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A Letter to a Banker advising of new Telephone System

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Dear Banker,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing the remittance to my telephone system supplier last week. I have calculated that less than 5 nanoseconds had passed between the telephone system company presenting the cheque, and the arrival in my account of the funds required to honour it. I refer, of course, to the monthly deposit of my entire salary, a reoccurrence which, I admit, has only been in place for eighteen years.

You are to be congratulated for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for charging £100 for the inconvenience that I brought to your colleagues. My gratitude emanates from the manner in which this incident has caused me to re-think my awful banking ways. You have navigated me onto the path of fiscal improvement.

No more will our association be blighted by these unpleasant incidents, for I am restructuring my affairs this year, taking as my model the procedures, attitudes and conduct of your very financially minded conglomerate. Imitation is the most sincere of compliments and I guarantee that you will be proud and invigorated to hear of my intentions.

To this end, please be advised about these constructive improvements;

Firstly, I have noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to communicate with you I am confronted by the impersonal, ever-changing, pre-recorded, faceless PLC which your institution has become with the use of your telephone system’s automated attendant. From now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a real human.

My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your branch, by registered post to an employee of your firm, whom you shall name. You will be aware that it is an offence for any other person to open such an envelope.

You will find attached an Application Form which I require your nominated subordinate to complete. I am sorry that it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your business knows about me, there is no alternative. Note that all copies of his or her medical history should be countersigned by a Justice of the Peace, and that the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be supported by documented proof.

I will furnish your member of staff with a PIN which he/she is to quote in all dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 25 characters but, again, I have fashioned it on the quantity of telephone system button presses needed to reveal my balance on your telephone system. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Permit me to level the playing field further by revealing to you my modern telephone system, which you will notice, is similar to yours. My authorised contact at your bank, the only representative with whom I will have any dialogue, may ring me and will be answered by a voice machine within my telephone system.

By pressing Buttons on the telephone system, they will be guided through an extensive array of prompts;

1. To set an appointment to meet me

2. To query an absent payment

3. To lodge a general complaint or inquiry

4. To transfer the phonecall to my lounge in the event that I am there; Extension of this to be revealed at the moment that you dial.

5. To go to my master bedroom should I still be asleep. The number of my boudoir to be communicated at the time of calling.

6. To redirect to my toilet, lest I am attending to nature. Ext. of the loo to be indicated during the conversation.

7. To reroute to my mobile phone in case I am out and about.

8. To leave a voicemail message on my computer. A password to access my PC is obligatory. Password will be decided at a later date.

9. To return to the main menu and listen carefully to options 1 through 8. The caller will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my auto answering telephone system. While this will on occasion involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration. This month I’ve picked some Monty Python to liven the spirits;

There is nothing quite as wonderful as money.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash.
Some people say it’s folly,
But I’d rather have the lolly.
With money you can make a splash

After thirty minutes of that, our mutual friend will probably be able to recite it verbatim. On a more serious note, we conclude with the matter of pricing.

As you have often pointed out, the ongoing drive for greater efficiency comes at a price. A cost, which, you have always been quick to pass on to me. Let me repay your kindness by reclaiming some costs.

First, there is the plethora of junk mail that you send me. This, I will read for £5 for each page. Any debits to me, as, for example, in the issue of the penalty for the dishonoured settlement to my telecoms provider, will be transferred back to you.

My telephone service is £2 per minute (even John Cleese doesn’t come for free), so you would be well recommended to keep your inquiries succinct and to the point. Regrettably, but again following your lead, I will charge an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. I hope that you see £1000 to be a fair way for me to recoup the investment in my telephone system.

I am sure that these steps will ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.

Your humble customer
Ringo Bell