Wells Fargo, and how to explain a mistake

The crisis is probably over, by the time I write about this, but I just wanted to comment on what happened at Wells Fargo over the weekend. At the point I am writing this, there were 141 stories that Google had noted about the issue which was that people couldn’t use their ATM cards.

But the fact the people were having trouble was not what I wanted to write about, although that is a bad thing, because we use them so much more than we use checks this day, no, I wanted to mention how Well Fargo spokesperson responded, when she was interviewed on KCBS. The reporter was trying to take the techno-inside-the-bank-only talk and make it understandable for her audience.

The spokesperson kept saying that it was only the "cash-points" that were affected (what we mere mortals refer to as debit points or ATMs) She kept saying "but our online site is working just fine as our other-thing-that-the-average-person-wouldn’t-care-about. The reporter kept trying to get her to clarify what she meant. She kept saying "but the ATMs aren’t working? And you can’t use your card at cash points at stores or supermarkets?" The spokesperson kept repeating her nonsense-talk as though she had been told, you must not elaborate. Finally, the reporter said "i don’t understand what you are saying," and repeated what she thought the spokesperson was saying, which was that some ATMs and some stores that had debit systems weren’t working.

Whew. Talk about having to drag the truth out.

Wouldn’t it have been simpler to say, hey, some of our ATMs aren’t working, so sorry about that. We’re working on it.

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