Letter to Wells Fargo Bank holiday card program director

By Corby Anderson
Real AspenDecember 25, 2010
December 11, 2010

Manager of Holiday Card Program

Wells Fargo Bank

Consumer Relations

700 Billion Twisted Way

Irvine, CA 91100

To whom it may or may not concern,

‘Tis the season of bright cheer and boundless mirth, and in the spirit of that holiday joy, I would like to thank Wells Fargo for the thoughtful holiday card that arrived in my mail slot on this pristine California winter morn.

The card was from your home mortgage department. Its sender was the very same agent who showed such natural resourcefulness and creative wherewithal when he helped my wife and I purchase our first home a few years ago.

Like many Americans at the time, we were unlikely buyers, especially when reflected on now, from a literal, and emotional distance. My Good Lady and I first spied each other in the midst of a frantic bar fight in a now defunct cowboy bar which, prior to its conversion into a redundantly supplied art gallery, bore the appropriate name of “Ship of Fools”, in Carbondale, Colorado. Once the brouhaha was sorted out and our dating commenced, we realized that our common dream was to step up from our rental-bound ski bum existences into the realm of home ownership, which, thanks to your financiers and a lot of hard work, we were able to do, if barely.

Neither of us had any savings or even enough money to cover the earnest. Her credit was as bad as a year old quart of milk, and mine was only slightly less sour. But together, somehow, we did it! We found The Way, and made our home as happily as two youngsters can.

And so it would follow that in terms of fostering a sincere customer appreciation and good marketing for future considerations, it would be a wonderful thought to send a card wishing well the holidays of such satisfied customers. “The holiday is a special time,” the inner fold of the card reads. “May the joys of the season warm your heart and light up your home,” it continues cheerfully, ending in a firm corporate tag line whose font rides atop a galloping team of ponies that pulls a speeding wagon, informing the recipient that “Together we’ll go far.”

Which is all quite fine and certainly dandy, except for one small oversight on the part of your office. We don’t technically own our home anymore. You do. Just last Monday – coincidentally just 30 minutes after my having been laid off for the second time in two years, I was called by my Realtor, who informed me that my Carbondale house which had warmed us so for so long, was officially foreclosed on by your liquidation department and the local courts. (By the way, that’s quite a name that the thinkers upstairs have saddled your foreclosure team with!) Apparently, the attempted short sale which was in the works was just too short, and your patience with our circumstance too thin. There is a blue joke in there somewhere, but I am loathe to summon it here and now, at this late hour by the unsatisfying cold yellow flicker of the Sterno can that lights our ancient, lobotomized Winnebago where we now call home.

And while I am not sure exactly how it fits into my story, I am nonetheless compellingly reminded of a favorite quote from a TV show that I admire, Mad Men: “One minute you are on top of the world, and the next, a drunk secretary drives you over with a lawnmower.”

There is something to be said about proper timing. Syncronized correctly, and even the foulest of deeds can be assuaged by a balance of good will and a modicum of strong reason. Michael Vick is the perfect example of that. But conversely, bungled badly, and timing can be a major bitch – a real seedy whore with a heart as black as the coal that will fill our stockings this season.

Please don’t take this as me trying to tell you how to do your jobs. God knows that I am no expert in the inner workings of a corporate public affairs office. But it seems logical to me that a simple cross-referencing of those customers who own their actually still own their homes along with a survey of those suddenly former customers whom your company has snatched their homes away from would easily stop the sending of such poorly timed mailings like the infuriating, depressing one that I received today.

It’s just a bit of friendly advice. You can leave it, or take it to your bank. And while I ­­­­­­­­­­­­am pulling all of my remaining Wells Fargo accounts and giving them over to someone who really seems to care about America – the Bank of China, and thus will not be riding shotgun in your funwagon, maybe your marketing department and your liquidation department can get together under the mistletoe during your holiday party and swap more than boozy spit.

Together, it seems certain that you will go far.

Yours in eternal debt,

Corby Anderson

Marina, CA (currently)

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