Citibunk

Typically captivating Wall Street Journal A-Hed on Friday:

Mystery Writer: Does Citibank’s S. Larson Really Exist?

Bank Won’t Confirm Identity of Secretive Signatory; Enigma of Customer Care

Lede:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Is S. Larson for real?

People who use Citibank credit cards have wondered about that for around two decades. S. Larson sends them letters—millions of letters. S. Larson always signs these letters in the same diligent hand of a grade-school penmanship student.

Signature:

Kicker:

The words “Customer Service” appear under S. Larson’s name. S. Larson has no title. S. Larson has no gender.

Regardless, Fun Fact to Know ‘n’ Tell #1:

It isn’t an easy spot to be in. “Customers can get angry,” one Citi worker says. “People have shipped dead rats.”

Fun Fact to Know ‘n’ Tell #2:

S. Larson’s “ferocious work ethic” and “remarkably stalled career,” as a comment on Daggle puts it, leads many Citi Card holders to believe that S. Larson doesn’t exist.

Fun Fact to Know ‘n’ Tell #3:

“S. Larson? That’s not a person,” says Larry Russell, who runs a financial Web site in California. Four years ago, he realized his interest payment had jumped from 2.99% to 32.31%. He complained in writing. S. Larson replied that he was “not eligible” for a refund.

Mr. Russell phoned Sioux Falls, demanding to speak with S. Larson. “S. Larson was always unavailable,” he says.

Finally, a service rep gave him an answer: “I was told that Larson is not a human being,” says Mr. Russell. “It’s a name spit out by the system. There really was no S. Larson.”

Memo to S. Larson: This is how Betty Crocker got her start.

Just think about it.

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