....and you can take that to the bank

Discussing all the rubbish currently coming from the chocolate starfish of the HMRC here, here, here, here, below and in many other places, made me remember a (slightly related) story.

About eight or nine years ago I changed jobs. I used to work as a barman in an independent pub and they paid me weekly in cash. I moved to a managed pub run by a chain and they insisted on paying me into my bank account. Trouble is I didn't have one at the time. Who needs banks if you get paid cash?

Off I trotted to the local Natwest with my passport and drivers licence. Yeah, right. I was ushered into a side office for a chat with a rather uninterested and rotund woman.

The conversation went a little like this:

Me: Can I have a bank account?
Blobby: What kind of account?
Me: Just a bog standard one that I can pay my wage into and an ATM card so I can take it out. I don't want and credit facilities, checkbook, overdraft, or debit cards.
Blobby: Do you have your passport and driving licence?
Me: I do *smug grin*
Blobby: Ok, that's fine. I also need to see your wage slips for the past three months.
Me: Huh? What on earth would you want my wage slips for? That's none of your business.
Blobby: I need to verify your identity and your work history.
Me: No you dint. My passport and DL is all the ID you need. I'm not showing you my wage slips.
Blobby: I need to see them before I can give you an account. Its new rules to prevent terrorism since 9/11. Plus we cant give you credit without verifying your solvency.
Me: I'm not a terrorist, my wage slips wont prove either way and I'm not showing you them. I'm not asking for credit, I'm asking you to look after my money. In fact, I think you should show me your wage slips. How about showing me the banks financial records for the past three years and proving to me that you are not going to go bust and loose my money? As Ive said, I don't want any credit facilities, just a standard account and ATM card.
Blobby: Ok, we will come back to that. Do you have any debts?
Me: Yes, I'm up to my eyeballs in them. I have so much debt you wouldn't believe it.
Blobby: Oh dear. The only account we can offer you is a bog standard one with no credit facilities and an ATM card.
Me: Bingo. That's exactly what I want. Sold.

They eventually gave me the bog standard account and I didn't have to show ant wage slips. About ten days after the interview they sent me the welcome pack and in it was a debit card. The one they told me I couldn't have.
About a year later the debit card was upgraded from Solo to Visa. You can use them in a lot more places, particularly the Internet.

So I got exactly what I wanted, plus a bonus of the debit card and I didn't have to verify my wage history for the past three months.

Now, since the banking collapse and the massive bailout, we apparently own the banks.

Try asking for an account now and see what documents you have to provide. All transactions you make over £1000 are reported to the inland revenue. Cashiers who don't flag these transactions face tough penalties. All banking secrecy that there may have been in the past in completely gone. Banking transactions can be passed to agencies in Europe and the USA.

We don't own the banks any more than we own the NHS or the civil service or quangos and fake charities. We don't own anything our tax money pays for. In all reality, the government owns us. Or they like to think they do. Stand up for yourself. Be a pain in the arse. Say no. Its very satisfying.

Just saying is all.....


JuliaM said...