The alarm rings rudely, loudly – no, hang on… that’s the phone,
I pick up… “This is the automated online payments checking system from Halifax, if you have…”
I put the phone down, wide awake now. I look at the clock – its 11.00a.m. in Kabul, 6:30a.m. here. I have had these calls before, at 6.00 in the morning on my day off, they are not for me but my daughter, who is in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Halifax appear to have spent 3 years trying to find Afghanistan on the map, and failed. My daughter calls and writes to them but as she changes addresses out there and the phone system is a bitch, and since this is her default home address they are, of course, unable to change their records.
Sometimes an actual human being from Halifax rings us. You can tell it’s a human because they don’t call at 6:00 in the morning, they tend to call in the afternoons or early evenings.
Their calls go like this:
“Can I speak to L******* *******?”
“No, she is in Afghanistan, as we, and she, have told you a hundred times “.
“Oh, I am sorry, do you mean she is not available?”
“….She has given you her contact details in Kabul a hundred times, why can you not change your records and call her there? her number is ***** **** ***”
“I’m sorry but we cannot take information from anyone but her”.
“Well that means you are going to keep on ringing here and messing with our sleep for ever, doesn’t it?”
“We’ll write to her”.
“At this address again no doubt!… how many more times does she have to tell you where she is and that it’s a troubled foreign country? Your automated system calls to check her online payments at 6:00 in the morning (when we are fearful that it might be that dreaded call to say the Taliban have killed her for trying to promote democracy in that troubled land), and we can do nothing, you write to her here – we forward to her, she curses you out to us, calls you, and you do nothing, she calls you at great expense many times, and you do nothing – except keep on calling us here… this is gross incompetence..”
“I’m sorry but I am not allowed to discuss this with you, goodbye”.
So we are stuck in Kafka’s world of Halifux banking. If I can get hold of the Chief Exec’s home number or address he will suddenly and repeatedly learn what a completely insane bunch of bureaucrats he is presiding over.
And L***** , if you are reading this… please change banks so you are not still with them when I blow the place sky high…
note: emboldened following astonishing news as per comment below