Monday, 30 November 2009

Mondays & Epitome of All That's Wrong With It...

WARNING: This is very long but because I am still mad at that idiotic little napolean in a local bank, I just have to narrate it word for word as my memory permits!


So imagine you have to work on Monday after a long weekend. The one where you had plans for but somehow, something happened and it turns out to be a miserable weekend to boot. Now imagine you have to face a large crowd of customers all eager to get things done and you realised some of your colleagues took extended leaves which left you and your other teller friend working. Imagine the frustration. And let me repeat, all of it happened on Monday.

So with pent up feeling of sort and having to maintain a job for reasons only you can understand, visualise how you will take it upon yourself to face a large crowd of customers.


On the other hand, I am the customer who took leave on Monday to sort things out. I walked in to this bank after visiting another bank, NRD and JPJ where I noticed people aren't in a mood to work. Smiling may not be the norm but doing your job professionally is the minimum required anyway. I don't have high expectations for civil service but I was quite impressed that the customer service in government departments and this other bank (which was reputed to have bad customer service) have improved noticably since the last visit I had. And this I mean not only our immigation department.

So back to the story.

I press for a ticket to get a number to be served from a machine, quite customary with many institutions nowadays since it is more fashionable to have your customers sitting on chairs waiting for the queue rather than having them standing and lining up. Of course if they could do the work quickly and efficiently, who would really mind queuing while standing? Or for that matter, who wants to sit on a chair and wait for hours only to be served?

Anyway, mine was 2002. And the one before me was 2001. I wanted to open a current account in this bank to facilitate payments for my new housing loan. I was glad somewhat for the short numberbut my wife was busy chatting on the phone outside. I was worried. What if my number is called?

Anyway, it was about 10.15-10.30 am, so ok, let's wait and see. I scanned the horizon and realised they have two cubicles like tables on the far right of the branch to provide personal services which I would assume for customers that wanted to take up mortgages and open accounts. It was unoccupied though, perhaps they are on leave?

Then my number was called. I walked to the counter 3. I told the teller, a woman at early 20s (with lots of pimples on her face busy writing something) that I wanted to open a current account for my loan.

I passed her the letter of offer for her to take a look. Perhaps she didn't hear me the first time, she asked, "What account?" I told her, "Current account". "Current account for?" to which I replied, "For my mortgage." She then asked again, "Which account?" Perhaps it is me but is the standard of English fallen that badly in this country or perhaps this woman failed in her exams? The rest of my conversation with her from hereon, were conducted mainly in Canotonese. I just look at her dumbfolded and she said, "Mortgage plus?" I said, "Yes, you can read it from the letter of offer I just passed to you." You should see the look on her face. She was quite reluctant to the point of irritation to read it. She read a name and asked who is that? I said it is me. And this other name? I told her it is my wife's. Then she said, "Both of you need to be present to open a joint account." I told her she is just outside and asked her to wait for a moment. I walked out and called out for her. She quickly rush in with me.

While she is busy typing some stuff, I told her I wanted to get a cheque book. In addition, I would also like to get an ATM card. With her fu quah (Cantonese for bitter gourd) face, she somewhat said "can" to what I requested.

Now you can see from her face she is not quite pleased with the prospect of work. She asked, "Can you give me the processing fee?" Now, if she is smart, she should check in the system to see if it is paid. But knowing this bank, I do have my suspicious that all may not be well so I told her, "I have paid the fees to the loan officer in another bank. Could you please check?"

She kept quiet, took our documents and walked to the photocopier behind her. An officer, who happened to be seated right at the back of her, went over to chat with her and examined the letter of offer. It was then I told my wife, "I am not happy with the services of this bank. Didn't I tell you this other bank we are currently using is much better? At least they smile and welcome you, not like here."

Perhaps she heard it, perhaps not, whatever. She then passed us a stack of documents and told us to fill it up. I was perplexed why there are so many forms but whatever the case maybe, I was just about to walk over to another place to fill up these docs and sensing she is short of vocabularies, I asked her should I take another number? She said no. At the tables where the personal services workstation supposed to be, I sat down with my wife and filled in the necessary. I realised there are two forms which I don't think I need and I am not sure why she gave us.

When we completed what was required, I handed her all the forms, she literally grabbed the documents from me (which will be a series of grabing and shoving as you read on further). And she shoved two forms back at me. I asked, "What are these forms for?" She said, "Your wife said she lost her ATM card, these forms are for her to fill in to get replacement." I gave her the look that no-doubt-my-wife-inquired-but-the-least-you-can-do-is -to-tell-us-we-don't-need-to-fill-these-forms-now.

I afterall filled up these forms and only now realised it was not for what it was intended. So I asked, "Then why did you gave it to me?" She said, "Oh just in case next time you need to get replacement ATM card."

