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Mission Impossible

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    It was 10.30 in the morning and there we were standing before the person in charge of lockers of a leading public sector bank. Me and my DH were sweating profusely, having changed two buses and walked half a mile to reach the bank. Both of us being senior citizens, reaching the bank’s branch was a Himalayan task.

    Both the PSB branch and we, it’s clients, had been constantly shifting residences, like the Navagrahas which shift their houses once in a year or two, which left us with either of us, not having the latest address of each other. With neither the google search nor the customer care being able to help us, we decided to visit the last known address of the bank, which we were well aware about.

    Our over confidence resulted in a wasteful merry go round, on the chennai streets under the hot sun, with either a demolished building greeting us or an old watchman hard of hearing giving us evasive answers. Finally we zeroed upon the right address and for once we felt we had peaked the Everest. Hurray! we cried in excitement and in all happiness, exchanged a high five between ourselves, much to the annoyance and amusement of onlookers.

    Our “mission impossible” was to close a locker in that particular branch, the contents of which we had emptied long ago. As we were ageing we thought it wise to close down all the dormant accounts, lockers and make our financial affairs sleek and manageable, what with a considerable amounts of rents being deducted regularly from our SB accounts.

    A dashing young fellow who resembled more like Shah Rukh Khan, but sporting a Rajini style, flipping his hair frequently, was incharge of the lockers section, his handsome physical appearance completely in odds with his rough behavior. He gave us an insipid look and countinued banging the keyboard of his computer in front of him. After a few minutes of waiting, when I grabbed his attention, with great difficulty, explaining him the purpose of our visit, With the same disinterested look he said he could do that, which only required checking the locker and putting our signatures in the ledger.

    Since there were just two chairs both of which were occupied by senior citizens we were left to stand for more than an hour. Meanwhile there were other well-to-do customers with whom the locker in charge seemed to be very familiar, helping them to get their lockers opened, all the while, sporting a big infectious smile. Meanwhile we looked at the locker ledger on the desk with our photos staring at us, all the time waiting patiently for the call for our signatures.

    Soon it was lunch time and the staff were busy having their lunch, taking out their tiffin carriers out, a melange of aromas hitting our nostrils, activating our hunger pangs, nullified by their endless gossiping that which made our wait less cumbersome and dull.

    Suddenly the lady manager appeared from nowhere and spoke a few words with the locker in charge and they both went off in a jiffy saying they would return in a few minutes and our work would be over very soon.

    We waited and waited and waited. It was time to close the bank. The assistant who sat next to him all the while was talking about her daughters proposed marriage arrangements, which included Vaira oosi sari, 9 yards saree, sarees for her close relatives, the breakfast, lunch and dinner arrangements all on her mobile phone, compelling gossip which we were forced to listen as bystanders. Her bantering went on for another hour until another customer came for some help.

    It was closing time and the watchman literally had to throw out so he could bring down the shutters. Frequent calls by phone from the assistant next to the locker in charge, elicited the reply that he was on the way. With the assistant asking us to come the next day morning, since nobody else could deal with lockers considering the security issue, we left the place bone tired.

    The next day we were right on the dot of time mentioned by the locker in charge 11 am. With great enthusiasm and hopes we rushed into the bank only to be received by the watch guard who was wandering around the office with a big photo in his hand. When we thought that the bank was installing some deities photo, I was shocked to see a smiling woman’s photo which he kept on a separate table and also put a huge garland around it. I knew that the lady in the photo had passed away and the bank staff was getting ready to pay their respects. The locker in charge was nowhere to be seen.

    When the staff joined together and the head of the bank spoke a few words of appreciation about the lady officer who had passed away, and offered a two minute silence, we also stood together and shared their prayers. When everything was over and when we finally thought, it was of no use lingering in the bank further, the locker in charge entered hurriedly, offering excuses, opening the ledger and checking the locker keys. We checked our locker immediately and also put down our signatures, to the effect that our locker account was closed permanently.

    Just as we’re leaving the bank premises with a sigh of relief, the lady manager who entered the bank wished us Good Morning with a big smile. I nodded my head but mentally cursed at the apathetic attitude of such banks, that too with senior citizens. Well it was a “good mourning” indeed. We walked away without looking back to encounter another episode of closing an account with great apprehensions and trepidation.
     
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Nice to read the narration of the plight well punctuated with humour.

    2. But it is in a great contrast to my experience with private large bank.

    3. Luckily for my spouse & I, the psu bank in which we had hired locker for over twenty years could be surrendered in a jiffy but it was middle of the financial year so we lost our claim for the balance unused period from the amount already deducted at the beginning of FY 2019-20 in advance as annual rent.

