My mate Kevin shows me the way home. Again. I’m a rank outsider.
ARE WE REALLY JUST A NUMBER?
OR CAN WE TURN THE TABLES?
Life is pretty tough for us at the moment. Most of us are feeling the pinch. My wife has started having sex with me because it’s cheaper than batteries. (ok-bad joke)!
This is a genuine situation!
I currently have a few debts totalling around £2500. Ok it’s not a massive amount to some but it’s something I want to clear as soon as I can. I explained my situation to the bank and they agreed with my calculation that a £2500 loan would consolidate all my debts, and after my monthly repayments I would actually be around £50 a month better off as I wouldn’t be paying so much in interest.
Guess what. Computer said no. Bad credit record.
“Ok, well thanks anyway. Just thought I’d try” I said and left to think of another plan. After all, why should the bank worry. They love people with debt. Interest charges make them money. I am just a number.
A couple of days ago (about 2 week’s after visiting my local branch) I happened to be in a different town shopping and walked past their branch of the same bank. Something made me feel naughty. I popped in. I don’t know why I thought of this but I did.
I hovered around the leaflets that decorate the walls until a young lady came over. Our conversation went something like this. (Remember I made this up as I went along).
“Can I help you sir?”
“yes please. I need to open an account”
“Ok sir, who do you currently bank with?”
“I have never had a bank account. Had the same job since leaving school and still get paid in cash every week”
“That’s very unusual these days sir but we can help. Why do you need one now?”
“I have received some inheritance and have no account to pay it into”
“May I ask how much the cheque is for?”
(Remember I am making it up)
“Just over £420,000”
After she picked her jaw up, she continued.
“Ok sir I will get some information and see what’s best for you”
She took 15 minutes explaining every type of account I would qualify for as a ‘high priority customer’. The only service they didn’t offer me was to come and do my housework once a week. At one point I thought she was going to polish my shoes. As I never had id or the cheque with me (well I wouldn’t would I as it didn’t exist) she gave me an appointment with her and a senior manager. She walked me to the door smiling. Either she wanted my phone number or she was thinking about her promotion for securing my business.
How easy it was to turn the tables. In 30 minutes I had gone from being something nasty left on the pavement to virtual royalty. It was worth half an hour. I was no longer just a number. She called me ‘Sir’ and that rarely happens.
My next move is undecided. I am tempted to go to the appointment and explain myself. Tell them I am unhappy at not even being offered reasonable consideration for help when I could use it, especially as I have banked with them for 9 years, but can have the kitchen sink thrown at me when I go in talking 6 figures, I can then close my account and take my modest business elsewhere.
Or I could be decent and pay the price of a phone call to cancel the appointment. Somebody else may need that time to ask them for help.
I have never really had money and don’t suspect I ever will, but if I did, Barclays Bank wouldn’t get their paws on it. I would rather donate to charity than see them earn out of it.
So if your in a strange town where nobody knows you and you’re bored, give it a try. Can’t tell you how funny it is watching them run around like idiots grovelling to you.