Thursday, October 23, 2014

Banking On It - Thursday

‘Now that’s what I’m talking about.’ I exclaim, brandishing two meaty completion cheques head high. Solicitors are slow to change - slow at everything now I come to think of it - but there’s something reassuringly solid in receiving a fat, touch it, feel it, sniff it commission cheque when a deal has finally ended happily.

‘Err, what are you doing?’ Asks negotiator S warily. I look at her, then realise I have actually, unwittingly, held the largest of the cheques to my nose.
‘The smell of money.’ Chuckles assistant manager T. ‘Gives old-time estate agents a hard on.’

I scowl at T and his head goes down. He’s been on the same HR courses as me and knows when a comment is inappropriate in the work place. Fortunately, I’m tucked well into the desk, so my excitement at receiving the funds is concealed by the aptly named modesty panel.

‘I do all my banking on-line.’ Says trainee F, with that vapid look I just didn’t notice when i interviewed him. I was too impressed by the fact he was one of the few who had bothered to wear a suit and who could actually speak audibly. I blame his mother, both for the tailoring and the wasted money on a private education. You can try to polish a turd, but it’s still crap at the end of the day.

‘I want the pleasure of taking the cash to the bank.’ I tell F.
‘It’s not cash though is it?’ Interjects B from her lettings enclave. ‘I get plenty of low-lifes bouncing cheques on me.’ She also had a Czech bouncing on top of her last year, if rumours about that tenant from Prague were true - but that’s another story.

‘It’s as good as.’ I tell her, my enjoyment slowly being sucked from me, in a way I wouldn’t normally let B do.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever written a cheque.’ Ponders F dreamily.
‘They’ll be consigned to history before long.’ Says T dismissively. ‘Everyone will bank on-line.’
‘No, this is tangible.’ I argue, waving the cheques once more.
‘Analogue man in a digital world.’ Retorts T pithily. It’s not an original line, but he deploys it well.

‘Don’t know why they can’t open a few more counters.’ Says the woman behind me in the long queue at the bank, later.
She’s talking to me, despite my body language screaming, leave me alone everyone. I glance at the array of tellers’ positions, most with their irritating little pull-down blinds deployed. I nod in agreement.
‘All too busy flogging policies nobody wants or needs, or out repossessing some poor businessman’s home.’ Sneers the woman, with the sort of venom that can only collect from being bitten personally.

I nod again, in what I judge to be a tacit agreement without the need for further discourse. It’s pleasing to note that bankers are below estate agents and jostling with politicians on the public hate list - it won’t last. To be on the safe side I clutch my company paying in book closer, I don’t want her to see who I work for, she might have had a pleasant moving experience but the odds are against it.

‘Sorry for the wait.’ Says the banker from behind her glass protection, when the cretin ahead of me - who seemed to be paying in the clattery contents of several stolen charity tins - has gone.
She doesn’t look sorry, she certainly doesn’t sound sorry, but that might be because I can’t hear her properly - despite the sound loop sticker that maintains her insincere corporate mutterings are allegedly audible to the deaf and the desperate.

I watch as the woman robotically stamps the counterfoils and processes the cheques. Eye contact lady, I think angrily, at least try to engage. But the armour-plated glass acts as a personality barrier as well as a physical one. Perhaps branch banking is as doomed as my staff maintain, I think dejectedly, as I trudge to the door only to walk in to the hobbling banker coming in. Damn he’ll want to talk reciprocal business.
‘How are things?’ He asks briskly.



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