a mask on” when she went to take a sip of water. Today he handed me a pamphlet on the LDS Plan of Salvation. I was already well versed in this having grown up in the religion. But let me tell you, this was not that same plan. We really didn’t even touch the basics of that plan. This pamphlet that he himself wrote, was basically a long rant against vaccination, and how a certain lame duck president will rise up as president, “Much to the surprise of many Americans.” Anyway, he told my other coworker that if they got the vaccine they would die in three months. I guess time will tell on that one.

Very Concerned for the Elderly,


Dear Jeff,

I regret to inform you that the man’s wife, who I mentioned in my last email, has passed. Please disregard any rude notions attached to that message.

Feeling a little bad


Hey Jeff,

I wanted to tell you a story, the setting should be familiar to you as it is the branch that you visited just a few days ago, (which really caught me off guard if I am being honest) I apologize for not wearing my name tag, but I need to tell you something important about that. Every day I work here our customers come up to me and talk to me like I am a machine. Don’t get me wrong, I understand what my job is and how to do it efficiently. I can make a cash deposit in under a minute-don’t quote me on that- but some customers come in and talk to me like I am some sort of mental health professional (trust me. I am not.). And that’s why I don’t wear the name tag. I need that anonymity, I need to be the blank wall that they see every day, because these people do come in every. Single. Day. I have heard of dead brothers, wives, children, even grandchildren. Not to mention the nearly dead that I hear about. It’s of morbid curiosity to hear about this one woman’s life. She will come in at least once a week. She and her husband. Her face is ghostly white with make-up, and her hair is always done in some style that would have been popular thirty years ago. Did I mention that she is at least 65? She will cash a check from “rich grandma” and then tell me about her children, she has four. Two girls and two boys. One boy works for the government, while the other is out in California working for a streaming service. Her daughters didn’t fare as well. One is disabled but can’t get on disability due to some bullshit reasons according to her parents. The other is terminally ill. I don’t think I am telling you this to make you feel pity for the members, or really even for us in the “trenches'' but maybe don’t make us wear the name tag. I don’t need to hear updates on the deaths of those around me as much…

Anyway, sorry for the long winded email. Hope your day was better than mine.

Desperately tired,


Dear Jeff,

It’s raining again, whenever it rains, we are busy. It’s as if people are conditioned to go to the bank on wet days. The days where the speakers in the drive up seem to work less than well. Where the mood in the branch has drifted to a quiet steady, the tapping of keys, the occasional wail of a child. It’s on these days that I wonder what I am doing here. Safety precautions are at a low, I am the only person who is actively cleaning anything anymore, and I am expected to do it for the entire branch. But all I want to do is stare out the window and watch the rain as it comes down. Somebody comes through the drive up and asks me to add a few more zeros to their check, I laugh it off. It’s not a new joke despite what they may think. The long stretches of time seem to pass in at a snail’s pace, the ticking of the clock dragging the day out further. The same four dozen faces come into the branch and then leave. I want to be anywhere else. I want to run out in the rain and just lie down on the pavement. But instead, I am here, sitting at a desk, giving out 20$ bills to people who don’t know who I am and never will.

I don’t know anymore,



Hey Jeff,

I’m pissed again. So like what the hell? Oh you’re probably confused, well let me enlighten you. We just received an email from HR stating that your company will no longer be giving people two weeks off if they catch COVID. I think personally that’s a mistake, but like you do you? I guess? What makes this more upsetting is that anybody who caught COVID pre January of 2021 got two weeks of company supplied sick pay. Yet starting this month, that is no longer an option for any employee. Meaning that if I catch COVID as a full time employee, I have to use my own accrued sick pay in order to not lose a substantial amount of income. But my part time coworkers now will just be out of money. Due to them not being eligible in this company to accrue sick pay.

Where did this extra time off go? FURTHER, SIR. The new policy states that even if you have come in contact with somebody who has caught COVID, such as a spouse, or roommate. That as long as you are not experiencing symptoms, you should still be at work. So not only did you take away this extra bank of time off, but you also are expecting your employees to come to work sick.

Get bent. Justin.

Hey Jeff,

Me again. It’s been a few weeks and I think I’m sorry? Maybe? Probably not. I said what I said. Thank you for the plexiglass shields in front of the teller line, I think they’re a little late, but useful nonetheless so thanks. On that line, hey, why did you take the plexiglass shields away. We only had them for a few short months. With cases rising again will we be getting them back? Or will you be sending a cake? I hear that a lot of employees are moving to different institutions. I have been considering it myself. After all, I know that the bank down the street from us, is still not offering in-branch services. I think that would be a nice change of pace. I think I might get yelled at by customers less. Anyway, thanks for the cake a year ago. It really meant a lot. To all of us.

I think I hate you,


Dear Jeff,

The branch is back to normal status, long lines of people wait out front, but now they are demanding coin. Because of course there is a coin shortage. It hasn’t really affected us, but everyone thinks that it has. An older man walks in and makes eye contact with me. I know him, not by name but by action. And I am dreading it. He plops down two film canisters filled with gold coins.

“Give me two rolls of gold dollar coin, no silver coins, and no Sacagawea’s.”

In my head I’m saying Oh hello, how are you?

But I respond, “okeydoke” I pull the coins and begin to walk over to the coin machine to count the coins.

“No don’t run them through the machine it's always wrong” I hate you.

“Okay sure” And then I count out the 48 gold dollar coins that he had, “you’re two short of 50.”

“So pull them from my account”


“Um yeah, can I just get your I.D.?”

I get the coins, give them to him, he examines them carefully, he can only see four coins total as the rest of them are covered by the roll. But he looks to make sure that I followed his two very simple rules. Then he walks away.

It was nice helping you too sir.

“Have a nice day!”

Just another day…


Dear Jeff,

This is my formal resignation letter, I guess. I think the day my manager moved back to corporate headquarters really marks when I knew I couldn’t stay any longer. I’m not mad about this job anymore, I don't think, just exhausted by it. Tired of how things are done, sick of trying to make my coworkers stay in this situation. Tired of trying to pretend that a cake is enough to solve problems. There is something freeing about leaving the place where you have been for three years. I don’t have a job lined up and I think that that is okay for now. I do know that I never want to work in finance, so thanks for showing me that, I guess. I think you should know that working during the time when I did for you, there were a lot of good times, and the people who work there for the most part I consider my family. But the way that we were treated doesn’t align with the values that you pride yourself on for the company. It’s ironic I think that we are to serve the community but receive direct orders to go against that. And I understand that a financial institution's purpose is to make money, but at what point does that turn exploitative to not only the customers but to the employees? Anyway, it’s been a blast Jeff. Really glad I don’t have to go back there again.

With only the respect you deserve,


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