Should Dick's Dump Bank of America?

Since late last year, a Bank of America ad campaign has featured none other than Dick's Drive-In. The bank gave Dick's owners financing to open a new joint in Edmonds, and in words of one Dick's owner, the bank was "supportive and really wanted to help a small business grow and support jobs." In this week's installment of Tabletop Wrestling, we debate whether the Dick's brand is tarnished by the public love of BoA.

*See Also: Tater Tots: the John Oates of Sides or Just Gross?

Are Beer Fests a Rip? An Oktober Showdown

Daniel Person thinks banking falls into the "unmentionables" category

I don't begrudge Dick's for getting a loan from Bank of America. I wouldn't begrudge Dick's for getting a loan from the Ayatollah, if the terms made sense and it kept the milkshakes cheap.

But banking is kind of like shitting: Everyone has to do it, but that doesn't mean you should bring it up over burgers.

Yet that's precisely what Dick's is doing by allowing a bank to feature them in its latest feel-good ad campaign.

And not just any bank. Bank of America. The too-big-to-fail Goliath that needed billions of government dollars just stay afloat, then said "thank-you" to taxpayers by trying to charge customers $5 a month for their debit card. Even President Barack Obama criticized the fee, to which the CEO said, "We have a right to make a profit." Again, the words of a man whose company's LOSSES put a lot of us out of our homes and sucked the public coffers dry to make up.

Compare that to Dick's, which along with a great, cheap burger, wins the hearts of us Seattle liberals by offering its employees a 401(k), health care and scholarships, and it seems like a mismatch.

But, I get it. Business makes mismatches. It's one of the geniuses of capitalism: that the pursuit of the buck can wipe away a lot of personal prejudices.

My only wish is that we didn't need to know about it-- like a shit, even the thought of it can make one lose his appetite. DANIEL PERSON

Read Mike Seely's response on the next page

Look, Bank of America fucked up. All of America's major financial institutions basically did during the 2008 meltdown, only BofA compounded it with the insane $5 debit card fee that you reference, Dan. But after customers either complained or fled in droves, the fee was rescinded.

On the one hand, they never should have charged the fee in the first place--or approved all those shaky mortgages. But by admitting they were wrong, they engaged in an almost unprecedented act of contrition in their generally insufferable field. And if they want to double-apologize by financing Dick's expansion into the suburbs, well, I can't think of a better way to cozy up to working families--or 1 a.m. drunks in search of a fourth meal that doesn't involve the initials T and B.

Let me close with a story about Chase bank. Generally speaking, I don't admire Chase. But, unfortunately for me, they purchased my mortgage from the small brokerage I selected about two months after we bought our house. The market had softened slightly, but this was still pre-crash. Almost two years ago, when we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, Lucinda, we started applying for loan modifications, and got shot down twice by Obama-backed programs. We then went fishing for a live human in Chase's brokerage ecosystem, a process that was a lot tougher than it should have been. But we found one, and he quickly got us approved for a modification that effectively kept us in our home.

See, when it comes to finance, the old adage of "hate the player, not the game" gets flipped. The game sucks, and its rules need to be rewritten. But there are still players who can achieve some very positive results, be it for Snohomish County burger fans or newspaper editors north of White Center. MIKE SEELY

comments powered by Disqus