Claim: A customer closed out his million-dollar account after his bank refused to validate a 50¢ parking ticket.
Origins: A well-loved urban legend has it that a shabbily-dressed man mistreated by an uppity clerk returns the next
day to buy out the establishment for the sheer pleasure of firing the ill-mannered service person. It's a tale that strikes a chord in all of
As far as we know, this
legend has yet to come true. Although it's an oft-told tale, we have yet to find a verifiable instance of a going concern's being purchased by a rich man looking to fire the bugger who'd insulted him. However, all you aspiring millionaires-in-disguise take heart: at least one underdressed rich man did get even with a firm that failed to recognize both him and the reasonableness of his request.
Next time the sales clerk looks down his nose at you, tell him about John Barrier and the Washington State bank that refused to validate his parking.
John Barrier had done business with Old National Bank (now U.S. Bank) in Spokane, Washington, for
As a news story of the time read:
"She told me the bank only validated parking tickets when a customer made a transaction and that cashing a check wasn't a transaction," said Barrier. The millionaire said he asked the teller to call a bank manager, who also refused.
"He looked me up and down and stood back and gave me one of those kinds of looks," said Barrier, turning up his nose to imitate the manager.
"I said, 'Fine, you don't need me and I don't need you."'
Barrier withdrew all his money and took it down the street to Seafirst Bank.
"The first check he brought me was for
As John Barrier said: "If you have $1 in a bank or
Barbara "no Barrier to common courtesy" Mikkelson
Last updated: 12 June 2013
Allin, Richard. "Don't Judge a Millionaire by His Duds." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 26 February 1989. Parks, Michael. "Bank Says It Made Apology Before $1 Million Withdrawal." The American Banker. 27 February 1989 (p. 23). United Press International. "Bank Saves 60 Cents, Loses $1 Million Customer." 20 February 1989. United States Banker. "Save 50 Cents, Lose $1 Million." April 1989 (p. 8).