Wednesday, 2 May 2012

What do you look for in a letter?

What to write about tonight?  All inspiration, creativity, will to live has been squeezed from the very cells of my being.  It's not often that I feel like this.  Thinking back over time, I think I've found the common thread.  I had to speak to the bank today.  On other occasions when I've felt like this, it's after I've had to speak to the bank. Or myki. Or government departments.

You'll understand if you read about my experience of trying to complete the simple task of opening a bank account, why I avoid having contact.  Two weeks ago though, I received an offer in the mail which was perfect for meeting my business' (banking) needs.  I was carried away in the warm glow generated by the thought that my bank knew what I wanted and was anticipating my needs. Here they were writing to me before I had even asked!

I completed the accompanying form and popped it in the mail.  And waited.

Today I collected the envelope which I anticipated would contain everything I needed.  Well it contained a letter.  From a distance, the letter looked like a standard letter from a bank.  Up close, it was a confusing and annoying piece of gobbledygook.  Why did they need my trust deed?  They already have it.  Why do they need me to take 100 points of identification into a branch?  They have all my identification.  What is the due date?  Oh it's five days after the cycle date.  What's the cycle date?  It's the date defined in the letter of offer.  The letter of offer doesn't define it.

So I call to confirm what I need to do.  The letter says I won't get the card until I do everything they say.  On reflection, it's starting to read more like a ransom note. I sigh.  I press the numbers on the phone. I wait.

The person who answers the phone listens, tries to direct me back to the banker from hell (with whom I now refuse to deal), puts me on hold, comes back and tells me to disregard the letter.  The whole letter?  No just that paragraph in the letter.  What about the other paragraph I was asking about?  Well it turns out that's wrong too.

I ask her how this can happen.  She tells me that some changes were made two years ago....Hold on.  Two years ago? The product I was applying for was launched two weeks ago.  Do I need to check the other paragraphs in the letter?  Apparently not.

She tells me that the problem is that the letter is written to the general populace.  I ask her why it isn't written to me.  It's addressed to me! She tells me she doesn't know and suggests that I could give feedback about the need for their letters to be "less vague".  I tell her that isn't what I want.  I want them to be accurate with the information I need.  I can hear her eyes rolling.

I finished the phone call and felt the life force drain out through my toes.  I looked down expecting to see a puddle.  All I saw was grey. Grey despair. I now have to wait another five days.  If I'm lucky I'll receive another envelope with a letter inside.  Can't wait for that one.

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