How should I haved handled Profane Ridden Confrontation at a Bank?
February 1, 2016 3:06 PM   Subscribe

I was at a Bank recently 15 minutes before they open. They have a lobby with an ATM machine that can be accessed with your ATM card. A rough looking dude in his 30's was walking very fast to get in to the lobby without using a card. I let the door close quickly behind me as the bank asks you not to let people in without them using their card.

The Guy went Crazy and called me the F word and every possible demeaning thing he coud say to me . I said he should be careful who he talked to like that. I finally left after getting my money out of ATM. I am a 50 year old guy by the way. How would others have handled this?
posted by lynnwilson120 to Human Relations (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Guy went Crazy and called me the F word and every possible demeaning thing he coud say to me .

I would have taken this as evidence I did the right thing in not letting him in. I would have tried to not engage him at all, if at all possible.
posted by Michele in California at 3:11 PM on February 1, 2016 [44 favorites]

Tough situation as it sounds like you were already in the door, therefore kind of trapped inside.

If I had an option and Crazy Guy had gone crazy before I got inside the room, I'd have gone and waited in my car.

Depending on HOW crazy the guy seemed, if I was fearful of him I'd have stayed inside the locked room and called the cops (if that was an option).

If he was just parking-lot raging for nothing, he had his own card, and he made his way inside I'd have slipped out as soon as possible and left him yelling at himself.

All of this is Monday-evening quarterbacking - it sounds like a scary situation and you did well to not escalate it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Banks make a lot of money. They don't pay any of it to me to police their property. If its not your job to police it either then don't do it. Its not like letting someone into a residential block. If he wants in then he will not have to wait long to get in, there's not going to be even a remote chance he will be blocked by everyone, so its not a battle worth starting.
posted by biffa at 3:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [10 favorites]

Just as you did. I also probably would have waited around for the bank to open and let them know that there was a guy outside who was being verbally abusive to their customers.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Did he get in (using his own bank card) so you and he were in the lobby together? Or was he locked out? If the former I probably would have left without accessing the ATM -- I wouldn't feel comfortable in an enclosed space with a person who was verbally assaulting me, let alone getting money out of the machine. If it was that he was outside and couldn't get in, I would assume he was going to mug me and would not have gone back out unless he left, or if other people we're around. I would call 911 if he didn't leave the area after being locked out.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [8 favorites]

i don't think my bank cares about me much. more exactly, i think it's run by a bunch of rich bastards who don't give a fuck about me. so i wouldn't go out of my way to follow their rules. certainly not to the point where i end up being rude to someone else.

but then he was rude too. so i guess it's lose-lose.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:16 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Biffa -

if this were me in that situation, I'd worry less about the bank's stuff and more about mine - it's easy to see where a guy can get himself in that little alcove behind me and then force me at gun/knife/whateverpoint to withdraw pretty much all my money. It's not about politeness and rule following as much as it's about safety.

OP did the right thing, in my opinion
posted by pdb at 3:22 PM on February 1, 2016 [45 favorites]

This situation is what I have cultivated and trained my Spock eyebrows for.

There is nothing to gain or win in this situation and something to lose so I just don't engage other than a brief look of "mild annoyance/ u illogical".

Route around this noise. Get on with the good parts of your life.
posted by srboisvert at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

I said he should be careful who he talked to like that.

You should be careful who you say that to, too. Unless you're ready to back that up with action. Doesn't seem like further inciting him was a wise choice...

20/20 hindsight and all that of course.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2016 [11 favorites]

I'd probably say, "Dude, you need to have a card to be admitted. See the sign?" and otherwise ignore him and his ranting. If I felt unsafe, I'd take out my phone and say, "I'm calling 911," and if that didn't work, I'd do that and wait for them before I left the building.

I certainly would act as you did when entering the building. If he were a legitimate customer himself, he wouldn't have a problem with that.
posted by bearwife at 3:32 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

I dunno. I would always hold the door open for someone trying to get in behind me, suggestions about security be damned. I think letting the door close was a dick move.
posted by 256 at 3:36 PM on February 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

Were there other people in the lobby at that time , OR is it in a relatively busy spot with people around? If so, I'd let him in and to be honest it's kind of dickish that you didn't. His response was completely over the top but you never know what you're going to get with people, best to be nice to everyone and make their days easier instead of harder.
posted by pintapicasso at 3:40 PM on February 1, 2016

The security is as much for you as it is for the bank. If he had his own card, then it was a matter of 20 seconds for him to get his card out after you closed it-- so not a dick move. I think you did the right thing. But then, I was hassled badly once by someone who slipped in after me at a bank. (Did not get mugged, but the obvious addict was circling me and whining I should give him money. He only left when I pointed out there were cameras.)

