That’s what my bank – Peoples United Bank – is telling me.

Yesterday (Feb. 16, 2011), when I went to the portal (the link above) to log in to my account, I noticed an offer for free Kindle (if you click on the link to see this, you may have to do so a couple of times since the offer rotates with other offers for low mortgage rates and low home equity lines of credit).

Now, while I’m pretty technically savvy, I’ll admit to being a bit of a luddite when it comes to new devices (my daughters despair over my view of cell phone functionality – I still think the major purpose is to make calls, much to their chagrin). I have long preferred curling up on the couch with a book (ok, so I do buy paperbacks!). But recently, as more and more of my friends and colleagues have strutted their reading devices, I have started thinking about acquiring one and have recently been researching Kindles, Nooks and iPads.

So, I was intrigued by this offer, from a bank where I have been a customer for a couple decades. I clicked on it, where I found the fine print which includes, inter alia,

  • “This offer applies when you open a new People’s United Advantage Checking Account (the “Account”) between 2/8/11 and 3/18/11 with a $25 minimum opening deposit and a recurring direct deposit.
  • “To qualify for the Kindle®, you cannot have an existing People’s United Bank personal checking account and must receive at least two direct deposits of at least $250 each into your new Advantage checking account within 90 days of account opening.”

I emailed the bank questioning why they would advertise this on the login-screen (i.e., the place where CURRENT customers go…), pointing out my longstanding relationship with them and noting that I maintain an average balance rather substantially in excess of the $525 they require to open and deposit within 90 days. Here is their response, verbatim (not even a salutation – at least the grammar, if not the capitalization, is correct…):

In response to your inquiry, I do understand; however, the kindle offer is for new customers only.

Thank you,

TRACKING NUMBER:  A00002053062-00006653834

Note that Karen thought it was important enough to document the response with a tracking number for some reason known to her and her superiors, but she didn’t think I was important enough to get a salutation…

Seth Godin ponders How should you treat your best customers? in a recent post, noting:

…what if you define “best customer” as the person who brings you new customers through frequent referrals, and who sticks with you through thick and thin? That customer, I think, is worth far more than what she might pay you in any one transaction. In fact, if you think of that customer as your best marketer instead, it might change everything.

I’m certainly not their best marketer, at least not anymore…

Now, in fact, not only is this stupid person NOT going to refer People’s United Bank to anyone, but this stupid person is now both actively telling anyone he can NOT to open an account there and actively looking for another bank.

Stupid is as stupid does.