“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
We talked before about banks. I have a feeling they will feature from time to time in a blog like this because nothing and no one has done more to mess up the lives of ordinary decent people.
On a national scale they have lost fortunes, used their political influence to make even stupider politicians bale them out with OUR money and without our permission, and are now proceeding to lose another fortune, whilst at all times paying themselves huge bonuses for their incompetence.
On this occasion I was in my local branch. The branch where I set up my accounts. The branch where they know me, and have done for years. The branch where I visit, maybe once a month now, it used to be a lot more frequently but what with internet banking nowadays there isn’t so much need to go there in person.
But that day I’m in the bank, in person. I have two accounts, a current account with check book and debit card and a savings account also with a debit card. Both debit cards are identical except for the numbers.
First order of business that day was to lodge a couple of checks into my current account. Somebody had actually paid me for doing something. Hurrah!
I handed over the current account debit card and the checks and the girl behind the teller’s counter logged everything in, I signed a deposit slip and she gave me the card and receipt. Easy-peezy!! (Not sure how to spell that, but never mind.)
I wanted a little bit of cash too. So I took my savings account debit card out of my wallet, set it down on the counter and told the girl, the exact same girl, what I wanted.
“Do you have any I.D. ?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” I replied.
“I need to see some form of identification,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Hello,” I said. “H-E-L-L-O!!! It’s me. I’m here in front of you and have been for a while. You remember I’m the guy who just deposited those checks into my account?”
Thankfully she remembered. We were getting somewhere.
Or were we???
Nope, I guess not. She still couldn’t give me my money without some ID. And of course I hadn’t any on me, never thought it would be needed for a little job like this.
There were other customers waiting to be served, but I didn’t care. I felt compelled to try to expose the absurdity of what was happening as best I could.
I took a small step back from the counter.
Then I took my current account debit card out of my wallet again and placed it in my left hand. I did the same with my savings account debit card, only placing it in my right hand.
I held up my left hand clutching the current account card, explaining what it was, and said to the girl,
“Now you know who I am, right?”
She agreed. She couldn’t see what was coming next, dear help her.
Then I put my left hand down by my side and held up my right hand, this time clutching the savings account debit card, and explaining to her what it was.
“Now you don’t know who I am, and I need ID before you can do anything, right?”
They may have been eager to get on with their own business, but most of the customers seemed to enjoy the demonstration. Even the guy at the other teller’s window stopped what he was doing and watched, smiling. I think he’d been through a similar experience.
I had brought the whole bank to a standstill.
“Sorry, I don’t understand,” the girl behind the counter said.
A few of the other customers could be heard giggling.
That got her flustered, but she tried to go on, by way of attempting to explain this totally pointless and idiotic supposedly security procedure.
I interrupted her.
“Look,” I said. “I have been a customer of this bank, in this branch for more years than I really care to remember. You know who I am and you’ve known who I am for years. But now, because some half-wit in your head office has sent you a sheet of paper with an “I need to see ID” box on it that has to be ticked, all of a sudden you don’t know who I am. Have I got that about right?”
She didn’t answer. She didn’t know the answer. In fact she didn’t even know there was a problem that needed an answer.
The morons they put in these jobs nowadays are only trained and capable of ticking a box, not thinking outside one, to apply a little common sense to a situation.
The only place I was heading with this girl was smack dab into one of those stupidity loops I talk about from time to time. “I need to see ID. I haven’t got ID with me but you know me. But I need to see ID. No you don’t. Yes I do…..”
I shook my head, put my cards away and turned round to apologize to the folks in the queue I had kept waiting. They were all fine about it. There were even a few mumbles of “It’s fine”, “no problem”, one guy even said, “forget it they’re stupid in here anyway”, and away I went.
I didn’t go very far. Outside the bank I found an ATM and stuck my savings account debit card into it. Thankfully the ATM machine knew me without ID. I smiled into the camera, pointed at my face and mouthed the words “It knows me”. I pressed a few buttons and hey presto, got my cash.
I think the world is a poorer place when the only sensible things you get to talk to are machines, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice!
Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.