I’ll Write You a Check If I Can Find One by Chris Zito

If you’re under 35 and reading this, believe me you didn’t miss much having to write checks for everything.

Checks were time-consuming. Twice a month I used to sit down to pay the bills. Invoices, checks, envelopes, stamps piled up everywhere. I could almost feel the CO2 build up as trees came down to supply all that paper. It was even worse before the advent of the sticky stamp. By the time I finished licking all those stamps and envelopes I felt like a dog trying to get to the last of the peanut butter.

And let’s not even get into the occasional paper cut.  There were so many perils in paying bills the old way there should have been safety regulations. A helmet, goggles,  surgical gloves , and above all, a sponge to wet the stamps!

This was also in the days before the home paper shredder so there was a standard procedure in place if you messed up a check:
1. Write VOID in large letters across the front of the check.
2. Tear the check into tiny pieces.
Both procedures had to be completed. You couldn’t just write VOID without tearing it up or someone could come along, steal the check, and find a bank teller somewhere who would cash a check with a VOID written across it in big letters.
God forbid you tear without writing or someone could steal the check, tape it together, and show up at a bank to cash their newly constructed check mosaic.
“Sir, this check looks as though it was torn up.”
“Yes, it’s a check collage. My kid made it for me at banking camp.”
No dice.

Electronic payments, debit cards, and ATM’s have made all of our lives easier. And don’t give me any of this business about jobs for tellers. On the rare occasion that I have to go into the bank there is still a three-to-one ratio of tellers to open windows.

The only person I know that still writes checks while shopping is my wife. She writes checks to department stores, drug stores, and (gulp!) the supermarket. One day she’s bound to come home looking like she just got mugged!

“Oh my God, what happened to you?” I’ll ask.
“Tried to write a check in the express lane. Things got a little out of hand.”


Not Kimi.  This is Amy Winehouse. Notorious check user.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito

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5 Responses

  1. Good one, very good one.

  2. Boy you make me laugh!

  3. I knew a guy who had a job at a bank running checks through the machine every night. Ocassionally it would rip a check to pieces and he actually had to try to tape it back together, because the customer had to get a cancelled check back, no matter what. This is one of the few nitwit jobs I did NOT have in my youth.

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