I went to the Halifax homepage and followed the appropriate, easy-to-find links to open an account on-line. After several clicks and entering quite a few personal details (5′7″, blue eyes, brunette, if you’re interested), I was informed that I would need to phone them.
This is struck me as somewhat strange for an on-line application process.
I duly picked up the phone and dialled the appropriate number. A call centre operative (as I believe telephone monkeys like to be called) answered the phone and very pleasantly took the details from me that I had already spent 10 minutes entering into the Internet (I type slowly).
A reasonable enquiry as to why I had to duplicate information got me nothing but awkward silence.
After four score and ten I got to the front of the queue, where I explained that I wanted to open an account and presented the cashier with the completed forms and relevant identification. After a further twenty minutes (clearly the branch brain cell was on flexi-time that day) they had photocopied my passport and utility bills, opened the account and relieved me of a cheque for £200 to get it started.
All that had to happen now was for my God Daughter’s parents to present her birth certificate at their nearest branch, again for anti-money laundering purposes. I did not know that 3 month old children are at the forefront of organised crime and terrorism. It is reassuring to know that the banks are looking out for us.
I was now understandably incandescent with rage at the fact that it took forty minutes in a branch to open my God Daughter’s not-very-online on-line savings account. I fumed silently back to my car, where I noticed, sitting proudly on the windscreen, a parking ticket.
Go and read the entire tale of woe and have a Schadenfreude-induced snigger...