I am always fascinated by the way a simple task in this country can turn into a mini drama. I could never emigrate – the sheer efficiency of the First World would drive me insane. South Africans are addicted to adrenaline and we don’t have to bungee jump to get a thrill – a simple trip to the bank can do it.
Today I find out that my savings account had been suspended. After three hours in the queue at the bank, I am told they have closed my account because it has less than R100 in it. The woman at enquiries says it was too costly for them to administer.
These days, all banks operate on self-service – they practically do nothing and still charge us service fees. I notice that they have recently done a branch makeover and the bank was now gleaming with shiny tiles and Perspex.
But instead of it resulting in the bank being made more efficient, it is now a complete disaster area. They are now short of five staff members, who have probably been retrenched to pay for the glossy refurbishment, and the queues are long. Queues for various counters are not demarcated and people have to change from one queue to another, which is the cause of expressions of aggression, as some customers try to jump the queues.
The actual banking hall is now the size of a large toilet cubicle and they have employed a deaf and dumb teller. I am all for employing people with disabilities – but placing them in job appropriate situations would be helpful.
This teller takes twice as long to process transactions as his clients battle to understand him as his hand signals became farcical. His colleague becomes irritated as people shuffle into his queue to try to avoid any interaction with the first teller.
The level of aggression in the room is at boiling point and I wonder about storing my money under my mattress, as banking visits are sure to damage one’s mental health.
I do recall a newspaper story published a few years ago about a man who let loose a number of poisonous snakes in a bank ... I know a whole queue who would sympathise with him.
Adrenaline thrill for the day .... tick.