The Blood Bank

The Blood Bank, where I bank, is keen on inviting people in to meet their Relationship Manager. These are nearly always people who are in training and supervised by those who are licenced to advice on products that they can not advise on. These supervisors work like close protection officers.

The Blood Bank brings out the worst in me. The twenty or so Relationship Managers, I have had over the years, activate a desire in me to give oxygen to the worst excesses of my imagination. No matter how provoked I am by compulsory videos on what the consequences will be if I commit fraud, during a conversation I never wanted, I have to remember that reducing the youth before me to tears, will make matters worse for everyone.

Clare was my favourite Relationship Manager. She was tenacious. After many phone calls I succumbed and agreed to meet her to review my banking needs, but on the strict proviso she would not try to sell me anything. Her opening salvo was to read from a prepared script about the product range she would now set out for me. My protests were met with a demand that I listen. She moved on to home insurance.

Set out on the screen were the options which she now needed me to look at. I explained that I could not see the screen. “Well how was I to know?” she said. “I mean, what exactly can you see?”

“I’m registered blind. It says that on your system,” I spat.

“Yeah, well, that could mean anything. I don’t know. I’m not an optician. I need you to look at the screen.”

“Well, I’m not going to,” I said. “There’s no point.” I could feel myself flushing pink and seething.

There was a moments silence and then she spoke very slowly, supporting what she said with exaggerated gestures towards herself, me and the computer so that the half wit in front of her would be left in no doubt. “I need you to read the information that I am telling you yeah.”

“No,” I said and got up and left.

The Blood Bank allegedly wrote to me to say that overdraft charges were going up. They can’t tell me when as its not on their system. It might have been one of those occasions they wrote to me in braille or small print, neither of which I read. This was a job for the Relationship Manager.

Rebecca explained the product range she would talk to me about and I said I just wanted to deal with bank charges. She said she couldn’t do anything about that but had to play me a video. I said I wouldn’t be able to watch it. She said that I should listen. She said this was about the regulatory framework. It was actually about how the bank would use my information. The regulator was never mentioned. She moved on to credit cards. I threw up my hands and felt myself turn pink and start seething again.

We finally settled on a savings account upgrade that would give me an extra 0.15% a year. I estimate this was probably the best mornings suffering I have ever been through for an £3.50. Although this might turn out to be more “because some people think it is,” according to Rebecca.

After 25 years of banking with The Blood Bank; they still can’t get my name right, seem to think sight impairment is a matter of stupidity to the point that they once suggested I ask a grown up to help me operate the cash machine, and continue to fox me with communications I cannot read.

My Relationship Managers always says how pleased they are to meet me and how they can “only apologise” for any misunderstanding. I always end up apologising for my fury and they always forgive me. Funnily enough, I never meet them twice.

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