Thursday, October 30, 2008

Poor Banks....

"Mum, can you pick me up please?"

8.30 a.m.

The two night camping trip had lasted just 12 hours.... We had said of course. Camping on the coldest night so far this year is not exactly my idea of a picnic. But then being parents, of the older generation: those boring old and unfashionable remnants of society that we are.... how on earth would we know anything about what might or might not entertain a teenager? Of course, I hadn't quite bargained for what I was met with as three teenage boys piled into my car whilst their "stuff" was piled into the back.

As I drove along, I smelt a faint "whiff" of alcoholic breath. "It's a good job that none of you boys are driving" I said. "I am not sure that any of you would pass a breathalyser."

We stopped at the first drop off, and unloaded the goods and the boy........ looking seriously worse for wear.

After he had gone, the other two then proceeded to tell me the real reason for their early homecoming, and it seems that my son and friend, uniquely had managed to drink, well ..... shall we say, "slightly less" than the others. "Drinking sensibly" would be too strong in the circumstances. It did appear though that they had more or less saved some of the the others' bacon. Ten boys camping and drinking far too much...... Not a pretty sight.... I was assured as I did the washing later that day, that the "debris" shall we call it, on the sleeping bag, was out of others mouths and not my own son's. "So it's all right Mum, at least it's not my sick." As Esos's friend pointed out, from a domestic viewpoint, your own son's vomit is possibly slightly easier to deal with than that of AN Other's random teenager's vomit...... LOVELY!

So that was a good start to the day... Meanwhile, life should have been rosy in one respect, as it was payday. And so, I went to check my bank statement online, so that I could make a payment to someone.

But the bank wasn't playing.... it appeared my account had been made "dormant" for no apparent reason. It was very confusing. I have had a few run ins with banks over the years, but this was the first time that the account had been made dormant....

I picked up the phone.

"Oh yes, Mrs. Lomax. I'm really sorry, but it's because you have moved house, we need to check your identity at a branch."

"But I haven't moved house" said I. "I have lived in the same house for six years."

"Well it says here that a piece of post was returned to us, and so as such you need to go into the branch with a passport and address ID to verify your new name and address."

I muttered plenty about it being half term and having all the children home, and friends, and that the last thing that I had time to do right now was to drive six miles to the nearest branch. And that I DIDN'T have a new name and address.

Now.... ironically..... the "payment" that I needed to pay was to another bank account of ours. You see, Hubby and I are complete masochists. Not satisfied are we with the poor treatment of one bank, we spread our misery around and actually have a few accounts in our name.... for different purposes.... sort of.....

But, I digress... The reason that I needed to make a payment was because last Friday, we had been expecting Hubby's expenses into the "other" account, but by 2 p.m. they hadn't arrived. At this point panic mode set in, and I phoned our bank's branch. This particular branch is the NatWest, who uniquely amongst the banking fraternity seem to have worked out that customers are actually people. Well, mostly. At least, the manager at our particular branch has worked that out. So, as long as you phone in banking hours, and ask to speak to the Ross on Wye branch Manager you will get completely human treatment.

And so it was that I rang her last Friday. "One of our payments is going to bounce." I had said. "We need to cancel something quickly otherwise it will cost us £35.." She and I agreed a strategy to cancel something, and she meanwhile recommended that we also change our insurance company and managed to save us £40 a month into the bargain. Clever woman.

Roll forward to Monday...... the day that the said payment was due to go out. The money was in the account (late, but there) after all. I rang Mrs. Bank Manager again. "Don't worry she said. It's not too late. I can uncancel it and it can be paid."

But lo and behold.... Head Office Natwest thought differently, and despite there being funds in place, and despite Mrs. BM having "paid" the bill, they decided not to pay the bill.....

To cut a long story short, by the time I had caught up with this company and paid the bill, they had charged me extra for the privilege, and the bottom line was that we were just £3.50 short to pay our final bill of the month. We run a very tight ship in the Lomax bank accounts, despite what the banks actually think. We move Heaven and earth to try to avoid those £35 charges, but usually fail at the last hurdle.... It's a tough game they play. If we were in the days of Robin Hood, they would probably be the Sheriff of Nottingham....... but sadly there is no Robin to get those charges back. Yet....... (But just you wait Mr. Sheriff the law could be changing......)

The hassle that that £3.50 caused me....

I feel really a bit sorry for the banks really. It must be quite tough being overdrawn by
£40, 000000000. Their charges must be phenomenal.

So this is why I was in Ross on Wye at 4 p.m. this afternoon, literally running from one bank to another.

The first bank were sorting out if I was indeed a real person and if the passport that I was carrying was indeed me and if I had, as I said I had (although I appreciate that my word cannot be trusted without the robotic quoting of fifteen letters and numbers), lived in the same house for 6 years, and been married for 22. Or if in fact I was really a hologram with a false passport.... It must have its uses at times, being a hologram with a false passport, but um.... not in Ross on Wye on a Thursday afternoon................

I left them to it and asked them to phone me once they had decided if I was allowed to spend my salary or not this month....

Meanwhile, having raided the dog's piggy bank (the children's having been long since been spent out) for the last few coppers in the house, I went to the Natwest and paid in the necessary funds to allow the bill to be paid when it is requested very shortly......

And there I found out that not only had Friday's direct debit not been paid, but that that particular direct debit now remained cancelled and that the NatWest were unable to reset it up ............ because.................... the company that had needed paying had cancelled the direct debit themselves.

