I was going to write a furious rant about this, but I have been busy, and the fury has now fled.
On Wednesday, the day BEFORE my trip to London, I wanted to change some Jersey money into English notes - not a complicated exercise, but makes it easier when you are on the mainland.
So I popped into Barclays, and asked at the Bureau de Change - this seemed logical to me.
"Oh." Said the surly woman at the counter. "Uh. We don't really do that here. This is the Bureau de Change.".
OK. My french is rusty. However, I'm pretty sure that 'bureau de change' means "somewhere you can exchange money". So I had a bit of a moan.
"Well.", she tried again. "Do you have a Barclays account?". She had clearly had enough of me by now - I was in town doing the shopping, so not wearing my sunday best - and if care is not taken I can lean towards the scruffy. And I have a baby face. This causes all sorts of issues.
"Well yeah." I said. "But it's only a business one - and frankly after the last couple of years, the service from Barclays has been so abysmal - something which is typified by the fact that you're refusing to change 30 quid for English notes - it's not one which I plan to keep open for much longer."
She was a bit taken aback by this. Perhaps because I was waving my business delta card about a bit. I didn't feel it was out of order though - their Business service is pretty damn crap - and unfortunately she had hit on a sore point.
"Oh. Well. I suppose you could go up to the other counter and they might do it for you."
The other counter. In the same bank. Ah. Through that queue of approximately twenty other pissed off 'customers'? Um.. Uh..
"Oh, no thank you..", I said, probably far louder than I should. I added my parting shot: "I've got to go to the Market anyway, I'm sure the guy in the greengrocers will swap it for me - he actually gives a damn about his customers.." and walked off, feeling slightly less angry. At least one of the women in the queue was sniggering by now.
I am a bit ambivalent on this point though. Either:
1. It's unfair to have a go at the people 'on the front line' of large companies with crap service, because it's not their fault.
2. It's absolutely fair, because they could choose to work elsewhere, or they could try to improve the service - rather than being jobsworths.
Given that I run my own business, and try damn hard to look after our customers - even if it's a bit inconvenient - I tend to err on the side of #2.