Another brush with the bank by Charlotte Bennie

Making a Point

Clashing colours annoy me. I worry I’m wandering down the street sporting lippie whose shade is fighting with my jumper, or am ambling round the house in mismatched socks.
Recently, I was making up the bed. In tears. I could tell, by the feel of texture and edging, that none of the pillow slips matched. The Colour App on my phone was shouting, “Blue! Blue!” But, I couldn’t identify beyond that. I had done my usual screwing up my eyes then blinking, in the vain hope everything would snap back into focus. As usual, it didn’t. So, there I was, snivelling.
Eventually, Husband appeared. “I’m fed up wi this,” he announced, as he carefully sorted out pillowslips, duvet cover etc. “Wouldn’t it be better if you just bought new stuff? As long as it was all the one colour?”
Immediately, I stopped snivelling. And wished I’d downloaded one of those Recording Apps onto my phone. Thus having permanent record of this matrimonial order to spend money.
What on earth does mismatched bedlinen matter? Especially to someone who can’t see? I must
suffer from some psychological condition. Fair enough. But, if I liked colours this way when I could see them for real, why should I be any different now I can only see them in my mind?
A little internet research provided a range of web sites and, eventually, I plumped for one. Fairly screenreader accessible. Not silly prices. And, a phone number if the computer threw a strop. Husband acted as colour consultant and checked I wasn’t doing a repeat of ordering several dozen of everything. All was going well. Money was about to wheech through cyber space. When the computer thundered a warning. If I wished to continue,I’d have to phone a number . Something to do with the bank.
Nae chance, I decided. Instead, I phoned the company, gave the relevant details. All done.
Except, it wasn’t. Within a few minutes my phone barked. A text message. Purporting to come from my bank. Warning of suspicious activity via my card and demanding I phone a number. Eh? What was suspicious about ordering duvet covers? Husband had gone out, so, it was just me and my new Guide Dog. And, so far, she hadn’t shown any interest in matters financial.
There was no option. I phoned. Within seconds, a snooty electronic voice demanded I type in all, Yes, all of the 16 digits on my card. Holding the phone in one hand, and running the fingers of the other over my braille version, I did my best. By the time I’d swished fingers across then tapped in the first four, I’d been timed out. Several more attempts. Several more sweary words. Then, success! I think, eventually, the system decides it’s had enough of the bad language and automatically connects.
I reckon many would find this manoeuvre difficult. Not just us blinkies, but the large number of folk with all sorts of dexterity issues.
All of which I pointed out to the person who answered and which I repeated when I was put through to the Complaints Department.
Unfortunately, there’s more. I was told my card was now blocked; security against all this suspicious activity. An excellent precaution, except, nothing suspicious had occurred. Much more suspicious, to my mind, was being asked for personal details, so I could be identified. Why? For all I knew, all this might be part of an elaborate scam. By now, I was well in my stride. I tiraded on. And on. Despite the situation, I was enjoying myself.
When I finally paused for breath, the Complaints Person told me, if I was so suspicious, I could phone the number on the back of my card. Fine! Except I had to wait until Husband returned.
He peered at the back of my card. And at the back of his. Apparantly, in toty, toty, wee print, there’s a number. Which I phoned.
It was even more fun this time. By now, I’d thought carefully through exactly which acerbic remarks I’d make, anent greedy financiers, bank closures, the internet., disability access. In reserve, I’d comments anent our political leaders, potholed pavements and the weather. My blood pressure was ticking along nicely.
Having heard nothing more, I took the chance to tell all this to a member of our local bank. Not, it hasn’t closed yet. She investigated further and has discovered my complaint hadn’t even been logged by the Complaints Department. Why did they think I’d phoned them? So, I’m awaiting developments. Such as, an explanation why there isn’t a disabled accessible version of their system.
By the way, the new bed linen is beautiful. Excellent quality and value. Since then, I’ve ordered some more. By Phone!



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