Que??

Confused?

You will be........

(Answers in a postage stamp (or in the comments box) please for which programme that last little quote came from, and when.....)

25 comments:

ED said...

I heard about the drunken camping shenanigans from Ruth Woodliffe! x x x

sally's hubby said...

And I heard from M. Sounds like ESOS and his mate Nick actually saved one kid's life, because they found him unconscious out in the frost in the middle of the night, and dragged him into the tent and warmed him up.

ChrisB said...

Sally am I glad I no longer have to worry such things-I leave all that to beccy and so far Dillon has been fairly sensible unlike some of his friends!

You do have such fun (tongue in cheek!) with your banks- but it makes good posts :)

Sally said...

Hi ED... Yes indeed.
Hubby .... It's scary....
Chris ..... Yes, it's a part of parenthood that no-one prepares you for. And as for the banks...... But thank you. Glad you like the posts!

john.g. said...

I now realise why I'm single, kidless and not mopping vomit up!!

john.g. said...

BTW, where's Sarah?

Mary Alice said...

Oh dear. Yes, I must say parentingis a most difficult job, we are given no manual and must muddle along hoping that we are on the right track. Thank goodness it did not turn out tragically. Vomit washes up, but death by alcohol poisoning is forever.

Sally said...

Hi John G - Fortunately there are more pleasant bits of parenthood.... Sarah is around ... but just not blogging at the moment. Why don't you write a comment to that effect on her last post? Then she may well write one!
MA - Hi! Yes I agree.... It is not a laughing matter. Thankfully, at least ESOS appeared more in control than many, and he did I think, save one of the others' life.

Grumpy Keith said...

Sorry to hear about your problems with the bank; it must be extremely frustrating.

By contrast I joined Barclays when I left school (I had to join a Bank because my Gov Student Grant had to be paid into a bank account) in 1955 (that's 53 years if you're working out my age!). During that time I have NEVER had to pay any bank charges whatsoever, and they have been very good to me and helped me out in difficult times; even when I invested my big lottery win!

Akelamalu said...

Oh Boy! I hate banks! :(

Sally said...

Hi Keith and Ak!

Does no-one remember what "Confused? You will be." comes from?

meredic said...

Greetings Sally. As usual you have material here for a dozen posts at least. All of them good. :-)

headless chicken said...

Oh lucky you Sally, the teenage boy/drinking/camping shenanigans!
I remember Jake being carried home from camping by a mate one night and Kev dragging him out of bed the following morning to go and search for his discarded coat and boots in the nearby fields......luckily he's grown out of it now!:)

Sally said...

Hi Mereedic!! Nice to see you heree. Hope you had a good hol.
Hi Sarah!

Alice Band said...

I have just been sent a huge bouquet of flowers by an insurance company because they wanted to up my life assurance. I'll tell you the rest of the story privately but basically I told them I found it inviduous that I should be penalised - obviously someone, somewhere listened to that call because I have NEVER received an apology from big companies before let alone Interflora!!

Eloise said...

Oh, Sally, I certainly hope things have brightened up a bit for you since that last post! What a time you had between rescuing the teenagers from their *camping* fiasco and getting the literal run-around from the banks.

I just read your comment about the flowers from the insurance company. Wow! What a lovely gesture.

Sally said...

Hi AB! Now that's a good strategy.... maybe every time one of these large institutions offends, we should ask for flowers.... it would brighten up the place a bit. The Pru sent my MIL some flowers once..... after insisting that they speak to the policy holder..... She had phoned to tell them that the policy holder (Hubby's Dad, her husband) had died. When she eventually managed to get them to understand that they couldn't talk to him...... they sent flowers. The irony was that said flowers had a hole in the bottom of the basket that they were sent in, and the water ruined her dining room table - which for some bizarre reason wasn't covered by the insurance.....
Hi Eloise.... Yes indeed. What they should give you at antenatal classes are teenager lessons. You can learn how to have a baby in the first session, and to be honest you don't have a lot of say in the matter anyway between your body and the midwives..... Well not for your first at least.....Teenagers on the other hand.....

Blog post or two there really Meredic isn't there?!! :)

Sally said...

BTW thank you to Eloise and Emma for joining Akelamalu and putting me on their "follow this blog list". I feel loved now.

Norma said...

Ah, those teen years. I remember them like it was yesterday, instead of 20 years ago! They don't realize they're going to need those brain cells they are destroying--when they get to be my age.

Thanks for stopping by. I realize our election isn't too exciting for you, and that's about all I've been blogging about.

ChrisB said...

Something for you on my post today-no expectation that you do anything with it.

ed said...

Ruth Woodliffe was spun a story about a bad sausage on a barbeque and heard nothing of their drinking!
How funny! x x x

ed said...

(I had heard about the camping, but today she started saying about how nice it was of luke and guy to take care of the boy who had eaten a bad sausage and had a poorly tummy...she thought they had had a can of cider each!) x x

Ignorminious said...

Yes, I must say I've taken some perverse satisfaction in seeing the banks bankrupted. Now they know how it feels.

Personally I think everyone responsible for the banking crisis should face criminal prosecution. Given the damage it has done to the economy and the nation, I'd argue that their actions amount to treason, which I believe is the only crime in this country that still carries the death sentence...

Once they are disposed of I think the whole banking system needs to be completely reformed from the ground up, the sooner they better.

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