My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #429: Say 'No' to Pink Clouds (??)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-12-2011 12:35 PM 1673 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 428: Unexpected Surprises Part 429 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 430: Finding Answers »

Several months ago I wrote that the bank I used in Chicago for the past 14 years had failed and was taken over by one of the giant banks (First Midwest.) It is funny (odd) that the second I found out about it, I had this impending sense of doom that this wasn’t going to be a good thing.

Those of you who read every day and know me, know that I am quite the optimist. Even on the darkest days, I try to see the good in situations and much prefer to live in a land of hope, trust and anticipation (which I fondly refer to as the ‘pink cloud’) where bunnies romp through the meadow and the monetary system is based on juju bees and good intentions.

As a business woman I realize that the land of the pink cloud only exists in my mind. I only travel to there occasionally when I need a break from the real world and its harshness and stupidity. I have to plan my visits carefully, because I know if I spend too much time there, I may not want to return to reality. But as with all vacations, there are times when we have to come home and face the real world again. That is part of being responsible.

Over the last several months, little by little I have been seeing changes in my bank. More often than not, these changes are costing me more money. Half a percent here. A couple of dollars monthly fee there. Foreign transaction fees in another place. They are all beginning to add up to some scary numbers.

I have to thank Paul (Big Tiny) for his blog on finances earlier this year. I joined in reading it and so far this year I have done (pretty) well with keeping track of things much better than in the past. While I am not perfect and do get behind at posting things, I am at least more aware of what is going on daily with my finances and business. It isn’t that I was unaware before – it is just that now I am more aware now and try to stay on top of things a bit better to see what my business is actually making. I realize that pink clouds and business don’t really mix well and in the end, if I fail to be realistic about things, then I am the only one who really suffers.

I received notice yesterday that now my credit card processing is going to change. First Midwest sold out that division to another bank and there are eight pages of fine (and I mean miniscule) print of their ‘Terms and Agreements’ that I don’t really understand. I mean, I sort of understand them, but I am sure that there are ‘loopholes’ in there that I missed and am unaware of.

I understand that in the next several weeks, I should be hearing from them regarding the changes and setting up the account with the new bank. I will be honest and tell you that this rather terrifies me. Am I getting that old? I don’t want change. I don’t like it. I am from the old school of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ way of thinking. Also, there is the nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me ‘nothing good will come of this.’ Try as I may to ignore it, it persists.

Part of me wants to take refuge on the pink cloud and tell myself that all will be taken care of by them as they say it would be.

But then there is the real me. The intelligent me. The me that got me where I am now. And somehow that doesn’t fly.

Today will be a day of investigation. I will go on a fact finding mission to see what this is all about and see how I can come out of this situation with as little damage as possible. There are many factors that I have to consider. My business is in the USA. I am living in Canada. There are cross border issues and all kinds of stuff that needs to be thought about.

But fortunately I am quite organized and I have done everything ‘right’ by legal standards all along. Although the situation can be quite overwhelming at times, I know that with a cool head that I will find the answers as to what will work best for me and my company. It just takes some thought and ingenuity and some work. And a clear head.

So for today, I will declare a ‘Say No to Pink Clouds’ day, as much as it pains me. No bunnies. No soft fluff. No juju bees. There are times in all of our lives for pink clouds, but this isn’t one of them. Perhaps, after this is all settled, I will allow myself a short visit in the future, but for right now, reality is the only answer. Numbers don’t lie and although I may come off here as I am being somewhat flippant, I am very serious that I need to be ready for battle. The future of my business is at stake.

So today’s thought for the day is as follows:

Wish me luck! :D

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3594 days

#1 posted 08-12-2011 01:56 PM

you are right about you have to bee on top of this bank thing
and I think you have to take the big change … or at least shop around in the
bank world to see where you can get the best deal for you and where the persons
and the bank at every costummer as an importen costummer for the busyness of the bank
I don´t know how its over there but here in Denmark people used to have the same bank
thrugh the hole life but in the last 10-15 years they have learned to chift bank often
depending on where they can get the best value for there money and situation
people even have learned to have net-bank
so time for you to look into it
I havn´t been on your site yet Sheila .. sorry , but do you use paypal as an option for payment
then you don´t have to deal with having bank in two country´s I think …. I only have used it as
to pay with and I´m not fammiliar with the other site

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 08-12-2011 02:12 PM

Hi, Dennis:
Yes, I had my previous bank for almost fifteen years – since the beginning of my business. It was a smaller neighborhood bank where they actually knew me and I had personal and honest service. When they were taken over last year, I was sad because First Midwest is a large powerhouse bank who is in the process of scooping up as many smaller banks as they can. They promised that things wouldn’t change except for the better but I knew better. (I worked for a large downtown Chicago bank several years right out of University)

I suppose the most difficult part for me is that I am living here in Canada and my business is in the USA. About 90 per cent of my customers are US so it is best for me to keep it there to avoid exchange fees on most transactions. Changing banks isn’t easy from a distance. It may take me having to go to the States to do so, which will be a cost a can’t really handle right now.

