Friday, 7 November 2014

Don't Leak On My Parade

Tricky times at Hedges Towers. We have a leak in the flat roof, and water is coming in and soaking two walls. Thus the bathroom contents are currently on the landing, and the utility room is in the hallway. Apart from the worry of water damage and the bill to have the roof fixed - we now know it needs to be completely replaced thanks to the disreputable cowboys who fitted the original one, we are also having to get up in the night to change the newspaper that is soaking up the water

Which meant we were pretty fed up by the end of the week, when BH and I went into town to close his annual savings account at the bank and transfer funds elsewhere. He has to be physically there because I, despite being married to him for 39 years, and in full possession of every identity document of his that you could shake a stick at, am not now allowed to open or close or do anything without his actual presence, thank you, even though we apparently own 60% of the bank concerned.

We both think it's preposterous and a waste of our time. Especially as we used to be able to open and close accounts for each other, and we have a joint account there anyway. So, picture the scene therefore: It's Saturday morning. We are anxious about the roof. We are cross. We have not slept well. We have heavy colds. We are fed up with stupid bank protocols. What followed was something Samuel Beckett would not have been ashamed to own. As I recall, it went like this:

BH:  You don't need to stay with me.
Me:   Really? Are you sure?
BH:   I can manage perfectly well. You go and wait over there.
Me:   Over here? OK. I'll wait.
Young Female Bank Person: So Mr Hedges, what is the name of the savings account?
BH:   I don't know. It's just a savings account.
YFBP: I need the actual type of account.
BH:   Oh for goodness sake. (calls) What's the name of the account?
Me:   I thought you told me to wait over here.
BH:   I don't know the name of the account.
Me:   You said you could manage.
BH:   I could, only I don't know the name of the account.
Me:   So you want me to come over there now?
BH:   Yes.
Me:   You don't want me to wait over here?
BH:   No.
YFBP: (smiling rather too brightly) Right. Let's start again...

That was pretty much as good as it got. We agreed afterwards that we'd never made it through a bank visit quite so speedily before. Bank Person couldn't get rid of us fast enough. None of that 'while you're here ..'' stuff that usually heralds them attempting to flog you naff insurance. It was: Pretend to smile, press the buttons, print the paperwork, please please go away now. We are thinking of hiring ourselves out to other bank customers.

See - every now and then being old has its advantages, and we need all the advantages we can get as neither of us are getting any younger. Certainly we're not getting any saner. Quite the opposite. And given the way that we are becoming more and more incensed with the red-tapery of life, we may soon be carted off to the nearest psycho-geriatric unit in matching his and hers strait-jackets. If the water from the roof doesn't carry us off first.


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22 comments:

  1. ...I reached that point of bordering on being top prize winner in the Customer From Hell category... the inanity of bureaucracy is everywhere,,, from time to time, the small victories are contained in using up as much of the bureaucrat’s time with a succession of the most inane questions I can muster on my side, then repeating them d nauseum... YEAH!... the Old Empire Strikes Back ! :)

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  2. Absolutely --latest bank won't transfer my money as I have no valid pic on my passport, & my driving license (paper one).I have bus pass/School ID. Name sewn on vest. Not enough.

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  3. Red tapery…great term, awful awful waste of life, humour and practically everything else. I know this was meant to be humorous, CarolStar, but I so feel for you in you dampness, I got quite cross on your behalf!

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    1. It isn't fun...but nobody's died. Yet.

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  4. A stepdaughter had money in a trust from her dad, and I was trustee. The bank knew me, I'd been with them for years. But when she was 18 I wasn't allowed to pass the money over to her without her being there - even though I had all her details. The woman in the bank was really apologetic, as I know her well, but her hands were tied by the boxes she had to tick! Bonkers.

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    1. Daft innit! Cannot believe they are so stupid ...for a tiny minority who MIGHT defraud

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  5. I loathe going to my bank, maybe the experience would be slightly improved had I any money in it, but essentially, there are a myriad other reasons that conspire to make my fists clench and my lip curl with feral intent.

    Reasons such as being ambushed the moment I walk in by some hyperactive bank person who, through lips bearing lipstick seemingly applied after a marathon sprint of watching 'Whatever Happened To Baby Jane', feels the need to pounce upon me to direct me to the cashier's desk which is only an arms reach away from me anyway!!

