Monday, January 7, 2008

God Bless (some of) America!

I needed to cash a cheque the other day but as it was in dollars I thought I’d ask how much it would cost to put the money into my sterling account. The young cashier thought about this for a moment and then asked the girl sat next to her. After a hushed chat and an indiscrete giggle (about what I have no idea) she came back to my window and announced proudly that it would cost me 2.5% of the value.
‘So how much is that then?’
The girl took a calculator, turned it on and looked at it for (and this is no exaggeration) 3 minutes without pushing a button.
‘Do you want me to do it?’
She smiles, giggles again and pushes the calculator under the glass for me to punch the numbers.
‘That’s two hundred and fifty quid! You sure about this? I ain’t paying two hundred and fifty quid to cash a cheque.’
‘Well, the cheque is for a lot of money isn’t it sir.’
‘Not really, no. Can you get some one to confirm this please.’
Now the girl huffs, spins her chair and walks toward a group of older women huddled around computers at the back of the room.
‘It’s zero point two five percent.’ she tells me when she returns.
‘That sounds better. So how much is that then?’ I asked, pushing the calculator back at her to see if she knows how to divide by ten. She didn’t so I told her, completed the transaction and left the building, strolling back to my car and resolving to move my account. But is the bank entirely at fault here? I mean if I, as a customer, don’t have the bottle to tell them that a divvy has slipped through the basic training net, how many customers must they lose before they find out? Well actually you know, not my problem, so stuff ‘em. A business shouldn’t be relying solely on ‘customer feedback’ questionnaires to tell them how to improve crap service. They should be delivering anyway, just like the American model that they all bang on about so much. This attitude is typical in the UK if you ask me. Somewhere along the line the UK has decided to adopt only a part of the American ideal and not all of it. Trouble is, it appears for some reason that we’ve only embraced the rubbish bits (gun culture, wars, fat arses, customer feedback forms, tornadoes) and decided not to bother so much with the good stuff on offer (cheap petrol, cosmetic surgery, customer service, cheap petrol). Of course, if you don’t agree or are not completely satisfied with this opinion, please feel free to let me know.

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