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This is a question Banks

Your Ginger Fuhrer froths, "I hate my bank. Not because of debt or anything but because I hate being sold to - possibly pathologically so - and everytime I speak to them they try and sell me services. Gold cards, isas, insurance, you know the crap. It drives me insane. I ALREADY BANK WITH YOU. STOP IT. YOU MAKE ME FRIGHTED TO DO MY NORMAL BANKING. I'm angry even thinking about them."

So, tell us your banking stories of woe.

No doubt at least one of you has shagged in the vault, shat on a counter or thrown up in a cash machine. Or something

(, Thu 16 Jul 2009, 13:15)
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Banks are fun
"I'd like a new card, please."

"Can I ask why you'd like a new card?"

(No, you fucking can't. Just give me another card.)

"My Ebay account and email account have been hacked. There might be information that they could use to shop online. I need to stop my card."

"So your card has been stolen?"

"No, I have the card right in front of me. I'm just worried that the details on it might not be secure. I'd like to get a new one issued."

"Has your card been damaged in any way?"

"No, I'd just like a new card."

"I can't issue a new card unless one has been lost, stolen or damaged..."

"Can I just get this one stopped and a new one sent out?"

"I can only do that..."

"I understand. Well, we'll just say it's lost then."

"I've stopped that card, and I new one will be with you in 5 to 7 working days. The PIN will arrive separately before the card. If you need to get any money out from that account, take two forms of ID and a statement with your account number on it to your branch."

"Great. Thanks for your help."

"Thank you Teepee, have a smashing day."

(Smashing? Are you a 1940's schoolboy?)

[Later that day, in branch]

I've fucked up. There's no way around it. But I've got no choice. Two miles is a long way to walk in the rain. Needing the cash for travel, I've got to front it out.

"I'm sorry, but without a statement, you can't make a withdrawal."

"I have several forms of ID here... Birth certificate, Passport, P60.."

"But I'd need a statement. Your card has a stopped indicator on it, which means it could be stolen.."

"I know, I stopped it this morning. Can I.."

"...which means it could be stolen. For security purposes..."

"Can I speak to your manager?"

The manageress and I have the same philosophical debate. We dance well, it turns out. There's a lot of 'I understand what you're saying... but' from my end. She's 'sorry for my inconvenience'. The problem is, while I do understand what she's saying, I don't care what she's saying. Can't back down here, there's no wiggle room in this argument. And as much as I don't care what she's saying, it isn't as much as she isn't remotely interested in my inconvenience. We're inconveniencing each other in equal measure, she as a functionary, and me as an impossible function. We're in trouble. But we continue dancing, because I can't back down. Each minute I've got an extra employee dealing with me in branch is money they're losing in employee use value. If it's the manager, that's the employee and the manager, whose time is worth about five times as much to the branch. Every time I get to the counter and stay there for five minutes with a manager, they've lost an hour of labour. There will be longer cues for the next ten minutes. And I feel bad for a second there, about the other customers and their inconvenience, I really do. But in equal measure, I really just don't.

I'm palmed off to the phones to see if I can get any joy from a transfer to my savings account.
Before I go, I let them know that having my card frozen will mean I won't be able to pass phone security checks; and that I'll have to come back. After a brief ten minutes with a Emma in Scotland, it is apparent that I'm right in this instance. However, I do get a break. After asking alternate security questions, which I answer well, she has accepted it is me, and tells me "Proof of identity is at the discretion of the branch manager". All I have to do is get her to exercise her discretion. Emma is saddened by my treatment, bless her. I shouldn't have been sent over to the phones. I agree. I told them, I said. We both sigh simultaneously. The world is unjust, blighted with fools. I get a branch employee over to talk to Emma, who berates them for a minute that they shouldn't have done that.
I will miss Emma.

I'm back at the front of the queue. I'm wanting to talk to the person I haven't spoken to yet, and get to the manager again. The manager is at lunch. She's just gone. How about the assistant manager? They're not here today. If you'd like to go over to our other branch in Market Square... (I stifle a chuckle) I'm willing to wait for the manager, I say, and sit down in the waiting area. I begin playing Scrabble on my phone. The computer pulls out some wacky words on the hard setting. And somehow, I find this pleasing. The wait begins.