Fortunately, when I was in the States in March, I had my son signed onto my account so he can do any of the things that they require me to do ‘in person.’ Moving to another bank would be difficult right now, as it would require me to be there and I can’t really do that at this time.

Thankfully, I do have Paypal available on my site as a safety net. I am pleased and surprised at how many customers use it. If I had to forgo accepting Mastercard or Visa for a time, I would at least have that available. It is good to have options.

When they open I will be on the phone to see exactly what is involved with the changeover. It may not be as bad as I think, but with the market the way things are, I need to be realistic and weigh my options carefully.

“Knowledge is Power” :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 3094 days

#3 posted 08-12-2011 03:30 PM

Better to be safe then sorry . Good luck Shelia ! Tip : make sure the asprins are close by when dealing with banks .

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4458 days

#4 posted 08-12-2011 04:04 PM

Hi Sheila;

I thought the saying was; “if it aint broke, don’t break it”.

Yup, banks can be fun. I find that being “faithful” to a bank is a bit of a waste of time, as they are rarely “faithful” to their customers.

Good luck.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3560 days

#5 posted 08-12-2011 04:21 PM

Hope everything goes over well with the bank. For supposedly being a safe place to store your money, they sure love to make you part with plenty of it. Good luck.

-- Matt -

View stevebuk's profile


57 posts in 3163 days

#6 posted 08-12-2011 11:31 PM

you should try living here in the Uk, even parking on the Pink cloud is extortion…

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3321 days

#7 posted 08-13-2011 05:00 AM

I find so many businesses doing what I would consider bad business these days. I guess I’m getting old. I remember a time when the best way to get business was word of mouth advertising. The best way to get word of mouth advertising was to take care of your best and most faithful customers.
I have noticed a lot in the last decade though. This is only a few.

My bank seems to penalize me for being faithful. I’ve been with the same bank for well over a decade. While they offer great deals to new customers, it seems that us long time customers just have to take a back seat, and sometimes take it in the back seat (if you know what I mean)

My cable company handles my TV and internet service. I can’t pick up TV for the wife and kids around here without cable and I am addicted to the internet. I have been with this same company for nine years now. Yet, I see such great attractive rates in the newspapers trying to lure in new customers, my rates continue to go up every year. I have asked every single year about me getting one of these attractive rates. I am always told that these rates are for new customers only. If I cancel my service for over three months and then come back I will again be considered a new customer. So wait. They are basically telling me I could be rewarded for being a NON-loyal customer.

I am a creature of habit. I use the same electrical power on average in any given month compared to what I used last year the same month. I have kept track of this. (Yes I am anal about a lot of things. Why do you ask?) Every so often I get notices about the stock reports or some other deal I don’t quite understand that has been made by my power company that is supposed to lower my overall bill. So why is it that given month averages keep going up? I have a better question about the power company. There has been times that I have gotten down and not able to go to my shop. In those cases I have my wife or one of my sons go flip the main breaker at the shop so that there is absolutely no power useage at the shop. So how is it that I have gotten down for a whole month at a time and my bill for that month was about the same as other months that I was able to be in the shop almost on a daily basis?

Please don’t even get me started on the cell phone company I have been with for so very long. They recently closed down the local office where I could get answers concerning my account and outsources all their customer service to some far away land (possibly on a pink cloud Sheila. It would make sense since every time I call they seem way more happy than I think they should be) where whatever version of english they are supposed to be speaking is not comprehendable by my understanding of the english language.

Sheila, please take a break and go to your pink cloud. When dealing with large corporations like banks these days, failure to do so may ultimately result in the need of mental help. We are always here for you, but most of us have enough mental issues of our own that we may not do so well trying to help you with yours.
Think pink clouds, thick plush pink clouds. There are magical stars and unicorns there. They have all the hot coffee and banana breads you could ever want. There are no banks. There are no power or cable companies. Since everyone you want is already there, then there is no need for the internet. Everyone there speaks the same language. Since everything is free there is no need for currency or worries.
Aw hell. Now I want to go to a pink cloud and never come back.


View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3669 days

#8 posted 08-13-2011 08:04 AM

Sheila, you could try to do what Pa Kettle, would do in these situations….

Put the letters from the bank back in the mail box….:)

Time to go back to pink bunnies romping in the meadows where there feet get gueey

on ju ju bees!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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