I noticed she is holding back her smile of sort. Perhaps she thought she is very smart to have "tricked" me to fill in those forms. So anyway, I passed her the monies. I told her I want to put RM500 as deposit. She processed it and then passed me the cheque book request slip. I took the slip and she said, "Put in the box over there." "Over there?" As I pointed to my left. "Yes, there.", she said. I walked to where "there" is and back and told her, "I don't see the box." She said again, "Over there!" as she pointed to my left. Now, the box is only the size of two 1.5 litre bottles placed side by side and it is translucent, placed next to a placard / ad of sort or a plant, I cant be sure but whatever it is I can tell you being described as "there" is as cryptic as a treaure hunt map with no X mark the spot. It is only 2 counters away and the least she could say is, please drop the slip into the translucent box placed on the top far-left of the counter 1. Is it that hard to say? She ended up having to stand up, walked midway, took her pen and pointed to me where the box is. And again, you can see in her irritated fu quah face that she is not happy.

After it was completed, I asked her, "How about my ATM card application?" She gave me the blank look for a second and back to fu quah face. She said in Cantonese something along the line that it will cost me RM8 to get an ATM card and annual charges of RM8 (but because of her rather opague words, it sounded like RM100! which I later clarified with my wife that she meant RM8). Meanwhile, I took out RM50 and put in on the counter for her.

She passed me some stuff to fill in again which I proceeded to do accordingly. As she spoke, I didn't bother to look at her. You can hear the tone that she is not pleased. She asked, "Do you have other accounts with this bank?" I swiftly replied, "No." while in my mind, I was thinking, can't you check in the system? Then she asked, "I don't have change for RM50. Do you have smaller notes?" to which I replied, "No, I don't have as I just withdrew monies from the bank." She was quite adamant and said, "I don't have change wo." And I looked up at her and in my mind, should I call for the manager? or say out loud, "You mean the bank has no monies!" to which I expect a stampede of desperate customers withdrawing monies and cause a deposit run.

This woman is definitely not a problem solver and she is putting obsticles in front of us just to impede us from opening an account or getting an ATM card.

Then my wife asked, "Can't you direct debit against our current account?" Defeated, she said, "Yes." which followed by grabbing the ATM application form I just completed and shoving me a yellow notepad and asked me to sign to enable the direct debit. She then shoved/threw me a slip and asked me to sign. I did. She grab it and shove it back and said, "Your name and date." I filled it in.

Suffice to say that by the time I left, I think I loath going to that branch rather than government offices. To think that in our quest to move up to higher income nation, people like her is more than sufficient to "shove" any would be investors to consider the likes of Indonesia and Thailand rather than some arrogant problem giving nobodies, which by the way, this nation has quite a number of them.

Again, so what if you have period pains? Or your boyfriend dumped you? Or perhaps your weekend trip turns out to be not what you expected? You know you have a front line job and for whatever reason you have, you need to work professional to ensure you earn some grub to meet whatever excuse you have to continue living. I don't expect a smile but if you are into shoving and grabing, why not just change profession to be a professional thief or robber? I don't need shovings to tell me I am not wanted. To this, her CEO will definitely know why I am not pleased and mind you, if I did it to the "World's Local Bank" I don't mind doing it to this crappy local bank!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

It's been awhile

I realised my life is quite mundane. Everyday in fact is quite predictable. Monday to Friday will be workdays. It is also from Monday to Friday I rant about being exploited. Yet despite this, I allow myself to be exploited. I dream of making big bucks, only because I want to be free from this silly cycle of waking up with the first phrase being, "I am resigning today" instead of, "Praise be to the Lord for another new day."

On Saturdays, it will be "I sleep till 10.3o am" and lazying at home or going out with friends and Sundays being the day of the Lord. Being a sloth of sort, my weekends movements are quite restricted unless it involves either emergencies or obligations.

If only life moves like an escalator...

Of course, in between those working days, there will be problems to be solved and typical phrases being heard. The likes of which include, "I noticed your efficiency of late is falling," followed by "You need to prioritise" and finally after much hew and cry about being forced to labour for more than 14 hours a day "Don't give me problems, give me solutions." And then the case of being thrown last minute requests to finish a proposal within 1 day because "we need to stay competitive". I did complete it by the way, 30 minutes short of 24 hours deadline. Only to be told it was filled with minor errors that would erk the ever so intelligent and sophisticated clients.

So what can a person like me do? (It was the third time a fortnight ago I told my boss I am leaving soon to push some reality into the equation.) Silly huh?

Having been sucked by work and fed-up with the inertia of changes in this country, I have long abandoned my blogging activities. It is not intended, if only I have RM5 million in my bank account and zero debt to go with that.

But why blog again? I guess I enjoy writing and only by writing and opining in written format, for a moment, I am myself, not some slave that prostitutes for some monthly wages...:)