Day In a Life: Check Casher-Ritecheck 12 by Lisa J. Servon

'Mural: Checks Cashed' photo (c) 2005, Franco Folini - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/I discovered this beautifully written article about a check cashing store and its customers by Professor LISA J. SERVON at PublicBooks.org

I highly recommend you read this piece in it’s entirety~!

 “Clutching my tea and tamales in one hand, I rap on the bulletproof glass of the teller counter and wave to Tiffany, who is finishing up the night shift. She buzzes me through the first door, and when it closes safely behind me, opens the second door that lets me into the room where we work all day cashing peoples’ checks, paying their bills, and selling stamps, MetroCards, and scratch-off tickets with promising names like “Set for Life,” “Lucky Dog,” and “Black Pearls.” I clock in and take off my coat, put my lunch in the refrigerator, and set down my tea and my purse.”

“Good morning, Tiffany. How was the night?”

“Slow, slow, slow.”

“The banking industry and advocates for the poor argue that Joe Coleman, president of RiteCheck, and his colleagues across the country are taking advantage of low-income people, a criticism that implies that poor people don’t know any better. But most of my customers know exactly what they are doing. Many have tried banks and rejected them. The fees are too high and they hit when customers don’t expect them. They’re not open when customers need them. They don’t provide the services people want. RiteCheck meets the specific, immediate needs of the people who live in Mott Haven—people who believe they cannot save right now, who have been burned by banks, who are so focused on figuring out today that planning for the future is challenging.

At 3:40 p.m. I begin to close out my drawer. I sort the bill receipts into piles—ConEd, Cablevision, Verizon. I fold the ribbon of receipts from the MoneyGram transactions into a neat bundle and check them against the day’s report, then file them. Once everything is counted and entered into the spreadsheet on my monitor, I click the button signaling the computer to check my tallies.”

Continued in full: LISA J. SERVON at PublicBooks.org

Comments ( 2 )
  • Frank M. says:

    WOW! A fair minded, hard working, academic who CAN WRITE! She pulled me through the entire piece; that “ain’t easy.”

    I’d like to see a book on this…


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