    Frankly, it's questionable that anyone needing that kind of assistance to locate the immediate proximity of the desk should be allowed to tend to their own finances in the first place!! What's next?...a bank sponsored orienteering course to assure safe arrival from the bank's entrance and across the 10 foot void of perilous possibilities leading to the cashier??????...*and breathe*

    Thanks for waking me up, Hedges, with your vibrant, temple throb inducing post! Given what you're going through right now, between roof leakage and nose dribblage, it seems thoughtless to laugh as much as I am...but I can't help it!..Good stuff woman!...

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    1. thanks. If you don't laugh, you'd shoot yourself. Or I'd probably shoot you as you're nearer.

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  6. On our last visit to the bank we were attended by some CHILD with a stupid hairdo who promised to sort out our contents insurance renewal and then buggered it all up so we paid twice in August. Furthermore, he called my husband by his Christian name instead of Mr ...

    Now keeping money under bed in shoebox.

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  9. Thank you for a giggle on a very damp morning, Carol. I do hope it's not raining as much where you are as it is down here. I've forwarded your post to my husband, and we will spend the afternoon thinking of ways we can duplicate your performance in our own local establishments. [He was asked the other day to prove his identity at the post office in our tiny town, where we know both the post master and the post mistress professionally and socially. Madness!]

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  10. Hope you get it all fixed and sorted soon, not great when it keep s raining.

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  11. When I tried to buy my car the bank would not authorise the payment because I had put the wrong date of birth. They expected me to put it the American way with month first!!

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    1. *shakes head* soon they will want your shoe size, your great great grandmother's maiden name and a pint of your blood.

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  12. It's all data protection. Good as far as it goes. Wouldn't want some 'Victorian Dad' character emptying little wifey's account for example.
    It was irritating when my lad was 18 and I could only stand there and listen in. It is infuriating when an adult family member needs you to do stuff for them and 'data protection' stands in the way. We're trying to sort out my 92 y/o mum's leccy bill long distance (she banks with Eon to the tune of 700 smackers it seems) and it's a perfect nightmare.

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    1. I had probs with another bank as I didn't have a valid passport , nor a driving license with my pic. I HAD a school ID lanyard and a Police Criminal Check cert. Told them if they didn't accept that (for which I had to provide a birth certificate) I'd sit until they called the police, as they were virtually accusing me of ID fraud. They caved,

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  13. I love that kind of rapport. Hilarious. So sorry you're suffering with leaks and colds and all sorts though. I hope you get it all sorted very soon.

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  14. You and hubby make a great pair - if you did decide to hire your services out as professional bureaucratic patience testers you'd be in high demand. I hope you get over the colds and get the roof fixed soon - it sounds absolutely miserable - not what you want to experience at this time of year.


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  15. The trouble with our younger generation falls on how they are trained. It's all about 'get um in and get um out' churning customers through the washing machine of banking. When I was beginning my working life I was taught customer service from a 'have a chat' perspective. I'm still the same today and never shut up! I hope your roof situation meets with a satisfactory conclusion - I for one am looking forward to the 'Carol-needs-a-new-roof-tour' (well if it's good enough for Peter Kay!) ;-)

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  16. Problem with flat roofs is that they don;t last forever, like tiles. And once water gets inside it can do all kinds of damage. But once it's renewed, you can be pretty sure it'll be watertight for several years. Trouble is, the bitumen coating tends to degenerate over time. Good luck with it all

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  17. Oh Carol! (Que for a song) Your roof problem sounds horrendous. What a nightmare. I do hope you get it fixed soon and it doesn't cost the earth. As for the bank I remember my father-in-law used his wife's cashline card,they had a joint account. Something was wrong with the machine and he went into the bank to take the money out there. The teller saw his wife's name on card and confiscated it. She then said his wife would have to apply for a new one. He said to her,it might be a joint account but it's my bl.. y wages that go into it.
    The amount of I.D we've had to show for selling a house is mad.they want bank statements and household bills and as we pay everything online we get no bills sent to our house. It's time they lived in the real world.

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