River Wissey Lovell Fuller

July 2006 Anglican Church Letter

July 2006

Keith presents an amusing response by a harrassed customer to her local bank.

We are coming to the 'silly season' for newspapers and magazines as populations depart wholesale for beaches in the West Country or the Pacific. So I thought that rather than regale you with heavier stuff, you might find the following letter amusing. I am reliably (?) informed that this is an actual letter from a 96 year old widow to her bank.

"To whom it may concern:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing the cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his depositing the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £40 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to the bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has recently become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status form, which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I might know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history, must be countersigned by a Notary Public; and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof in due course. I will issue your employee with a PIN number which she/he must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Please allow me to level the playing field even further. When you call me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to choose from.

Please press the buttons as follows:

1. to make an appointment to see me;

2. to query a missing payment;

3. to transfer the call to my living room in case I am there;

4. to transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping;

5. to transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature;

6. to transfer the call to my mobile phone;

7. to leave a message on my computer. A password to access my computer is required. The password will be communicated at a later date to the Authorised Contact.

8. to return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7;

9. to make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must levy an establishment fee of £40 to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. Please credit my account after each occasion.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less, prosperous New Year.

Your humble customer."

I trust that none of the readers of this magazine will feel similarly slighted in reference to their account with God. If they do they can contact the Chief Executive in prayer. He is available at any time to any of his customers. Also, he never stops them going as overdrawn as they wish and will forgive them the debt - see my May letter for this side of things! If they feel that this is less than satisfactory, then they can always seek assistance from the priests, elders, wardens, members of the congregation etc of their local Church - or, if they prefer to do this away from their own locality at any other Church of their choice.

It has to be said that these more junior members of this organisation may not always be as available as the Chief Executive himself! Moreover they may not be able to be as all-comforting as the boss. Worst of all, some Churches will look askance at you, if you don't subscribe to their particular way of looking at the relationship with the Big Fellow at the top! But, in the end, you can always talk to God directly yourself - and he will never shortchange you or charge you unfairly

Keith MacLeod

Licensed Lay Minister

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