Thu | Jan 24, 2019

People's Report: Backward customer service and the lady from hell

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

On my last visit to Jamaica, I failed to receive some monies I thought would have been set aside for me. That failing, on Tuesday, March 31, I visited my local banking/building society institution to make an unplanned withdrawal.

I joined the line and waited patiently until I reached the teller. On reaching the teller, I present two pieces of picture identification - one of which was a valid driver's licence. The other was a valid passport.

The street address on my driver's licence did not correspond with the address on file with my banking/building society institution. And so, I was sent to the little back room to plead my case to Miss Big.

Miss Big advised me that the only thing that could get me out of her vice was a utility bill with my name and current street address on it. That I did not have. And so Miss Big proceeded to ask me a slew of questions - more demanding than those of a US immigration officer.

One of those questions was to provide her with references in the form of two attorneys. Reluctantly, I did so, as I bore in mind the fact that several attorneys have been in the news of late, and for the wrong reasons. So far, so good!

Forty-five minutes into my interrogation, Miss Big then asked me to provide, as another reference, the name of a chartered public accountant (CPA). "Seh wha?" I asked in dismay. Miss Big was even more startled than I was. "So, Mr Ford, you mean to say, you don't have a CPA? Then who does your taxes?"

Irate, and at the end of my tether, I shot back, (quote): "Jus gi mi mi r@#s money and mek mi get di hell out of 'ere."

Startled further, Miss Big condescendingly initialed my withdrawal slip, and escorted me out of her back office. But, for my 'freshness', and to add salt to my wound, Miss Big led me to the back of the long teller line to again extend my wait and my agony.

"Sorry, there's nothing I can do," she said, wheeling her tail off. "Your boss shall hear about this," I said. And needless to say, he or she will.

A couple of weeks after this horrendous experience, I read in the Jamaican news where upwards of some 30 per cent of Jamaicans do not have bank accounts. And now I can see why.

Who wants to be on the receiving end of this outmoded, backward, and colonial-minded customer service? And furthermore, how many of us have chartered public accountants to use as references?

Jamaica has yet to realise that what's holding it back is nothing but backwardness.