By JAMES GROB
Ottumwa Post Columnist
I got a postcard in the mail last week from a law firm I've never before heard of, and they asked me if I wanted to sue my bank.
I don't know if I really want to sue anyone or anything, but if I did, it would be a bank.
Because that's where the money is.
I mean, I could sue my neighbor, but it wouldn't do me much good, because it appears my neighbor is even more broke than I am. So even if I were to win the lawsuit, there would be no money for me to collect. And also, there would be kind of an awkward feeling between us after that, and I'm not sure I could handle that. It's awkward enough just being a neighbor with someone. Imagine being a neighbor with someone you've sued. Then imagine being a neighbor with someone you've sued, won the lawsuit, and then that person couldn't pay. I don't believe there are enough "awks" in awkward to describe that situation.
A bank, on the other hand -- man, they're just loaded with cash over there. The lobby is really nice, with good, clean carpeting, and the furniture is so pretty that it's almost a shame to sit on it. I'd have no problem taking some cash off of their hands.
But back to the postcard.
According to these lawyers, my bank has charged a bunch of unfair, excessive banking fees and overdraft fees and the like over the years. I've known this all along, but all along I just assumed that my bank was picking on me, personally. I had no idea that they had been doing this to everyone else. I also had no idea I could sue them for it. I just figured banks had a license to screw people, and that I was one of the people they were allowed to screw.
So it's a class-action lawsuit, and these lawyers want me to sign on, because the more people who claim that my bank has been hosing them over the years, the better chance they have of winning the lawsuit or forcing my bank to settle.
Of course, the more people who claim my bank has been hosing them, the more people with which I will have to share settlement money. So if these lawyers win a 10 million dollar lawsuit, and take about five million off the top for themselves, that leaves about five million dollars. Divide that among the million people my bank has screwed, and we all get about five bucks each.
So now I'm thinking about suing the lawyers. Or at least making it so the lawyers have to bank at a bank that's exactly like my bank, so that they can at least share in the pain for the five million dollars they're making.
The people who work at my bank seem to be very nice people, and I like them very much. Unfortunately, far too often, there's nothing they can do when their bosses, whoever and wherever they are, decide to take my money away from me. They are very sympathetic, and sometimes they'll even make a few phone calls for me and actually try to get my money back, but the answer is always, "I'm so sorry, but there's nothing I can do."
It's especially disheartening when my bank fines me for not having enough money. I'll get a letter or an email, and it will say something along the lines of, "you don't have enough money."
Of course, I am already well aware of this, but I thank them for the information anyway. I already knew I was broke, but thanks for the friendly reminder.
But they'll go on to say something along the lines of, "since you don't have enough money, we are going to take some more of your money."
This does not seem logical to me. Because when they take more of my money, I have even less money than I had when they told me I didn't have enough money.
If my not having enough money were really a problem for them, and they really wanted to solve that problem, the logical thing to do would be to give me some more money, so then maybe I would have enough. Taking money away, when I already didn't have enough, doesn't address the problem at all.
I guess the situation could be worse. My bank could tell me, "since you don't have enough money, we are going to break your legs." If they did that, I would somehow find some money to give them in order to avoid my legs being broken. Unfortunately, I would probably have to steal that money from my neighbor, and then he wouldn't have enough money and would have to have his legs broken. And I'm certain that would be even more awkward for him than if I were to sue him.
So it's all a miserable mess, with the bankers and the lawyers. I'm just happy the government is shut down, so that Congress can join the bankers and the lawyers as the club of people who get paid for not doing anything.
As for me, I think I'm going to sue everybody. The crooked bankers, the greedy lawyers, the incompetent government, the sympathetic bank employees, my awkward neighbor, and the well-meaning postal worker who delivered the postcard.
Sue them all back to the stone age.
And let God sort them out.