Middle Class Problems: Should I feel valued by my bank?

Super-smiley staff just make Yolanda Zappaterra feel embarrassed

Yolanda Zappaterra
Thursday 13 August 2015 15:36 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


'Hi there, can I help you?" "Gooooood morning, what can I do for you today?" "Hell-o, how can I be of assistance?" I have walked into the local branch of my bank and three super-smiley staff have simultaneously rushed to greet me from behind their sci-fi podiums, eager to assist. Should I feel valued? Because I don't. I just feel like they're embarrassing themselves, and it's all my fault for being there.

They surely don't want to be pursuing this "We're not the enemy" approach any more than I want them to. We were all happy enough with the old system, weren't we? Efficient if standoffish attitude from them, nervous "Are they going to give me the money?" attitude from me (in my youth) or righteous indignation at outrageous fees (in my dotage).

Our worlds were fittingly separated by a Perspex barrier set in a counter that called to mind an old, genteel world in which we all knew our places and fretted idly about the bank being robbed as we queued for an hour. (There was nothing, of course, we liked more than a queue – it let us know, quite literally, where we stood.)

Now? Who knows what's going on. It's not as though anything fundamental has changed: they're still mean with the money and charge outrageous amounts for tasks that take days, despite technological advances that mean money can be pinged to the tax office in minutes. It's just that they're nicer about it. Which only leaves us – unable to complain to such cordial staff – more frustrated than ever.

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