Mind of a Clerk

September 15, 2008

I saw it happening to others… Yesterday it happened to me: the debit card not going through, payment incomplete, life suspended until the girl on the check-out finally rolled her eyes and called for assistance.

When your card gets locked, the action plan is as follows: pay with a different card or cash, get to the nearest cash point, check your bank balance, call your bank (best from somewhere private). Do not let the shop manager take you to customer services and sort it out for you, because she won’t. The bank people will still want to speak to you and you, my friend, are going to spend about 20 minutes on a phone answering some damn stupid questions. This, in turn, is going to make the rest of the shop aware of your real full name (what if it’s French?), your real date of birth (what if you are a woman?) and the name of your mobile network (what if you are with Virgin?).

They know how to have fun, the bank people (or is it just an example of contemporary white-on-white violence?). They will tell you that it will take five to ten minutes to unlock your card. Fifteen minutes later it might work or it might not, depending if the person who was unlocking your card on the other end got distracted midway or not. For me it took another phone call to complete the procedure.

By the way, the reason my card was locked: it was used after a period of non-use (fair enough, I have been out of the country for a while and not used the card abroad) to make a considerably large payment, which was suspected to be fraudulent. It was my own phone bill. Who’s laughing now? Not me, I am crying and let me tell you: it takes a very special person to make a grown man cry. You know the type.

Sadly this type seems to occupy key positions in some pretty impressive infrastructures. Forget banks. How about education? Council? Inland Revenue? Home Office? I have seen verbal insults hurled at these people, they have been called incompetent idiots. No reason to be rude here. They are simply demons - children of Satan - set upon this Earth to make the lives of the true children of God difficult.

People like myself, unfortunately, prefer not to get involved. We sit back and watch the cookie of world affairs crumble. I think we (bright and educated people) have messed things up already by not putting enough effort into taking the key public service posts at the time the latter were shared out. I guess, we did not wish to get caught doing “dull” jobs. Shame, should have done it, even if only out of duty (much like defending your country in case of war).

Now it’s too late for any kind of action except the most direct: revolution. For this the time is yet to come. For any revolution to be a success the correct set of criteria must be in place. The ruling class (senior management in this case) must no longer be capable of ruling (tick this box) and the class that is ruled (the consumers) must no longer agree to capitulate. And herein lies the problem: in post-modern capitalist society we have created a happy customer, who does not care about quality of service.
Moreover, we also have lumpen-consumers, individuals who have learned how to use and abuse the present system successfully. This is a serious issue in its own right, it does not fit into this post and deserves a post of its own. To be continued…

I don’t know where travelling comes into this post though. Maybe here, this looks like the work of a dedicated team of professionals. Keep it real.

Filed under: Life Outside Russia
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — sasha @ 1:42 pm

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