When did you last call your bank?
I was obliged to call mine yesterday afternoon, a
marathon conversation that left me irritated and resentful. If I hadn’t rather abruptly cut off my
so-called ‘representative’ – a female automaton programmed with a soft Scottish
burr – I’d probably still be talking to her this morning.
I hereby vow not to put myself through the experience
again unless, literally, I’m left with no choice.
To be fair, I presume I was talking to a lady, not a
machine, though either was the programming involved must be identical. Why people like her do these jobs is beyond
me, unless she lives in an area where work of any kind is scarce. How humiliating to be subjected daily to
abuse from customers who, unlike me, have a short fuse and a sharp tongue.
Even I started to become exasperated when she asked me
the nineteenth question designed to establish that I was who I said I was. In return, she failed to be amused when I quipped
that she seemed to be preparing to write my biography. “It’s your personal security information,
sir,” she intoned. “It’s required for safety purposes.”
As if I didn’t know.
And so, we ploughed on – date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden
name, address, post code – until the sun began to sink along with my mood. Then she wanted to know the two ‘familiar,
unique personal words’ I’d given the bank when I’d opened the account. Damned if I could remember giving such
words. “What kind of words?” I
asked. “Typically your birthplace, or favourite
flower, or dog’s name,” she replied with a sigh. “How stupid is this man?” I could almost hear
her thinking. Eventually, by process of elimination, and
some prodding from her, we arrived at our destination.
Then I couldn’t remember my security pass code, a
six-to-ten digit number I’d also established when opening the account. We had to come up with a new one, not
something obvious like my telephone number, but something random. How am I supposed to remember random? Yes, I know, write it down – “But keep it
somewhere safe,” she admonished.
What a peculiar rigmarole, and what a crazy
dysfunctional environment we’ve created, in which doing something simple as
rolling over a term account – in my case paying a princely interest rate of 1.8
percent – can be so painfully
Now where did I put that number …?