My Favorite Prank

By Olivia LaRosa, December 8, 2012

I just got done hosting an Open House here in my home office for potential tax clients and now get to take a few hours to catch up on correspondence. Life hums along for me these days. I have a final due in Partnership Taxation on Monday, an IRS recertification test on Wednesday, and a client needs 3 years of complex tax returns delivered by Friday.

I’m gonna need some mental relief. If you have ever wanted to write me, but wondered what to say, you could start off by telling me about a favorite prank you played or joke you told.

Please allow me to start it off by explaining the setup of one of my most famous pranks.

I worked as a teller for Security Pacific Bank from 1973 to 1978, then took some courses so that I was recruit material for the Management Training Program. More on that later, maybe.

Over those five years we as a crew worked hard to build rapport with our customers. It made a hard job much easier. We had many unpleasant conversations with people. They would bounce checks and insist that they had enough money in the bank. It was rare that the bank’s records were in error, but we always started off by responding to the customer thusly, “I’m sorry that we may have made a mistake. Let me see if I can straighten that out for you.” Much easier to do that with friends than opponents, I say!

One of my favorite persons was the wise-cracking publisher and editor of our small-town weekly paper, the Mountain News. http://www.mountain-news.com/ George gave all his attention to joking with us, and none to the large cash transactions we were handling for him. I worried that someone less honest might take advantage of him.

Each week, at the end of his merchant transaction, George always presented a personal check for cash for pocket money. He never looked at the bills I handed him. I wondered about how I might get his attention in a benign manner.

I decided to pay him in Monopoly® money instead of real cash. I talked it over with my Operations Officer, who gave me the OK. I cleared it with the Branch Manager. I then discussed it with my sister tellers and all contributed to the plot.

Next week, George came in to transact his normal banking business. As soon as he walked in the door, tellers started disappearing under the counter, collapsing in hysterical giggles muffled only slightly by the hands clapped over their mouths. Hardier souls worked hard to keep a straight face. Platform personnel paced nervously.

I counted out his hundred dollars, broken down into 3 gray twenties, 3 yellow tens, and 2 pink fives. He said bye, and walked across the lobby with no apparent awareness of the problem. But as he began to walk out the door, we heard him shout, “Hey!”

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