Banks without people

A week ago I called in to HSBC in Altrincham to query the receipt of some standing order payments that were missing from my account (yes – I had checked on-line first but there was insufficient information).
I have long-since given up on telephone banking with HSBC – a pointless exercise as I just cannot be bothered trying to establish rapport with someone in a different time-zone and culture who I just know isn’t really called “Dave”.
So I walk into the branch – at least I think it’s still HSBC?
Lots of ATM’s all around four walls – to pay in and take out.
Lots of posters trying to flog me HSBC Plus.
I very chirpy DJ broadcasting live from HSBC Radio with the very latest in easy-listening (i.e. Val Doonican singing Paddy McGinty’s Goat).
And one solitary young man in a suit who looked as if he needed a note from his Mum to explain why he wasn’t at school.
I swear to God he looked 12 years old – and completely overwhelmed with the demands of a legion of elderly ladies pulling shopping carts and asking him about their bill payments.
I wandered around the back of the disco to find a counter with two windows, one person serving behind and a long queue of real people waiting to talk to a real person.
Gives up and walks out.
Monday morning I call into Lloyds TSB in Falmouth to pick up some information for Annie.
Similar deal:
1. open plan floor with a lady trying to re-organise her standing order payments in full view and hearing of a queue of people. I’m next in line and find it embarrassing to have to listen to her personal financial conversation;
2. Behind us another elderly lady is shouting through the porthole at the counter staff, trying to transfer some money from her current account to her savings account – shouting (as we do) because she cannot hear properly and the teller is the other side of a plate glass wall – no attempt to get up and come around to listen to her;
3. a guy in working clothes and a woolly hat is explaining that he has dropped his credit card whilst working as a landscape gardener and the card has been gobbled up by his power mower and fired into a river!
There is just no privacy whatsoever.
Does anybody know of a bank that employs any bank managers – the old fashioned kind?


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.