Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, March 27, 2006

I don't beliieeeeve it

I appear to be turning into a Victor Meldrewish type figure, really. Thwarted by petty beauracracy and nursing a throbbing vein in my temple the size of a Nik-Nak (not nice and spicy flavour, either).

But I'm going to moan about one more thing, and then stop, alright? then return to writing haikus about, I dunno, snow blossom or something, and gazing at my poster of a wet kitten with the 'bad hair day' legend embazoned across it in comic sans.

Had today and Tuesday off, so endevoured to fulfill the second leg of my quest to become a limited company by opening a business bank account. Unfortunately I hadn't reckoned with the Camberwell branch of HSBC, where they've presumably had to reinforce the floors to cater for a typical days traffic, whilst simultaneously forgetting to employ anyone – anyone real at least.

I eventually spotted a weary looking HSBC employee at the head of a queue, to be told twenty minutes later that the soonest I could be seen was next Monday afternoon, if the world didn't end first. Man this guy was getting me depressed. Fair enough though, the only other sound above the paranoid aandroid's valium induced drawl was the sound of teeth getting sucked and middle englanders tutting behind me, which would've induced clinical melancholia in Ebeneezer Goode.

I agreed, but on leaving thought 'fuck it' I'll see if any other branches of my bank in the nations's capital would see me tomorrow for half an hour. Herein followed a debacle it probably takes an institution as monolithic and arrogant as the HSBC to unwhittingly engineer, as this simple exercise is now seemingly impossible.

Having gained the number of the Baker Street Branch off t'internet, I rang it at home, only to be greeted by that flat robotic woman's voice that makes me want to go out and smash phone boxes.


It intoned at me, irritatingly, before a tinny loop of Handel's Water Music kicked in, in a vain attempt to soothe me.

Then, predictably, after some Parappa-the-Rapper-esque tone dialling shenannigans I got connected to the inevitable call centre located in Delhi, or somewhere, where my 'customer service advisor' was scarcely more helpful than robot bird.

"Er, hi, I just want to speak to someone at the Baker Street branch to see if they'll see me tomorrow?"

I asked.

No fucking chance, it transpires. The girl offered to ring for me, again putting me on hold for yet another bout of torpid lift music, before informing me that no-one was answering the phone, though if I liked, she'd leave a message for me.
Ultimately it transpires, any number I get off the internet leads solely to one of these places, where my 'customer service' consists of someone telling me no one is picking up the phone somewhere else. Thanks.

Ultimately, I ended up going into central London and walking to the Baker Street branch, where within quarter of an hour I'd arranged a meeting for tomorrow, and the staff were very helpful and polite.

It did mean I missed Countdown though.

'The World's Local Bank'? yeah right.

OK enough!


Zeno Cosini said...

Halifax try to give you the impression that they've got more staff than they have by littering their branches with cardboard cutouts of their charmless corporate spokesperson, "Howard Brown," who looks, incidentally, not unlike an ant. He doesn't respond to questions, alas, and even if you screamed them into his face you'd be rewarded only by an unfaltering blank smile and a benignly vacant gaze from behind the circular lenses of his self-consciously unfashionable spectacles. More disturbingly, he seems recently to have morphed into a malignly disproportioned animated version of himself. Why? And does the original Howard still get royalties? Where is he? Does he still work for Halifax? Is he in cryogenic freezing somewhere? Perhaps he's allowed himself to be physically integrated into the computers at the heart of the Halifax corporate machine and exists now only as a deliquescing hub of man-flesh at the centre of a crackling mangrove of wires and electrodes. I don't know. I just don't know.

UnderCrackers said...

I opened a business bank account, got a business credit card, cash card and current account card all over the internet and phone with Natwest..real people and all, they set up a Streamline merchant account for me and gave me a paying in book with massive sized cheques. all I have to do is give them my children, clean theirs loos and blow the MD.

gridrunner said...

My long-time-ago-ex-girlfriend’s mate used to work with Howard, in the main Halifax branch of Halifax.