Monthly Archives: September 2010

Telephone banking

Hello and welcome to yourfavouritebank.

Unfortunately, we’re experiencing a much higher-than-average call volume at the moment and all of our customer representatives are pre-recorded telling the customers they represent to call back.

We can’t imagine why anyone would want to speak to theirfavouritebank at the beginning of the week when we’ve been closed for two days, but if you want to try again at 4.30 a.m. on Wednesday morning we’re bound to be more prepared.

Otherwise, please find a comfy chair and choose from one of the following options:

If you’d like to speak to someone about opening a new account, go online at and open one.

If you’d like to speak to someone about your card being lost or stolen, go online at and email someone about it.

If you’d like to speak to someone about leaving the bank, go online at and email someone who will talk you out of it.

If none of the above options go anywhere close to describing the reason you’ve called us and you’d just like to speak to someone either dial The Samaritans or stay on the line while we play you some Richard Clayderman.

While we’re playing you Richard Clayderman, did you know that you can visit us online at and sign up to receive useful yourfavouritebank updates to your mobile phone?

Congratulations. You are one of only 10% of people who are willing to stay on the line this long and have now joined a queue of elite customers who will talk to the sole person who is employed by yourfavouritebank to answer the telephone.

While we wait for her to finish her tea, why don’t you type in your sixteen digit number followed by the hash key.

I’m sorry, you started typing it in before I’d finished speaking and I really hate that so I’m going to ask you to do it again and speak slower this time so you have to wait longer to re-type it.

Thank you. Now please enter the expiry date in the format day day month month full year full year.

You see you weren’t listening and only put in half the year but I don’t understand 13- I only understand 2013- so go back and do that again.

Thank you. Now please enter the secret code that not everyone can see on the back of your card.

Yes, that’s the one with the little question mark by it when you enter your details online because it’s a new and secretive way to fool criminals, who can only read the numbers on the front of your card.

Thank you for waiting and for being important to us. Susan is now back from her tea.

Hello and thank you for waiting. You’re speaking to Susan today. 2 hours 1o minutes? Oh, I AM sorry to hear that, Sophie- can I call you Sophie today? Oh, good, hello Sophie. You’ve got a nice voice.

Yes, I’m friendly-sounding too, aren’t I? That’s because I’m from a leafy village in Yorkshire. There’s also Asmita, my job-share co-worker who lives too far away for you to get angry with and Gladys, who lives in Wales and answers the phone for yourfavouriteinsurancecompany. She’s not stressed either.

Anyway, did you know that if you visit us online at doubleyoudoubleyoudoubleyoudotyourfavouritebankdotcom you can do all your banking that way instead of waiting 2 hours and 10 minutes to talk to me?

Never mind, thank you. O.K, so before we go any further, Sophie, please would you mind giving me the sixteen digit number on the front of your card?

Yes, I know you put it into your telephone but that’s nothing to do with me because I was drinking tea while you were being kept occupied by performing pointless manual tasks.

Now, concentrate really hard and tell me what the fourth number would be if you took two away from it and how much change I’d get from a five pound note if you added together the 12th and the 14th number and divided them by the secret squirrel code ON THE OTHER SECRET side of your bank card?

Fantastic, Love – you must have done this before- and for added security, please can you tell me your secret telephone password, passcode and passname? Yes, the last one is your porn name which is made up of the name of your first pet and your mother’s maiden name.

Goodness me, that IS amusing- thank you for that. Now, let’s see about this next one which is your mother’s best childhood memory embedded in your cup size scrambled up in where you went on holiday three years ago, when the dog was sick in the car.

I’m a fan of Spain too- especially the coast- and you were spot on with all of that but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m tempted to cut you off at this point to see if you’ve got the gumption to start all over again.

But you’re doing well and I don’t want to spoil it so keep your cool, ignore all other electronic devices and tell me who won best Oscar for the lead role in the 1988 film Rain Man and no- please don’t ask a friend- it has to be you answering these questions.

Not sure anyone has got this far before- well done, you. Now, close your eyes and think about your account and account activity and see if you can tell me what sort of day it was when you opened the bank account and what type of earring the bank manager was wearing?

Actually, Love, it was gold but I’ll turn a blind eye and ask you, out of the 302 transactions you’ve made over the past ten days, which one cost £23.45 pence and was it in the morning or the afternoon or the one you regretted almost immediately afterwards?

That’s correct but no regrets- they’re a waste of time. Let’s just press on and cast our minds back to June when a man in Baltimore, U.S.A, was considering hacking into your details via the Tesco grocery delivery website but had a cardiac arrest. If he hadn’t had one and had cleared your account what item would you have been unable to purchase at Topshop?

Flaming heck- you’re nearly there- you’ve got one question to go which is, if I threw a baby into the pool and it started drowning but you couldn’t swim, would you jump in to try to save it or try to fetch someone you knew could swim?

Hell fire, I’m in! This is incredible! The system’s up! I can see the lot! I can tell you all the details you’ve just told me only you don’t have to tell me them first!

And how can I help you today?

Someone seems to have made a two minute telephone call to somewhere other than yourfavouritebank and withdrawn £2,000, just like that?

Oh, I’m terribly sorry to hear that, Sophie. I’m afraid you’re going to have to go back and choose the menu option for the very, very nervous and wait to speak to be told to tell all about it.

In the meantime, if that’s all I can help you with today then stay on the line to complete a yourfavouritebank questionnaire and while you wait for me to come back from my next cuppa happen you’ll think twice about blathering your secret-squirrel-back-of-the-card code around the bar during happy hour.

Good night and thank you for calling yourfavouritebank.


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If you listened to a heart

If you laid your head on a chest you would hear the boom-boom of that person.

Every minute since, it would have pumped around each thought from its head to its toe,

each feeling to stretch its spidery hands into their veins.

Only that viscus kept them going, kept them in the race,

kept them in your race.

Missing a beat for a gasp or a breath but ticking right through each day and each night,

the life in them beating out time.

Their voice could falter or they could move their hand in a way you hadn’t seen before.

But their pulsing core you could rely on,

fierce and whole and how you felt it.

And it would throw its final hammer and they would take their dreamy break

from you, their world, from the body of their loves.

But the boom-boom memory of their heart against your temple

would still breathe.

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Last week I took my Dad to watch Bruno outdoor swimming at my gym club.

From our vantage point of two sun loungers we could see the whole pool- Bruno the only person in it.

An encouraging audience, Dad rumbled ‘Super’ to every ensuing aquatic turn, before sitting in silent ‘Terminator’ mode, scanning the cut and jib of the environment.

Having done so he offered this, his one and only observational contribution.

Dad: You see that long pole resting underneath the lifeguard’s chair?

Me: Yes.

Dad (chuckling; making jabbing motions): When people are struggling in the water and coming up for air, that’s for poking them back down again.

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