"I was at my bank earlier this week, making a deposit, when I saw a display for VISA gift cards," recounts Drew McLellan at his Marketing Minute blog. "I needed one for a gift, so I thought … great, I'll just get it here."

Thus began the exasperating process of completing the sale. First, McLellan learned his credit card payment would be processed as a cash advance—one that required his signature on a special form. Then he had to register the gift card by filling out a second form with his name and contact information. Finally, he was asked to read and sign a two-page disclosure of terms and conditions. Huh?

"[Ten] minutes later, I had my $50 gift card," says McLellan. And even though at each step of the tortuous process he continued to assure the teller there was no problem, there actually was, because the ordeal changed his perception of the bank's efficiency. "I could have bought the exact same card at my local grocery store or Walgreen's in 30 seconds," he notes.

For what might have been a $1 commission, the bank not only annoyed a good customer, it also caused him to wonder how long it would take to process a core product like a mortgage.

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