Putting it into practice

After writing about not colluding with powerlessness, I seem to have got a few things to work on.

My latest upset is Barclays Bank. Some years ago they closed down lots of branches in “small towns” including the one I live in. (Other banks did the same.) The main irritation of this to many people is the difficulty of paying in cheques. Once upon a time, when we lived a long way from a bank, Barclays gave us prepaid envelopes to do this. After a while they refused to do that anymore. Anyway, to lessen the blow to rural communities, they agreed to allow cheques to be paid in at Post Offices. This is useful, supports local Post Offices too (that's nice, because I'm not sure that the government want to support this useful social service) and – unsurprisingly – you have to obtain special envelopes to do this.

What happens if you keep ordering them and they do not arrive? Then you can't use the service anymore.

The system is that you phone a free number and get put through to a helpful person in Mumbai (I have nothing against that in principle.) He asks you for your address which he writes down and then faxes to an office in Britain. The office in Britain then posts the envelopes to my home. This seems a complicated system. Why not just use an online portal that automatically prints out the shipping documents? Why not use e-mail rather than fax?

When I phoned the same number and asked what the procedure was if the system worked, the reply was, “I can only send a fax.” So he sent another fax, and the envelopes did not arrive again. Why should they? (Einstein quote!).

When I spoke to UK customer services on the phone, they said they could not help me as they had no “procedure” to do so. Helpfully the lady took ownership of the problem and phoned the same number to ask for some envelopes for me. She had to wait about quarter of an hour in the queuing system.

I'm sure you will await the next instalment with excitement!

I still have not heard from Monarch Airlines, after I wrote to them.

On a brighter note, when I made the effort to chat to my local councillors about some things that were winding me up, I started to understand their problems more, and feel that they are now more in touch with the needs of those they seek to serve. I am impressed by the dedication of people who serve as local councillors, often doing it pretty much full time without a salary.

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