Did he swear at you like that once he was inside, or from the outside? If it was from the outside, I would have told him I was calling the police if I didn't see him leave. If it was from the inside and he was raging because of the 20 seconds required to get out his card then I would have just ignored him and left as quickly as possible.
posted by frumiousb at 3:45 PM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

I would never let someone into a secured facility who had no reason to be there. If he didn't have a bank card to get in, what possible purpose could he have had in being there?
posted by corb at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2016 [15 favorites]

Best answer: I will not go in those little glass boxes full of me and my money with a stranger at all. I think you did the right thing.
posted by interplanetjanet at 3:50 PM on February 1, 2016 [47 favorites]

The correct answer is that you should have done the same thing you'd have done if it were a pleasant-faced woman in her 30s.
posted by kimberussell at 3:55 PM on February 1, 2016 [8 favorites]

You are kind of a minor league dick for doing what you did. He's completely out of line for his behavior.
posted by JPD at 4:00 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

In situations where there is any concern about your safety, the correct answer is to be "rude" sooner rather than later. Waiting until someone hurts you to decide to protect yourself is waiting too long.

Always err on the side of safety. Reasonable, healthy people will understand. Those who don't are not people you want to be alone with anyway.

The only thing you did wrong was telling him off. That potentially escalates the situation with someone already acting like a crazy person. Normal people don't cuss you like a dog for not holding the door for them.
posted by Michele in California at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2016 [8 favorites]

You are kind of a minor league dick for doing what you did.

Absolutely not. If he'd then got his bank card out and let himself in? That's the nearest to it, but even then I think the OP was justified in not letting someone do precisely what the door locks are there to prevent - someone getting in who shouldn't have. The WORST the OP did was prevent someone who had their own bank card having to get it out of their pocket 30 seconds before they needed to anyway. It is absolutely not a dick move to ensure your own safety in a space where you have access to money to make sure the person coming in is also coming to get THEIR money, not yours.

If the guy had his bank card out (and it was definitely the right card) and the OP had dropped the door shut, then sure. Mildly dick move. But anything other than the right card, prominently displayed means the OP has zero clue if the guy is justified in wanting to be in a closed space with the OP and his access to his money.

if he *didn't* have his own card, it was by far and away the right thing to do. If the guy was continuing to be abusive, then stay in there and call the police.

I said he should be careful who he talked to like that.

This is a threat. It is pretty dumb to make a threat unless you are fully prepared (and equipped in some way) to back that threat up. Do not escalate a situation unless you are fully prepared to REALLY escalate it. In short, you (generally and in particular you personally) shouldn't threaten people, because if you have to armchair quarterback on the internet afterwards you are clearly not capable of backing that threat up and mouthing off could get you in something well over your head pretty quickly.
posted by Brockles at 4:12 PM on February 1, 2016 [35 favorites]

You're not going to be any safer from a mugging with them waiting for you outside rather than inside, where the cameras are.
posted by biffa at 4:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think yours was a "dick" move in the slightest. You had no way to know if the guy was sneaking in to rob you. That's how bad guys get into secured apartment buildings too. Security only works if we all follow the rules. If he was going to use the machine, he should have his card handy anyway to get in the lobby.
posted by cecic at 4:14 PM on February 1, 2016 [14 favorites]

The correct answer is that you should have done the same thing you'd have done if it were a pleasant-faced woman in her 30s.

This. Exactly this. I'm a pleasant-faced woman, and I'd absolutely expect the person who reached the vestibule before me to do exactly what you did. It's just safer for everyone.

That guy yelling and screaming had nothing to do with you. It's on him. He would have done the same to anyone.
posted by mochapickle at 4:26 PM on February 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

You definitely did the 100% right thing; it was not in any way a 'dick' move. I'll go further: do it for *everyone*, not just big scary dudes, because you could be threatened/robbed/shot or knifed by just about anybody.

I live in a security building; I encounter people trying to slide in behind other folks almost every day. I'll hold the door ONLY for people I absolutely KNOW are residents; everyone else I'll shut the door on --- yes, they do a lot of swearing, but either they're a legitimate resident with a key (keys are required for all residents over age 12), or they can call whoever they're visiting to be let in that way. I pay for that security system, and I'm not going to ignore it for some stranger's convienence.

Ditto for bank security doors: sure, the bank wants to protect their assets, but they also have an interest in protecting their customers --- a customer who feels unsafe (or is actually robbed) is a customer who might take his business to a different bank. You did the right thing, and you don't owe dudes like that anything.
posted by easily confused at 4:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [9 favorites]

Anywhere you have to get buzzed into like this closing the door isn't "rude", it's fair game. The only exceptions at all are if they're a neighbor or coworker(and only then if it isn't a rule that everyone needs to key in for tracking/accountability reasons), and even then i don't see it as an obligation.

