Friday, 12 April 2013

Chequing in at the Bank

I feel the urge to write, yet again, about banks.

Last week, I went to a local branch for what should have been a fairly swift transaction.  I queued at the counter and after a lot of shuffling around, was told to wait in the middle of the entrance atrium.  The bank had, worryingly, tried to get trendy, and there was a dark circle picked out in expensive granite, surrounded by small spotlights set into the floor.  The effect made it look like someone hadn't swept it for a while, but once your eye was in, you could see they were going for an unusual interior design effect.  I waited uncertainly in this nondescript area, where other people were hovering around looking confused.  A harassed woman with a clipboard was seeing to people at random and pointing them to other places to queue or wait.

It happened to be the bank that particularly prides itself on understanding local traditions around the world.  Well, this is Britain.  We need a well ordered queueing system.

Why hadn't the bank understood that?

After an age, I had to fill in a form with her and then wait on a stool for another age before being shown to a trendy, circular pod covered in large photos of 'sexy' bankers.  A young lady came in and there started a rather frustrating discussion.  I explained I needed to draw a large cheque.  She wrote 'check' on a piece of paper, so I helpfully spelled out 'cheque'.  She said, 'it doesn't matter', but crossed out 'check' and wrote above it, 'check' again.

My heart sank, I knew this was going to be difficult.

After another age she said I could pick the 'check' up on Monday, which I couldn't do as I would be at work.  'Maybe', I suggested,' I could collect it from the Morden branch'.  She disappeared for an age again, came back and said I could collect it from the New Malden branch on Monday.  I said, 'Morden' not 'New Malden'.  She wrote, 'New Morden'.  I resisted the urge to bang my head on the desk.  Then she asked why I didn't write my own cheque.  I said I didn't think I could have a cheque book with that account, but she promised to order me one.

IOff I went shopping, to receive a phone call a short while later, saying I needed to go back as I couldn't have a cheque book on that account after all.

Eventually, a manager took pity on me and said I could have the cheque in half an hour.  All in all, it took two hours and involved five members of their staff.

At another bank, a year ago, I had an employee tell me I needed a 'rabais'.  When I expressed confusion she wrote it down for me.  Much later I realised she must have meant 'rebate'.

I would like to plead with banks that they make the newbies learn a list of frequently used banking terms before they let them near customers.  It can't be that difficult.