Please don't be angry at us

Banking is a highly competitive business; we all know that, right? That's why premiums are offered for coming in and opening, say, a checking account. But sometimes the freebies can be in the form of an apology, too. Case in point: the presentation one day last week by Zuercher Kantonalbank in Switzerland of a bouquet of flowers to a customer – and the promise of still more "nonfinancial" compensation as soon as possible. It seems the woman had asked for access to the vault so she could review documents in her safe-deposit box. Something in them must have been awfully engrossing because she was deep in study as the 4:30 p.m. closing time arrived and an employee locked the heavy door, not realizing that she was still inside. And there she remained, sitting so quietly that she activated neither the motion sensors nor the attached closed-circuit camera. An hour went by, then another, and another. Finally, four hours later, the detector picked up movement and guards were sent to investigate. The woman, who is well into her 80s, emerged none the worse for wear and, presumably, fully caught up on whatever it was in those documents that she'd been studying.

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