Saturday, 24 September 2011


I had a conversation this morning which, given how much I am disgruntled with my current bank, shouldn't have really surprised me.

With the new mortgage in place and the new joint bank account activated, I decided to start the process of closing down my old bank account by moving money from it to the new account.

'Can I move some funds from this account to another account, please?' I said, after eventually making contact with a real person in customer services ( and I use that term very loosely).
'Yes,' said the real person. 'How much would you like to move?'

I told her.

'I'm afraid I can't do that,' said the real person.
'Oh,' I said. 'So, how much exactly CAN I move today?'
'I'm afraid I can't tell you that,' she said. 'It's confidential information.'
'So,' I said,' you are telling me that the money that is in my account, which is mine, cannot be moved into another account which is also mine.'
'Oh, it can be moved,' she said. 'I'm just not allowed to tell you how much you can move.'
'Oh,' I said, because I wasn't really sure how to proceed from here.
'But I can arrange for a call-back for you in the next six hours, so you can move the money later today,' she said.
'Right,' I said. 'Six hours is quite an inconvenient amount of time to be sitting indoors waiting for a phone call. Can you be more specific?'
'Yes,' said the person. 'It will be in the next six hours.'
I decided that if it would be a means to an end I would agree to the call back.

'What's your phone number?' said the real person.

I told her.

'No,' she said. 'That's not the number we have registered for you. I'm afraid the call-back facility will be unavailable.'
'Even though I've just given you this number?' I said.
'Yes,' she said. 'Because it's not the number we have registered for you.'

I was puzzled at this point. Because we've had the same number for 7 years which is exactly the same amount of time I've had my account with this bank.

'If you go into your local branch with some photo ID, they'll probably be able to move the money for you,' said the person.

I didn't like the use of the word 'probably.' I am already imagining that when I go to the branch they will say, 'Oh we can't do that in branch because we're too busy eating biscuits and planning our next Saturday night out on the lash. You'll have to call customer services.' At which point I shall end up causing a scene in public because this is the point I have reached and nothing will hold me back.

Instead, I sighed and said thank you and goodbye. And then I went into town and took my daily cash allowance from the bank's cash machine and if that's what I have to do for a few days to prise my money from their clutches, then that's what I'll do.

The new bank, on the other hand, has been a paragon of politeness, helpfulness and all-round organisational saintliness. Andy says it won't last, but for now I like the fact that they call me Mrs Hunt, and not Denise, like we're great pals, and they have real people in their branch who say please and thank you and and give you eye contact and ACTUALLY smile like they are pleased you are there, and treat you properly and not like you are intruding on their extended coffee break.

On a totally different non-banking note, today Andy and I shared our first Much Malarkey Manor melon! It was quite a small melon, but it was a good melon, and a tasty melon and we were ridiculously chuffed with the whole melonness of it!

And now I am on a mission to find Kayleigh some proper wooden imaginative play toys for when she visits because looking around the shops this morning I was wholly unimpressed with the array of plastic tat that abounded. I want something hand-crafted, preferably Made in Britain, something cheerful and durable that makes you feel all lovely when you look at it.

A bit like our new bank.

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