Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit the Frog was so right when he sang his mournful little ditty.
And yesterday I found out just how hard it was when, quite inadvertently and without malice aforethought, I contributed my mite to the demise of man.
Or so my bank tells me.
It happened thus.
As many of my clients pay, when they feel up to it, in the coinage of Her Britannic Majesty, I maintain a modest Sterling account with a UK bank.
Thanks to the Internet, this I can administer on-line, albeit a little tediously due to the precautions taken to avoid it being rifled by unscrupulous bodies. This I am happy to accept as the price of convenience although I have my own strategy for avoiding fraud which is by never having enough in the account to warrant the most desperate scammer troubling with it.
However, I felt that it would be handy to have a debit card by which the modest funds could be accessed when needed. The bank’s website offered credit cards, which I avoid like the plague, and it was only whilst waiting on line for some transaction to take place that I spotted a very small item mentioning that debit cards were available.
I suppose they’re not much of a money spinner for the bank since there was no indication of how to obtain one.
So I fired of a message via the website service, optimistically labelled ‘Help,’ and asked how I could obtain one. Apparently this was beyond ‘Help’s’ area of expertise for I received a message from the delightfully named Sasikala Tnirumoorthy suggesting that I telephoned the Business Card centre on an 0845 number. Apart from the fact that this is far from being a free call and does in fact contribute to the bank’s coffers, my service here in France does not allow such calls.
There was then a bit of a lull in affairs, so I enquired, quite politely, that surely in some sequestered nook of the bank there would still be some relic of a bygone era who could write to me.
By now the shades of night were falling fast and there was a new name carrying the banner marked ‘Help’
He wrote “I provided you with a phone number as it is a quick and convenient way for you to receive a card for your account and is also better for the environment than sending out paperwork. What I have done now is sent you a Debit Card application form to your correspondence address, which should be with you within the next 10 working days.”
So you see, by asking for a letter I have upset their Green Credentials.
And this is the bank that, every month on the same day, send me a statement of my account plus a statement of the interest earned – in separate envelopes.
I’m tempted to alert them but they’ll probably just ask me to call an 0845 number.
So you see, it’s not easy being green.


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