I said he should be careful who he talked to like that.

I have friends who would say this. Maybe, at times, i would say this. It is absolutely shit stirring and waving the flag in front of the bull though. The venn diagram of people who would get this angry and screamy and people who will "do something about it" has quite a bit of overlap. People talk a lot about how guys like this "Just talk shit", but having had a friend for over a decade who always says something like this i've ended up in more than a couple situations where yea, those guys were waiting outside, and it turned into a fistfight.

Don't say stuff like this unless you're a hothead and you're ready for anything stupid that happens. Too many people who act like this have weapons, and a friend of mine still has a scar on his head for standing around when someone was acting like this and getting punched in the face with brass knuckles.

The correct thing to do is always to leave. The only time you don't leave is if that's not safe, or they're just going to follow you. Saying shit like this always escalates the situation though. The response is never "oh yea, good point".
posted by emptythought at 5:02 PM on February 1, 2016 [13 favorites]

Wow, I can't believe the people who say it was a dick move to close the door. At any ATM I have ever gone to, people form up a line with a discreet 10 foot gap between the person using the machine and the next person in line. For ATMs you need a key card to get to, I've never once seen anybody do anything but politely wait outside for the person to finish. I would be super uncomfortable with someone crowding me/joining me near an ATM, and if they started yelling at me, I'd pat myself on the back for my good judgment in not letting them near me and my money!
posted by instamatic at 5:38 PM on February 1, 2016 [14 favorites]

Piling on with the 'it was him, not you' crowd. Regardless of whether they're rough looking or sweet faced I would never hold *that* door for someone else, and would never expect them to hold it for me (but hoping I'm seen as sweet faced rather than as menacing...). I get that there's varying notions of etiquette regarding whether one should enter an occupied vestibule, and clearly in some minds ignoring published safety protocol to hold a door is the way to go - but yelling at someone for at most a very minor breach of etiquette is out of line and sets my alarm bells ringing at full blast. I would have called the cops immediately, and would definitely not have poked the bear, I mean spoken to the menacing person at all.
posted by AliceBlue at 5:59 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

As a woman who goes out by herself, there is no damn way that I'll let a sketchy person follow me in to a bank vestibule.

Some time ago a junkie crowded up behind me in Westwood and tried to steal papers from a vending box after I had just bought one. I screamed "NO!" and slammed down the window. He chased me into a shop and started screaming that I'd smashed his hand ( he hadn't made any sound of pain) and that *I* was the crazy theiving one. I yelled back that his hand shouldn't have been in there and he ultimately left.
posted by brujita at 6:17 PM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Don't ever engage, it never will end positively.

If things escalate, call the police.

By the way, if the guy had any type of bank or credit card, even ones not issued by that bank, he could still get access to the vestibule. Banks permit that so those folks can get cash (and pay fees, higher interest, etc.).
posted by wangarific at 7:42 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd have not let him in, ignored him as he raged, and waited the 15 minutes until the bank opened up to 1) let them know about the guy's behavior, and 2) ask for an escort out because he made me feel unsafe.

But then, I'm a petite female with four kids - I can do the "I don't HEAR you" attitude like a pro.
posted by stormyteal at 9:49 PM on February 1, 2016 [8 favorites]

I've got to think all the "That was a dick move of you to close the door" answers are from men. I'm a woman, and I'd NEVER hold the door open for someone to follow me into a 6x6 glass bank vestibule. Not even a pimply faced teenage girl. This is not any sort of policing on behalf of the bank. It's policing my own personal security. It's called preventing assault, theft, or worse every chance I get. And because I have been assaulted, I feel justified. Not that I have to justify myself for self preservation.

You were wrong, OP, with your escalating comment, but that doesn't excuse anything he did.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:41 AM on February 2, 2016 [13 favorites]

You guys realize an ATM door isn't remotely secure right? That literally anything with a magnetic strip will open 95% of them. Some of them don't even need a magnetic strip.

don't kid yourself that the door makes it some kind of safe space. Actually what make it safe is you would literally need to be the dumbest criminal in the world to do something there because there are multiple cameras.

The reason why OP was a dick was because he made a judgement that the guy "looked a bit rough" and let the door close in his face.
posted by JPD at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2016

To me it all depends on what your motivations were. If you perceived that he was a threat to you and that you felt safer with him locked outside until the bank opened, then I think what you did was fine. Your willingness to be confrontational with the guy makes me doubt that was the circumstance. If the guy was just looking to wait inside where it was warm and/or dry and you were being a rules-oriented nit, then you were a jerk. Either way, escalation with a warning to be careful who he talks to that way is a bad plan, even if you are prepared to join with violence because you never know just how crazy the other guy is prepared to be.
posted by Lame_username at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I said he should be careful who he talked to like that.

