The New Etiquette of Bank Robbery

As the season of giving trickles to a close, the season of taking arrived Monday when five banks in the New York City area were robbed. With tough economic times come an increase in bank robberies, and heists in the city are up 54 percent this year.

John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde didn’t rob banks because they wanted to be notorious. They robbed banks because they lived during the Great Depression, and they were hungry and scared and worried about where the funds would come from to cover their next bar bill. Such is the state of our economy that the next Jesse James and Baby Face Nelson are due to shine.

But there’s no reason this Great Depression can’t be even Greater than the last one — not to mention more civilized. That’s why we’re suggesting an etiquette policy whereby those who need to rob banks can do so without resorting to poor taste.

1. Absolutely no robbing of banks on Mondays. Like Seacrest on New Year’s Eve, Mondays are something we, as a species, must endure as painlessly as possible until Gossip Girl airs. There are four other perfectly rob-able days in a workweek. Hello, Wednesday? That bitch has “plunder me” written all over it.

2. Once inside the bank, always hand the teller a note. We realize it’s cliché, but in this era of e-mail and text messaging, there’s just something charming about putting one’s thoughts down on stationery. No monograms necessary, of course.

3. When making a getaway, always use public transportation. “Bank Robbery” is so much more romantic than “9 Dead as Getaway Driver Slams into Starbucks.” If you’ve got to commit a job in the age of Obama, you might as well make it green collar.

4. Try to rob banks only in the boroughs. Every bank robbery in Manhattan has to be reported on the evening news, whereas it takes five in one day to report on the boroughs. Might we suggest Park Slope, any place in New Jersey, or Park Slope?

5. If you absolutely must rob a bank in Manhattan, steer clear of banks with high tourist traffic. Tourists tend to stare and snap pictures at things they don’t see back home, which could result in a number of botched robberies. Not to mention dead tourists.

6. If you suggest to the teller that you’ve got a gun in your pocket and he or she asks to see it, proper etiquette requires that you show the weapon. If it turns out the teller called your bluff, get the hell out of line and stop wasting everyone’s time. Seriously, we’ve been there for twenty minutes already.

7. You know what you never see these days? Good footage of bank robberies. You know what you never see ever? Good footage of reality-TV stars, newly arrived to The City, being robbed while filming an episode.

8. Have a plan before you enter the bank. Nothing ruins a day more than a crook who hasn’t thought things through. The best way to strategize is to watch bank-heist movies. Might we suggest Heat, Point Break, Reservoir Dogs (actually a jewel heist), and this timeless scene from Dog Day Afternoon? But not Mad Money, please.

9. Stay close to home. Some of the greatest bank heists in history have been inside jobs, like this guy. Remember, kids — crooks that carry guns get away with hundreds of dollars, but crooks that carry BlackBerrys get away with $50 billion.

10. No do-overs. If you attempt to rob a bank and fail, you can’t decide all willy-nilly to just rob another bank later in the week. Like Brett Favre, Eric Mangini, and the rest of the Jets, you had your chance. Now go get a job like the rest of us. But not our jobs. They don’t pay.

The New Etiquette of Bank Robbery