Counter check

I’m loving this heatwave. Bring it on. I’m treating it like it’s the only summer we are going to get, because let’s face it, it might be the only summer we are going to get. Today has been devilishly exciting. I have filled in forms, ticked boxes and signed on dotted lines. And then I catalogued lots of comics. I let some people in to my downstairs neighbour’s flat too, just to mix it up. And I did a load of washing. Bitches, that’s how I ROLL.

Yeah sometimes you need an admin day. One thing I discovered is that cashiers at Barclays can’t do anything at all anymore. You’re better off calling Captain Checklist in (maybe) India. I arrived at the counter and realised as I was looking for ID that I’d dropped my card. I cancelled it with the cashier, but she is unable to reorder for me without photo ID. I could have stood in front of her and rang Captain Checklist and he would’ve done it with the information in my head. Annoying. But I had come in to get a counter check so I let that slide immediately, and sorted it with the captain as I was walking home. For £1.20 a minute most likely. But anyway, counter cheques…


One of the companies I’m communicating with wants me to chisel a cheque out. I’m always up for a bit of nostalgia. But I have no cheque book. Nor does Barclays. I ask her for a counter cheque and she looks at me blankly for a while, then says “Oh you need a banker’s draft.” “Ok great,” I respond. “I’ll have one of those then please.” “Oh, yes of course but the person that does them isn’t in today.” “Ok… Are they in tomorrow?” “She’ll be in on Wednesday so you can do it then. It takes some time you see.” “Is there another branch where I could get one done tomorrow?” “Oh the branches are open on a Saturday, but she won’t be here. It’s a weekend.” “So if I wait until Monday, where should I go?” “On Monday you could try Knightsbridge branch sir.”

As I leave I wonder if she thought it was a test. My surname is Barclay. She would’ve clocked that as she cancelled my card. As with most major corporations I’m sure the directive is the same: “Be simultaneously as obstructive and obsequious as humanly possible. Rather than saying “no” say a version of “yes” that means “no.” If the customer has left with what they want, you have failed, but you still need to try to manipulate their empathy so that if a computer then immediately asks questions that make no logical human sense like “Based on the human that was nice to you, on a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend this obstructive megalith to a friend,” you just tick “10” because you don’t want her to have to sit in front of a panel of stern faced obedient morons asking why she got a 2 when Mel from accounting gets a perfect 10 all week and maybe they need to look into things operationally…”

Maybe that’s it, I think, as I wait on hold in India somewhere walking home, my terrible phone jittering in the heat. She thought I was part of that Barclay banking lot. Right now I wish I were, financially. If not necessarily karmically. But I still haven’t worked out what to do about the cheque, outside of waiting until Wednesday…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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