On Friday, while I was working at the bank, I asked just about every customer that came through my line if they had any plans for the Super Bowl and then I’d ask them who they wanted to win the game. The Super Bowl proved to be a great topic of discussion which virtually everyone I talked to had an opinion on, and while I started asking the question to be friendly and make small talk, I genuinely began caring about their answers as I saw a pattern forming. It didn’t start off as a survey on social class and how that affected which team they wanted to win the game, but it was very interesting to see how banking tendencies factored into the situation.
Friday was pay day for a lot of people, so it was busier than other days during the week with people coming in to deposit or cash their pay checks, and in these two commonplace acts, I saw the pattern forming. When people cash their pay checks I have to know if they have an account with us and if they don’t I ask if they’d be interested in talking to someone about setting one up so they don’t get charged a fee every week to cash it. Almost every time I ask the question they are shaking their heads before I can finish, they’ve heard it all before, and they’re not the least bit interested. They just want their money and to get out of the bank as quickly as possible. I see these same people every week, hard working people who just want to take their money and go home to spend the weekend relaxing before they have to repeat the process all again in a couple of days. This group of people, every single one of them, told me they wanted the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl and they urged me to root for them as well. You could see excitement in their eyes as they talked about the Falcons bringing down the likes of Tom Brady and the Patriots and it was hard not to feel excited at the prospect as well.
On the other hand I had businessmen and women coming into the bank to deposit their checks from clients. This group was made up of lawyers and doctors and leasing companies. They had accounts that were well established, the tellers knew them by name as they were there all the time making deposits. With the exception of one person, every one of these customers told me that they wanted the Patriots to win the game, and they too said it with a spark of excitement in their eye, as they talked about the stability of the New England organization and the impeccable worth ethic of the coach and the quarterback. They seemed to relate to the Patriots in the sense that they were highly successful businessmen and women and wanted to see the most successful organization in the NFL over the past decade continue to be at the top of the mountain.
The people who cashed their checks, however, aligned with the Falcons, the underdog. The Falcons haven’t made it to the Super Bowl in years, and nobody really expected them to get there this year, but they worked hard and fought their way into the big game, much like the first group of people work hard and fight their way through another week of work. They feel like the underdog, like they are always fighting and scrapping for everything they get, and like the Falcons, nothing has come easy. The more I thought about this fascinating trend in banking tendencies and how that affects who someone wants to win a football game, I’m going to be cheering for the Falcons tonight. All of the hard working underdogs out there could use a win tonight, before going back to the grind tomorrow.