Monday, December 11, 2006

Computer says nnnnoooo.

Ladies and gentleman, time for a rant. Now I know you people living in the UK love these spiels because it promotes that ‘oh my god, how funny – it’s so true’, so today will not be any different - and Keely was sick of pub reviews.

I have just been arguing with my bank.

Now banking in the UK ain't easy. For one, many of the banks demand that you need to hve been in the UK for 3 years to get an account – but then again, this isn’t true. If you lie, go to another branch or simply catch one of the counter staff on a good day, and these rules don't apply. That’s the hardest thing with most things in the UK: no consistency.

For example, I have been trying to get a credit card for 6 months, but have been constantly rejected. Now some people I know, who make more less that half what I do, have walked in to an HSBC (my bank) asked for one, and pretty much got it. I have been fighting tooth and nail, and have finally been offered one – at 19.9% per annum. That may sound ridiculous, and it is. What is more ridiculous is that according to the bank, they don’t even offer one with that higher interest rate (there advertising says they offer them from 11.9% – 18.9%). This number had been MADE UP!!! When confronted with this, the helpful people at the bank couldn’t figure it out themselves and in that oh so London (not English) way that I’m getting so used to said: “Sorry, I can’t help you. Next.”

Due to this I’ve decided to switch banks. Now I make a decent wage in the UK. It’s a good amount greater than the average London wage so you think I wouldn’t struggle getting a bank account. But again, sorry you have to be here for three years.
No consistency. Oh, and why are morons the staff of choice. Take my experience when getting a debit card.

Now you have a variety of debt cards. There’s switch, solo, Visa Debit, Electon, whopper meal, Maestro, etc. When I first got here it was a nightmare to open a bank account. You need a utility bill in your name and a letter from your employer among other things. However, you need a bank account before you can get the bill in your name or a job – figure that out! So I used an independent company that helps backpackers, only problem is the bank realises this and gives you the shitest deal possible. I think my was called the Kazakhstan Savings Plus or something along those lines. So after a few months I realised I’d been had and went back in to change my account and my debit card. This was fine. But after the card arrived and I couldn’t use it - I knew the efficiency as too good to be true. And here began my exchange:

Bart (B): “I ordered a new card with the same pin and it doesn’t work.”
Moron (M)): “Oh, you’ve been issued with a new pin anyway. It’s at your home branch to be picked up.”
(B): “Uh huh – well isn’t this my home branch.”
(M): “You home branch is where you applied for the account and picked up your card. That’s in Essex”
(B): “I applied here and picked my card up here. I’ve never been to Essex and it’s a little far for me to travel. Can’t they just send the new pin to my house?”
(M): “No, in case someone has intercepted your card.”
(B): “Um, I’m holding my card right now. I think they may struggle.”
(M): “Well we can try to get a new pin. We can get it sent to your home branch or your house now.”
(B): (needing to prove if she really was stupid) “And where would that be?”
(M): “It’s in Essex.”

It seems there is no place where it is written that a procedure is set out. One thing is different among different places.

Please don’t feel I am whining about the UK, but I have one statement to make: London does not work. Pure and simple. It doesn’t. Somewhere between the Beatles and the Spicegirls, some fucker forgot to install the latest Windows updates and something went tits up. The trains are too small, the alleys too narrow and everything else to few to deal with the amount of people. If an exchange takes more than two steps it won’t happen – such as bank accounts. You will wait eight weeks for a piece of paper to come through and you won’t be surprised when it's an application form. The announcement that comes over the train platform says there is a delay of 25 minutes as due to a storm there are the wrong kinds of leaves on the track (I shit you not it has been said). I used to put near frigging boulders on train tracks when I was a kid to watch trains smash them – leaves???????

The tube is to have air-conditioning in some trains by 2012 – front page news this – it was invented 104 years ago people! Not really impressive.

But in all this calamity, all this confusion and all this stupidity, there is one group I feel for the most. One group whose fault it is not and one group to suffer the most. The English. That’s right; this is a rant about how we, the foreigner, have fucked it all up for the English.

Why are the tubes so crowded? Don’t look at Jeeves pushed in the corner with his club tie on. It’s Barry taking up the seat on the way to his bar job at the Walkabout or Nolan eating his biltong after a night out on Castle Lager.

Why are the banks so ridiculously difficult to get any answer, common sense, bank account, credit card from? Don’t abuse the lady at the desk. It's the Russians who conducted a sit load of identity fraud and all the Poles who came in, got a credit card and pissed off!

That’s right my antipodean friends. Just like the baby boomers and their love of fossil fuels; it’s those that came before us that fucked it up for the rest of us.

I’ll be straight. I love living in London. The speed, the people and the opportunities. But, I hear you say, what about the other things, such as late trains, bland food and the weather. Well I do agree. But for those things I say how about cheap flights, Sainsbury’s 2 for 1 pizzas and titty Monday (those that know, know).

The only thing I don’t really care for is there are not enough English in London. Too many foreigners – including me. If I hear another Aussie, Safa, Kiwi, Polish or Yank accent I’ll scream. ‘Hiya, you awright’ is even a little bit of a turn on from the right kind of person (you know who you are). What isn’t as sexy is: ‘see you just now’; ‘hey bro’; or ‘g’day’. Although ‘twardszy’ is still a pleasant phrase to hear.


At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bart, just found your blog, and have read a few of the posts.

Kill me now. KILL ME NOW!

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Would if I knew who this was?

At 8:34 PM, Blogger LaLa said...

My bank issued everything with as Jukia, not Julia. It took me about 6 months to get it changed as I had no ID to prove that my name was Jukia.


My advice to you is to find one of your mates or work colleagues who has been with Natwest for a long time and who has a good credit rating.

They can then "recommend" you to Natwest and Natwest will eventually let you have any account. I opened one that had a 6 pound monthly account keeping fee and I had free forgien exchanges and a 2 thousand pound overdraft. No need for credit card!

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Have a friend who said we can open up a joint account at Lloyds. Bit worried that she'll run off with all my money!!!!

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