In a delightful coincidence, today's Times explains why my strategy works.
Scott Taffera sensed something was wrong when a man walked into the Ballard bank branch he manages wearing garden gloves, a hat and sunglasses.So there you have it. If you can maintain your sang froid, most likely, the robber's own nerves will take care of the rest.
But instead of following the nonconfrontational strategy used by most banks with suspicious people, Taffera approached the man with a hearty greeting and an offer to help. He invited him to remove his hat and sunglasses, and guided him to an equally bubbly teller.
In the end, the oddly dressed man requested a roll of quarters before slinking out the door....
By focusing attention in the guise of good customer service on all who enter a bank, [FBI Agent Larry] Carr says, bank employees can unnerve robbers, who generally try to remain as anonymous as possible when approaching a teller.
The ploy specifically targets so-called "note jobs," in which a robber passes a note demanding cash to a teller, Carr said. He estimates 90 percent of bank robberies in the Seattle area are note jobs.
Well, not any more, now that the word is out, but it was a great strategy while it lasted.