Don’t bank on it

After a week without online access to my current account with the Cooperative Bank, I’ve switched.

I couldn’t face it any longer, despite being a customer of theirs for years because I like their ethical stance. Their IT error meant they didn’t recognise me as customer so I couldn’t log in.

And they couldn’t tell me how long it would take to put right, because it’s with their IT experts in India. They did tell me it could be more than eight weeks before I hear from their customer response team. That’s about the same time it takes for them to answer the telephone at the moment.

I know we’re all meant to be kind in these times of coronavirus and be understanding and all that, but I just wanted vent on social media and pop up out of my Twitter screen like a Roald Dahl giant and punch them in the throat.

Instead, I looked at the latest reviews on Trust Pilot and came to the conclusion I’d had a lucky escape with the Co-op up over the years in any case.

Still, let’s hope my new bank measures up and that my money successfully switches over and isn’t used by some disgruntled member of the Co-op’s customer response team. At least my new bank has a local branch I can go and harangue see once the lockdown is over, which could be some time.

In other news, I keep hearing about the wonderful chats people are having with their family over WhatsApp and Zoom. You never hear from the people whose kids and grandchildren don’t want to speak to them.

Whenever I contact my daughter, she points the camera on the phone to the ceiling or puts her dog on to speak. And then when she asks the granddaughters to come and say hello to granny, they run away.

On Sundy, I briefly saw the seven year old putting on roller skates – bought from her own pocket money – and then sliding off into the kitchen and out of the camera’s reach.

Happy days.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

Carry on screaming

It’s one of those days already.

I’m on the phone to my bank again, and, after pressing all the buttons and then a hashtag over and over again, I’m told by an automated voice that my call will be answered by an operator in approximately ten minutes.

It’s on loudspeaker as I type this at the dining room table. The jaunty music is getting on my nerves. The good thing is that I am moving further in the queue.

It’s times like these when my inner Victor Meldrew kicks in.

Although I’m feeling guilty because at the beginning of the call, the deadpan, North Country voice (I’m with the Co-op) announced that I should only phone if absolutely necessary because they’re overwhelmed by coronavirus and if I have access to my account digitally I should do that and stop bothering them.

Those weren’t her exact words but that was the gist.

Trouble is, I would if I could but I can’t. The online system won’t recognise my user name. Maybe I’ve forgotten it? I haven’t forgotten it. I’ve already followed the appropriate prompts to have my user name emailed to me just in case it had slipped my mind. Nope, it’s the bloody one I’ve been using for the last fifteen years.

Four weeks ago, I set up a savings account with the same bank but, stupidly, the bank left off one of my initials and now it won’t marry up with my current account online. And now I can’t get into the bloody current account in any case.

I’m not usually one for swearing but this morning I sound like Hugh Grant at the beginning to Four Weddings and A Funeral.

During my wait, Mr Grigg nuzzles up to me, having spent more than two hours on community shop business, and says, ‘I love you baby’. They say you hit out at the ones closest to you, which is exactly what I do by telling him less than politely to go away.

It’s not fair and he huffs off in a storm of righteous indignation. But at this point in time, all I want is for the problem to be solved without endless bloody phone calls and waiting in a queue. I want my bank to employ some joined-up thinking because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, but that could be because they’re immersed in hand sanitiser.

The morning started badly in any case. I discovered on my daily dog walk that my favourite tree of all time in the village has died. All those hundreds of years of growing only to die before the spring. And then I saw a flattened grass snake in the lane, which had shuffled off its mortal coil.

And, of course, the thing uppermost on everyone’s mind is that the world’s been hit by a global pandemic.

And now, I’m finally through to a very nice man at the bank who tells me computer says no.

There appears to be no user name registered with the bank account, the one I’ve been using for the past fifteen years.

I actually mutter ‘FFS’ in full before he puts me on hold again with that bloody music and then comes back on to tell me there’s an IT problem which probably won’t be resolved until next Monday.

I explode – not at him but at the bank whose staff and computer system have decided to self-isolate from each other.

I thank him for not being able to help me. He thanks me for my patience, I put the phone down and scream very loudly before putting this on at full volume.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x