Went in to get cash and there wasn’t too much of a queue, two tellers at two of four terminals – didn’t mind as there weren’t many of us.
Chap in the line said, ‘Three of them standing around,’ he nodded towards where two bank ladies were chatting but that still left one not accounted for.
‘Oh well, we’ve two terminals.’
Lady on one of the terminals called out that it was broken.
‘Typical,’ said I, ‘nothing to do with customer service in this place, is it?’ Just loud enough for bank officers to hear but not too loud. ‘Do you know they’re planning to reduce it to one terminal, even if the queue is lined up to the door? One of the staff told me some weeks back.’
‘There’ve been two on terminals for a long time,’ called out the lady at the non-functioning terminal.
‘Yes but that’s head office’s plan, isn’t it? Nothing to do with you, love,’ [I live in that neck of the woods where everyone calls everyone love], ‘you’re just as hard hit as we are. We’re moaning about head office, not about you. I’ve phoned HQ already.’
‘Get anywhere?’ someone asked.
‘Nah, they tell you you’re being recorded for training purposes, note your complaint and that’s that.’
That brought one of the meeters-and-greeters over. ‘Could I help you, sir?’
‘Doubt it, love, I have to take money out. That’s one of two reasons I come through these doors now – that I need cash. Most things I do online.’
‘And the other?’ asked my new friend.
‘To talk to these ladies – I’ve known them a long time now.’
‘There’s always the cash machine here,’ the meeter-and-greeter nodded over towards it.
My look was scathing and my new friend in the line said, ‘That’s exactly what we don’t want to do. He showed his passbook. I want to see my money listed in this book and come to the bank and get any I need. We put our money into your bank, so why don’t we get decent service in return?’
I agreed. ‘If I’d wanted to use those blinking cash machines, I’d not have needed to come in here now and put up with this.’
‘They don’t cater for our generation any more,’ my friend added.
‘They’re not secure – the fraud and theft on those machines is too high a risk, also I don’t want to, simply because the bank is trying to force me to. Sorry to be difficult but I’m the customer and I want service.’
This received murmurs of approbation from the now increasing queue and the bank ladies saw they had a rebellion on their hands. ‘Don’t worry love,’ I said, ‘My complaints are not about you, you do a grand job, they’re to head office and one of my complaints was that it was really hard on you ladies as you have to put up with us angry customers day in, day out, for no extra pay.’
Well, that started it. The bank ladies themselves were nodding – they all know me and one thanked me for representing them in the complaint.
‘That’s the thing – you ladies and us – we’re all in the same boat. All because head office wants to force us to do things we simply don’t want to do. I want no special treatment here, I want to stand in the line and wait my turn. But I will say this – if the queue were to the door, which means a 45 minute wait, I’d do that rather than use one of those machines.’ I nodded over to them.
‘They’re quite secure,’ said the bank lady.
‘Really?’ Then why is the hole in the wall inside the bank, not outside, on the wall?’ She was silent. ‘Look, love,’ it’s not you this gripe is with, I’ve said that, I don’t want to get into anything with you – you have a tough enough job as it is. But truly, this thing that’s going on here – it stinks. As I told head office.’ More murmurs of approbation.
‘It’s like this at ASDA,’ someone said.
‘Yep,’ said my mate. ‘All those tills and only two open.’
‘They’re trying to cut out staff,’ said someone else.
‘All these bleedin’ cuts,’ said one, in a reference to St Tessa.
‘That’s what it is,’ I agreed. ‘Now, I need to assure you I’ll be a good boy now and wait my turn, not trying to start a revolution here.’
When my turn eventually came, courtesy of the very lady on the terminal which ‘didn’t work’, she just smiled at me and I at her. We’ve both been there years, we both know the score. The service was exemplary.