The lunch crowd doesn't die off for a full hour, half term increasing the traffic more than usual on a weekday. It's hot in the branch, but I wait. I get QI on a triple word score for 33. As a variant spelling of chi, it means life force. As mine drains slowly from my body in non-specific increments, I gradually realise this is a simple battle of wills. It's me versus the Man. The fucking Man.

The hour passes, and the crowd is falling away. Children, two boys, are demolishing a wire puzzle table next to me. As they begin a vigorous, noisy dismantling procedure that I had not at first considered, I smile benignly. I'm glad they are costing the bank money. They are my little accomplices, and their solidarity is edifying. I return to my Scrabble game. I can hear them discuss my waiting game at the counter as the late lunch crowd evaporates.

The game finishes, and I walk up to the empty counter, which is manned again, on my second return. I'd like to speak to the manageress please. You've already spoken to her. I'd like to speak to her again. Whether she accepts my ID is at her discretion. I'd like her to reconsider. I need access to my funds. I tell the cashier I'm going to wait to see the manager. At this point, just before I leave the counter, while taking a second free lollipop, I sense a firm hatred has developed from this cashier towards me. A notion forms that perhaps I'm keeping her from a tasty sandwich. What sort of sandwich would this cashier eat, I think to myself. Some sort of processed or mechanically recovered meat, on white bread, thickly coated with some sort of butter-u-like. Tomato sauce, but not a cheap brand. That kind of quality meat deserves the best, and by God, it'll get it.

I sit and wait again. I begin tapping my feet, to pass the time. It will annoy someone, alert them to my continued presence. Two other children begin playing with the puzzle table next to me, and are ushered away by an employee to a different area, who takes the puzzle table with her. I'm no longer a simple problem customer. I'm a menacing, sinister time bomb, a danger to both the branch and all who inhabit it, especially children. For a brief second I am upset, but then am pleased. They must desperately want me to leave. This is good news.

Five minutes later, the cashier who hates me arrives with instruction from the manager.

"As a one off, we're willing to allow you to withdraw a hundred pounds. You won't be able to do this again, we've put a note on your account..."

"Fine, fine..."

We walk back to the counter, and the process begins. I pass her my passport, and birth certificate. She almost pushes the birth certificate back in my hand. "We don't accept birth certificates", she said. As I knew for a fact that they did (this was a few years ago), I realised she was just being rude. A bad loser. Never mind.

She hands me my cancelled card back with the money, but not onto my side of the counter. She forces me to reach over, through the perspex shield to pick it up. She is imagining hitting the security button by accident, crushing my arm against the ceiling with a ten foot steel wall.

"Isn't it the 31st today?", I say, nodding towards the calendar which has been set to the 30th all day.

"Thanks again for all you help"

Later I eat at a Subway, to celebrate not having to walk home.

"I'd like a six inch Veggie delite, extra olives, on wheat."

"Just six inches?"

"Never had any complaints. Can I get some light mayonnaise on that?"

Tasted like victory. Small, petty victory.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 4:25, 7 replies)
i like this
i like this a lot, in fact i love it.

it reminds me of a style i've read before, maybe in The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood, maybe, i'm not sure, that was the last book i read which was in first person anyway :)
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 5:25, closed)
me likey.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 16:34, closed)
Superbly written
Well done.
(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 21:45, closed)
I like your writing style. (:

(, Sun 19 Jul 2009, 22:54, closed)
All was going so well.

Then you had to buy the gayest sandwich in the history of mankind!

What a shame...
(, Mon 20 Jul 2009, 15:49, closed)
this is simply ACE!!!
Love the fact you didn't complete lose the plot and start killing people (or swearing) which I doubt I could've done under the same situation.

Great read too. Cheers and click!
(, Tue 21 Jul 2009, 9:57, closed)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this
A ripping good yarn :)

(, Wed 22 Jul 2009, 11:56, closed)

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