Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

The Relationship Dance

Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

The Relationship Dance

Article excerpt

"Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music."

--Angela Monet

Patricia is a resident at a local homeless shelter. It was my evening to work with Patricia on her personal budgeting matters. The week before, her budget showed she had only $105 to get through the week. That meager amount had to cover food for her and two children, laundry, an installment on her outstanding traffic tickets, school supplies, personal items, and the small savings she was expected to set aside for her eventual move out of our interim shelter into her own apartment.

Immediately her face told me the week had not gone well. Tell me about it. A pause. "Well, I ran out of money on Thursday." Long pause. "I got really depressed, so a friend and I went to Chili's." I did the math in my head--maybe $20? I asked how much damage. "$32." Nearly a third of her budget.

She read my expression. "We had burgers, fries, dessert--and we left a nice tip." Silence. She was devastated. I was devastated. What an awful decision--especially when we had agreed the week before exactly how the $105 would have to be stretched to make it through the week.

Are you being served?

Her words kept coming back to me. "I got really depressed." I imagined her and her friend walking into Chili's. Being greeted with a welcoming smile and words. Would you prefer a booth or a table? How about over here? My name is so and so, and I'm going to take care of you. What can I bring you? How would you like that? Is everything the way you wanted it?

It was easy to imagine how Patricia and her friend were feeling at this point: important, respected, like they really mattered. Sure, the food smelled good, and they were probably hungry by now, but I thought back to what she said. "I got really depressed. …

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