You know the one I mean, the lane right next to the building itself. It is always labeled as “Merchants Only”. Does that mean that only merchants can use that lane? Or is that the only lane you can use if you are a merchant?
In other words, if I’m not a merchant, can I use that lane?
I know I’m not the only one confused by this, because there can be three or four lanes open at the bank, and this one is always empty, as if everyone is afraid to use it.
Several reasons: Merchants typically have more money on deposit at the bank, so the bank makes more money from the use of their funds. During the day, they are running business errands, and as a courtesy, the bank doesn’t want them held up behind personal customers, just like the plumbing supply house that waits on tradespeople ahead of Joe Homeowner. Finally, merchants are often stopping by the bank to retrieve night deposit bags from a previous drop, and they don’t fit well into the mechanical or pneumatic motor bank system carriers. It’s faster and easier to pass them through the window drawer.
I’ve never seen the drive-through only lanes, but I’m sure there are some around here.
I have seen merchant-only windows inside the banks. Usually, if no merchants are there, they’ll call a non-merchant over from the regular customer line.
I was going to say that I wouldn’t see any harm in using the merchant-only lane if there are no merchants and you’re going to be a quick transaction. Then I thought about it some more.
The difference in the drive-through, is they usually only have a couple of tellers for all the lanes at the banks here. So it’s not like there’s a teller standing around with nothing to do while that lane is empty. Therefore, you’re not only likely to get in some merchant’s way, but you’re jumping ahead of all the people who were following the rules.
I always use the merchant’s lane if it’s the only one unoccupied. The first time I did it, it was by mistake, and I said “Oops - I shouldn’t be in this lane . . .” and the teller told me it’s OK, use it anytime. She said the purpose of the dedicated merchant’s lane is that merchants’ transactions take longer, and their bulky deposits can’t go through the pneumatic tubes.
This may not be true everywhere, but Sharky’s experience would certainly be my understanding. YBMV*
So, yes, it’s exactly like a handicapped bathroom stall. They are not designed or intended to be left unoccupied all day for the chance of somebody needing one for a few minutes.
Another way to think about it is to compare it to the Trucks and Buses lane at tollbooths. All trucks and buses must use that lane, but others are not kept or prohibited from doing so. (At least the ones I’m familiar with.)
It is not at all like reserved handicapped parking, true. But nobody mentioned that.