Dear Sir or Madam,

Please forgive the repetitive tone of this letter, but I feel an acute and urgent need to complain about the many aspects of your banking service.
That is precisely the problem: when I was a teenager banking was simply that – going to the bank, standing at the counter, at a time often wholly inappropriate for those in work, waiting in the often uncomfortable silence (broken only by an apologetic cough or the squeak of a shoe on a highly polished floor) to be seen by counter staff whose poker faced expressions were in constant rivallry with those of librarians (whose silence was broken only by the dreaded fall of a book, or the occasional sneeze), but we know where we stood with the bank, we could see who we were dealing with, or who was dealing with us, and this was reassuring; we had a sense of pride and even an affection for it.
We current day members of the banking public, by contrast, are spoiled for choice, in fact marred by the choices we have to deal with whenever we opt, more and more necessarily, for the non-face-to-face method of banking activity with you. If we choose the ‘easy’ method of banking: on-line, internet banking, and everytime our computer is down and we reach for the phone, we are placed in a queue, on a ‘bank’ and told that there is a queue, and if we wish we might use internet banking instead.
When, fortunately, the web is functioning, I know that the plain sailing you assure us of, might be fraught with the squall or skirmish of a mental block and however uncharacteristic such performance might be, it is treated as an act of piracy, and since we are unable to recall our own account password, even though it consists of the date of birth we’ve had all our life, forwards or backwards, or that of our spouse’s, ditto, after three attempts the account is frozen, and we are in slack waters until a necessary face-to-face visit to the bank is made to illuminate our ineptitude and get it unlocked again.
Sometimes your graphics department has a little play with the web-site layout, and we – programmed to function on predictability – are thrown headlong into confusion because the blue band with the Header ‘personal account’ is now a red band, in Oklahoma sans serif, instead of Times New Roman.
To avoid the trauma of on-screen on-banking I bank over the phone, but realise I have to put on hold everything I was going to do for the next twenty-five minutes and identify the option I require, then press numbers to confirm that I have understood the correlation between the sound ‘number one’ and the stick-like figure represention on the numeral pad.
How many options do I have to press, and how many circuits must I go round before I can speak to a person who isn’t pre-recorded? And when I’m in a queue, or a ‘bank’, why can I not adjust the volume or change the music and the mood? After all, there is only so much Pachabel’s Canon I can ingest in one go. For some of the things I would wish to say I would like to be psyched-up by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, not mesmerised into an unbelievable calm by the ‘Shepherd’s Hymn of Thanksgiving’ in his Sixth.
When all goes wrong why do I relive the verbal equivalent of what I wanted to avoid with on-line banking (at least my humiliation was all my own) with someone who has a very lively and interesting regional accent I am totally unfamiliar with. You have a particular affinity for some very northern and some VERY south eastern dialects, which makes me pose the question why BBC English – as was- is not re-employed (at least all of understood it, even if most of us couldn’t speak it).
In the time it has taken to compose this letter I have finally reached the head of my telephone banking queue, and must give the questions my full attention, or I’ll be sent in a loop to re-set my numbers, unique memorable password, again…
Yours faithfully,
Ms A. Brodie