austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Went to the fortune teller to have my fortune read

If you've been near an intersection recently you probably noticed they're building a bank branch there. If you haven't noticed you might not be at fault. They're really building the branch on the side of the roads, or sometimes levitating above the road. If you find an intersection they're not building, just wait, and they'll either start or will take the intersection out altogether since if it hasn't got at least a credit union by now it's never going to amount to anything.

Left alone most people think only of putting money into a bank and maybe getting it out, and the only bank services they want are getting sometimes mailed a statement they don't read because they know it would be depressing. All this can be handled electronically, using at most a cash machine from any standard-issue convenience store. It's the bank branch where real service can be inflicted on the unsuspecting.

For example, if someone looked at their account statements they would be horrified by the typefaces used. You try getting a decent ligature now that nobody knows how to copy edit anymore. Many banks now offer better typefaces, which costs them about 75 cents per page. It's a huge profit center since typical fees come to 78 or 80 cents per page. Pay attention to what they charge. Under no circumstance let payment not be in money.

Maybe people have their accounts recorded in dowdy old dollars. Premium and Cobol-class accounts get recorded in cents, but there's money to be made by letting people say their money is in credits or stars or credits (of another star empire) or whatever silly word they use in Star Wars or so. That's not worth more than $1.50 per account per use of the bank, including using the bathroom, so it's not sold for more than $21.75. I say don't bother unless you get to make up your very own currency unit name.

What you should take is multiple-entry accounting. It's the greatest wealth-creator since a couple years back when the Wealthian armada from planet Croeseus IV subjected all volunteers to their wealth-production rays and I bet you're kicking yourself for not volunteering then. Multiple-entry accounting financed the Renaissance, but doesn't take credit nowadays that Renaissances are so controversial. To understand it, imagine you have a single account, so your balance looks something like this:

SAVINGS: $1,000.00

Dull, isn't it? I don't blame you if you stopped reading and returned days later to see how I could possibly carry on with any dignity. With multiple-entry methods you track money by where it comes from, or what it means, or what you want it for. So that thousand dollars gets listed like this:

SAVINGS: $1,000.00
SAVED BY THIS MONTH: $1,000.00
SAVED BY TODAY: $1,000.00
SAVED BEFORE THE SCARY NOISE MADE BY CAR NEXT WEEK: $1,000.00
SAVINGS IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE THE END OF THE MONTH WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN: $1,000.00

Already that adds up to five thousand dollars, and the more you categorize the more it is. Cornelius Vanderbilt famously only ever earned $12.95 before getting into finance, but was so good thinking up categories he built up over $689 trillion in under two years. He'd have done even better but ran out of paper to write categories down.

This is worth whatever they want, since it makes however much money you can think of, but they can charge however much money they can think of, leaving you no better off than you started. That's worth it, though, since where are you going to get better terms, other than terms which include the word ``debenture'', which is a pretty grand term on its own?

So that's why they're building branches: with enough branches at intersections someone will probably enter, possibly by losing control of the car, and can be sold these kinds of services. And if it doesn't work soon they'll try putting banks in the roads themselves. Let's please go along with them now as traffic going home is already bad enough and we don't need Wachovias in the passing lane. Thank you.

Trivia: Captain John Cook's 1769 voyage of Endeavour cost less than the £4,000 Britian's King George III subscribed for it. The surplus was used to commission a bust of George III by Nollekem now in the entrance hall of the Royal Society. Source: George III, Christopher Hibbert.

Currently Reading: For Want Of A Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won At Saratoga, Robert Sobel.

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