This morning, in response to “due,” my One-Word Challenge prompt today, Teresa, over at The Haunted Wordsmith, posted this. I’m pretty sure her story was fiction, but what I’m about to relate to you here actually happened.
I was a rookie supervisor at a large insurance company and one day I got a call from the head of the Personnel Department (back then, Human Resources was known as “Personnel”) telling me that I needed to speak with one of my recently hired employees. She had apparently been going around writing a lot of bad checks.
I called Marylou into my office. She was this cute little thing who had just moved to the big city (Washington, DC) from a small town in South Carolina. I explained to her that I needed to talk with her about a serious matter. Before I even completed my sentence, tears started flowing down her adorable cheeks.
“I understand that you’ve been writing checks and that many of them have bounced,” I said. “Can you tell me why you’re writing all of these bad checks?”
“Bad checks?” she asked, her innocent eyes growing wide. “Why whatever do you mean by ‘bad checks’?”
“Well,” I said, “your checks are bouncing all over the place. You know that you can’t write a check for more than the balance you have in your checking account, don’t you?”
“Oh no,” she said, “that’s not right. One of the wonderful things about working for this company is that you get a free checking account.”
“Ah,” I said. “I think I know what the problem is, Marylou. What do you think a free checking account means?”
She smiled and said, “It means you can write all the checks you want for free.”
“Yes, you can write checks for free, but you have to have enough money in your account to cover the checks you write,”I explained. “Free checking is not the same as free money.”
The next day the Personnel Department added a “How to Manage Your Free Checking Account” to its first day new hire orientation.