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When It Comes to Bank Fees, Chase Is Top-Notch

Jim Hightower's article ("Wall Street's Fee Scammers," July 16) is spot-on, with JPMorgan Chase leading the pack. No wonder they're one of the few banks which have shown a profit.

After returning from a three-week Mediterranean vacation, the day I returned, I purchased with my debit card items at three different stores for a total of $130. I knew I was running low on my account, but I also knew from previous experiences at another bank that if I didn't have enough in my account, my card would not be accepted. After all, it was a debit card guaranteeing the merchants that there was enough to cover the transactions.

I didn't know I was playing the "gotcha" entrapment game until the next day, when I went to the bank and found out I was overdrawn, and two $25 fees were added to my account. I questioned as to why my purchases cleared, and the manager's response was: "We give the customer the benefit of the doubt, and if these amounts are covered by day's end, charges will not accrue." I asked what would have happened if I'd made 10 more debit-card purchases that same day, and I was told they all would have gone through, with a $25 insufficient-funds charge added to each additional purchase. Of course, I deposited cash immediately in my account.

These three purchases were made on July 13. On July 19, I received an "insufficient funds notice," dated July 13, that had been sent via regular mail, even though the bank has my e-mail address and telephone number. Their final threat was especially ironic: "Your account may be subject to extended overdraft fees if you continue to have a negative account balance."

I know that not all banks institute the same rules; Chase is one to avoid.

Allen J. Pastryk


Gadsden Was a Dope; We Should Join New Mexico

OK, maybe I am being unfair to James Gadsden; I know him by little more than reputation. I suppose we can't really put him in the same boat as Seward, who could've foreseen the catastrophe that is Sarah Palin. Yet, I need to blame someone. One of these guys should have seen what our state of Arizona would foster some day.

You see them in the old Westerns, and some of the new: steely eyed, men with sixguns on their hips (cue Marty Robbins music), wearing large black hats, black vests and black coats that reach to their ankles. Some say they went out with the real old-timers, you know, like Kevin Costner, a little less metrosexual maybe. But they're still here.

All right, they are not as tall, generally, and they're a little potbellied. Maybe some are more grizzled and whiskey-breathed than their forebears. They have that half-crazed look in their eyes. They are not nearly as high-idealed as Henry Fonda ... maybe more like Henry Ford, or that kid in the old comics: just Henry! Yeah, the balding pate goes well with the look. You gotta wear a hat with a dome like that.

The point is, they have proliferated since the late 1800s, and they're all over Arizona. I know, I'm exaggerating a little; they're not all over Arizona, but there's sure a bunch of them in our Legislature ("Legislative Circus," July 23). Every morning, they ride through the metal detectors of the Capitol, building setting off the alarms purposely to announce their arrival. God! The noise! At least they stopped firing their guns into the ceiling. It is the monsoon season, after all, and you can only patch that old plaster so many times.

Now, there are those out there who will say, "AWWW, Quit yur bellachin'!" But I am not one to lament a problem without offering a cure. No, no, I want balance; I pay my way! We can fix this!

So here goes: What we do is take the land Gadsden bought—you know, everything south of the Gila River—detach it from Arizona, and apply to New Mexico for annexation.

Now, hold on there! Don't get all riled up! Hear me out!

You know New Mexico; they are the Land of Enchantment. No, just because Mexico is in their name, it doesn't mean they are a foreign country. Yes, they even encourage their people to recognize their heritage, all heritages. They got this guy there; his name is Bill (probably Guillermo)—he was governor or something—and he got these awards from nationally recognized education organizations. Really, I read it in a newspaper that blew across the border. Yeah, they fund education and everything.

We may have to change the name Pima County. The Pima Indians will be pissed as hell, but then when have we ever cared about pissing off Indians? The point is: We in the southern part don't really belong here in Aridzona; anyone can see that. We care about others. We want good school funding; hell, there are a bunch of us who speak another language, for crying out loud!

It's obvious we don't belong. Just look around. You'll see this is a good idea.

Marc B. Severson


Corrections

In the review of the Fiery Furnaces' I'm Going Away (Rhythm & Views, July 23), the byline was incorrect; the writer was actually Sean Bottai.

The photo caption with "A Midsummer Night's ... Benefit" (City Week, July 23) was incorrectly labeled, because we received incorrect information from a source. The dancers pictured are from Midriff Crisis, not Lykiska.

We apologize for the errors.

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