    4. PSU bank was keeping our fd of ₹30k as pledge and got the original back after lot of waiting. We had harrowing time and almost entire day spent there with our body began aching at various spots radiating it to other areas of the body. No chair to sit.

    5. Yes we too enjoyed the varieties of aroma while watching staff opening their lunch box in a corner room, when we could get a chair to sit. In great contrast, in private bank only proportionate charge debited for the remaining period of financial year of 4 months from our savings account and not demanded any deposits as a pledge for hired locker.

    6 PSU banner inside the branch says love to serve & serve to love
    Private says simply - we understand you.
    Between “love and serve” something need to be pledged whereas in “understanding” one see real service and saving.

    GOD- would my any service enrich You or and Me?
     
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  3. Tamrakshar

    Tamrakshar Finest Post Winner

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    That was a test of patience! Wasn't that? From the lovely snippet that you have written, it is evident that you were stretched to the limit of forbearance, but you dug your heels in, that too, I guess, with a smile on your visage. Your never say die attitude made a seemingly impossible mission possible. I would like to make three observations regarding this blog.

    No doubt, the work culture in banks has improved a lot over the years, but from your blog and from our own experiences, we can say the public sector banks still lack professionalism. You cannot deny that there are shortages of staff, but most important thing is that the existing ones are neither efficient nor having good work ethics. That's why everyday we get to listen myriad of complaints against the working culture of bank employees.

    Second point is that the locker guy was reluctant because you were closing it. Had you been opening a locker, I think, you would have seen a different attitude.

    Finally, the sudden disappearance followed by prolonged absence of the locker man might have had something thing to do with the demise of his colleague.
     
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  4. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Finest Post Winner

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    A copy of this snippet may be sent to the customer care department of the bank, so that others would benefit.
    As seniors, it is good idea to have accounts in the bank close to the residence. There is also a provision of transferring accounts to the branch of your choice.
    All the same, bravo for not losing temper.
     
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  5. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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  6. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    the lady manager who entered the bank wished us Good Morning with a big smile. I nodded my head but mentally cursed at the apathetic attitude of such banks, that too with senior citizens. Well it was a “good mourning” indeed.
    Great write up and a virtual presentation that I was there with you both enduring the ordeal.Once in a PSB the cashier was enjoying tea with his colleagues when customers were waiting.A flower seller lady fired him using the choicest epithets that we felt like buying flowers from her and garlanding her Regards.SLN
     
  7. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    In most of the banks service is not so bad as experienced by Agatha.In contrast service is good with pleasant manners, better than earlier days.I think we cannot generalize on the basis of certain instances.

    In private banks, you are given seat.If any senior citizen is waiting for long, the relationship manager who comes on rounds takes care to attend to the problem.With introduction of token system,almost all customers have seats.,Except on 1st and 2nd of every month, when pension payment is heavy.

    However the snippet was quite interesting with a tinge of humour .
    jayasala42
     
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  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:With one half or even one third staff, in private banks staff well equipped with better utilisation of infrastructure, highly efficient in terms of routine service and handling customers need in due time.
    2. With less equity capital they make good revenue pay huge dividends.
    3. Psu many of them are white elephants of India that swallow huge tax payers money and let the borrowers vanish and remain beyond shores of the country.
    4. 90 percent public money saved in psu banks without collateral enjoyed by less than 10% of banking people and their enjoyment of public funds eith with less collateral or no collateral at all.
    5. All in the name of socialism and equitable distribution of wealth/poverty.
    Thanks and regards.
    God provides man plunders.
     
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  9. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Thyagarajan,

    Irrespective of whether a bank is private or public, the one common attitude that connects both, is absolute indifference to the customer. Another stark reality is discrimination when it comes to the status of the customer. If you have the right connections and plenty of booty to invest you are offered a royal welcome with snacks and coffee as additional bonus.
    Senior citizens and people belonging to the lower and middle strata of the society, have no place to sit or even have a one to one conversation with the concerned officials. This is my personal experience. No need for love or understanding but what we need is ethics, professionalism and commitment towards work.

    Agatha83
     
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  10. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Tamrakshar,

    The long commute between our residence and the bank, made us put up with the agonising wait.It is not only the bank work culture, but I found work ethics lacking in every department , be it the Government, Corporation offices or even hospitals.

    Opening a locker decades back involved an investment of substantial amount as a Fixed deposit and a wait of some years. Unless some one surrendered a locker, chances of getting a locker was bleak.

    I agree with you that the demise of the lady colleague might have caused his sudden disappearance, but he could have finished our work within a few minutes and then left. Why make us wait the entire day and ask us to come the next day also, for a task of just a few minutes.

    Agatha83
     
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