One of the most terrifying aspects of running a small business is that I occasionally have to deal with Scary Bank Ladies.  It used to be worse, but thanks to ATMs and online banking, I can generally avoid having to go into the bank itself.  But every once in a while, someone will send a check that for whatever reason is made out to myself rather than to the business, and then it is Once More Unto The Breach, dear friends.  I despairingly gather up all the documentation and identification that I can find, and push my way through the Glass Doors of Doom, where I am immediately confronted with cold, horrified expressions and the near-simultanous lunch breaks of every Scary Bank Lady who has ever had to deal with me in the past.  Apparently, the SBLs have their own name for me, and I get the impression it isn’t complimentary.

But there is always a remaining sacrificial rookie, or sometimes one of the more experienced Scary Bank Ladies who was unfortunate enough to be looking the wrong way when I came in, and I shuffle up to them, nervously dropping documents left and right.

Honestly, I don’t see why it has to be so hard.  Our family has been banking there for a quarter century.  They know me, they know my wife (who has no problem with the SBL, and actually prefers to deal with them directly) and my name is plastered all over the business account documents.  But for whatever reason, I can’t just deposit a check made out to me into a business account owned by me.  No, I have to jump through hoops involving cashing the check (with all the rigamarole that involves) and then immediately redepositing the cash into my business account; a process that involves signing many papers, filling out forms, and checking and writing down identification information despite the fact that the Scary Bank Ladies all know perfectly well who I am, as evinced by the fact that they hate me.  And invariably I will have forgotten at least one vital document, so it will have to be either called up on the computer or recreated by hand, accompanied by heavy sighing.  All for something annoyingly small but large enough that I can’t just ignore it, like a $50 rebate check for a camera that I’ve already broken or accidentally set on fire.

At the end of it all, I am presented with a “receipt,” which is a slip of cheap paper with some thermographic printing on it that I am fairly certain I could duplicate just with the equipment I currently have on my desk.  But I nonetheless tuck this carefully into my wallet as though it were the Magna Carta itself and flee back through the doors, trying to ignore the hot glares on the back of my neck.

And of course, once I get outside, I immediately turn left, walk three paces to the ATM, and withdraw some cash.  Because the ATM understands me.