I see you have already marked the answer that confirms your actions as best, but I feel I have to say, I kinda can't believe all these comments affirming your behavior while glossing over your clear escalation with that remark! Why would you threaten anyone, much less someone you already deemed "Crazy?"

It is hard for me to imagine being 50 and not having more experience with disturbing confrontations-- I'm suspecting you live in a nicer place than me and maybe have some of that male privilege stuff going on. If you'd had more experience you would know to never say stuff like that.

I understand this was a jarring situation and it's not your fault if you don't have much experience handling this sort of thing, and of course this is all hindsight, but for future reference: that was not street-smart, at all. As a woman I would literally fear for my life if I let a comment like that slip out. Don't be a hothead. Especially around other hotheads.

I also disagree with other responses invoking the police (again, just for future reference.) Unless you see an officer at the door already, that is an empty threat and a further escalation. I mean, how fast do police respond in y'all's neighborhoods?

Looking at these responses, the door thing must be cultural. I'm not gonna call you a dick for letting a door close on a stranger; in some neighborhoods that's rude but it mine it's not. (As others have said though, that's not gonna keep him out, but whatever makes you feel safe is fine.) However, were you feeling truly unsafe, or were you maybe flexing some power, acting as the bank's volunteer "bouncer?" If the latter is the case, that too could lead to more of these distressing situations in the future.

You didn't ask for this to happen to you and I'm sorry it did, but this incident should serve as an example of why you should keep your cool, not as confirmation of your confrontation skills.
posted by kapers at 9:13 AM on February 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

"Sir, I'm sorry I offended you. I let the door close because it's card access, and I don't know you or whether you are a customer of the bank. Now I can see you have card access, but until you used it I didn't know. Personally, I always let card access doors close behind me because I think it's safer for everybody. I'm very sorry if I seem rude, but I hope you can see it from my perspective. Now I'm going to finish using the ATM and get out of your way."

Basically, in a situation like this, I think it's best to be polite, slightly deferential, and very explicit about your motivations to clarify that your behavior was not intended to offend or motivated by a negative judgment on your part. You're absolutely not in the wrong for making him use his card access, but being polite and apologizing for causing offense does you no harm, and lets him know you take his feelings of offense seriously (even if you don't) which can de-escalate. Someone who behaves like that isn't likely to be fully mollified by anything you say or do, but hopefully it keeps him being only verbally unpleasant until you can remove yourself from the situation. I agree with others here that telling him to be careful who he talks to that way is potentially escalating the situation.
posted by biogeo at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2016

The reason why OP was a dick was because he made a judgement that the guy "looked a bit rough" and let the door close in his face.

I live in Baltimore. Doing this at a bank ATM vestibule is not seen as dick behavior here. It's considered street smart. (Minus the pissing contest remark.) Sure, the doors aren't that secure, but in a confrontation, seconds can count.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

The reason it's a kind of dickish move is the bank was going to open in 15 minutes, it wasn't late at night. There were no factors of concern besides your deciding the guy was sketchy looking (instead of maybe efficient, as he probably figured he was by trying to slip in without having to get his card etc. out).

99% of the time, I (Canadian) would probably have just held the door open. If I were legitimately concerned about someone following me into the ATM area for the purpose of stealing *my* money, I would walk out and do something else until he left, or go to another bank. I definitely wouldn't be protecting any bank's honour.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:21 PM on February 2, 2016

This is a trust your gut call. Don't sweat your visceral reaction. You should listen to it.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:30 PM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

The reason it's a kind of dickish move is the bank was going to open in 15 minutes, it wasn't late at night.

People don't get robbed only at night or only out of sight of security cameras. People don't get robbed only by shady looking people. Hell, in Baltimore, children often assault adults walking down the street minding their own business.

Look, there's a difference between holding the door open for someone following you into a grocery store, office, or 7-Eleven and someone following you into a tiny vestibule where you have access to all of your cash. Whoever doesn't see that must be lucky enough not to have ever been the victim of a crime, or to have sat on a jury.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:38 AM on February 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

People don't get robbed only at night or only out of sight of security cameras.

Yes, aware, thank you. It's about perception. I'm saying that if I were a possibly short-tempered but honest & non-robbing guy of casual demeanor and dress, I might be more understanding of someone slamming a bank vestibule door in my face at midnight - due to perceptions about that other person's possible fear relating to banking at night - than I would in the light of day. (I might not, I don't know, but I'd feel extra pissed if it happened when I was on my way to work and just wanted to grab some money for e.g. the cash-only coffee stand by my workplace.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:19 AM on February 4, 2016

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