Ditz #1 : Hello, Wagon Trail Bank here, my name is Autumn, how can I help you?
JLP : Hi, Autumn, I would like to make an enquiry about closing some accounts?
Ditz #1 : Uh-huh?
JLP : Yes, I'm calling on behalf of my grandparents. They have had accounts with your bank for over forty years, but they moved to Ireland twenty-eight years ago. I am actually calling you long distance right now from Ireland. My grandfather passed away over a year ago and now my grandmother would like to close her accounts with you. I would just like to know what we need to do to get this done. [for future reference this is the "explanation speech"]
Ditz #1 : Uh-huh?
JLP : So...what do we need to do?
Ditz #1 : Let me put you through to a banker.
JLP : Ah, ok, thanks Autumn.
JLP : [under breath] How silly of me to think you were a banker yourself!
Ditz #2 : Hello, my name is Girlie, how may I help you?
JLP : Hello Girlie...[explanation speech follows]
Ditz #2 : In order to close an account, she will have to come into our branch in person.
JLP : Um, yes, well like I said, we are in Ireland, and I might also add that she is 96 years old.
Ditz #2 : Well, I'm afraid then that is a problem because we can only close an account in person.
JLP : Would she have been advised of that when they informed you that they were moving away?
Ditz #2 : I'm sorry sir?
JLP : So basically you are telling me there is nothing she can do if she can't get on a plane and fly 6000 miles, which incidentally will probably cost her the sum of money she has left in her account.
Ditz #2 : Unfortunately, that is the case, sir.
JLP : And there is nothing else we can do.
Ditz #2 : Well you could call our Customer Service line...
JLP : Ah, ok, well at least that is something...
Ditz #2 : But I can almost guarantee sir that there will be nothing they can do for you.
JLP : Well, I think I will try anyway, may I have their number please?
Ditz #2 : It's a toll-free number, and it is 1-800-ROB-BERY [number may not be precise]
JLP : Thank you so much Girlie for all your help.
Ditz #2 : You have a nice day, sir.
*hang up, dial new number*
Recording : This call is not toll-free outside the United States. If you do not wish to pay for this call, please hang up now.
Another recording : Thank you for calling Wagon Trail Bank Customer Service. Please wait for our next available operator. You call is very important to us. [this message repeated five times in total]
Ditz #3 : Hello my name is Lucita, how may I help you?
JLP : Hi Lucita...[explanation speech] ... and I called the branch where they opened the account and they said there was nothing my grandmother could do.
Ditz #3 : Well there is something she can do.
JLP : There is?
Ditz #3 : Yes, there is. She can send a letter to our Account Closing department.
JLP : Oh, ok, well we already sent such a letter to the branch, it was about three weeks ago, that's kind of why I'm calling.
Ditz #3 : They would have disregarded that letter, sir, they do not deal with closing accounts.
JLP : And they couldn't just forward it onto the Account Closing department?
Ditz #3 : No, sir.
JLP : Right, well then, can I have the address please?
Ditz #3 : No, sir, I'm afraid I can only give that information to the account holder.
JLP : But she won't understand...can I be on the line as well?
Ditz #3 : I'm afraid not, sir.
JLP : But...ok, wait, hang on.
[there then follows five minutes of absolute calamity as I try to explain to my grandmother that she needs to talk to the lady, let her call out the address, while I mute the other line and write it down.]
JLP : OK, it's me again, we now have the address, thank you.
Ditz #3 : That's great sir, is there anything else I can help you with?
JLP : Well I do have one general query...
Ditz #3 : yes, sir?
JLP : You never asked my grandmother for her account number. So in other words, the information you just gave out REALLY could be given out to just anybody, is that right?
Ditz #3 : I'm sorry, sir?
JLP : That's ok, I forgive you. Good day!
JLP : [SINGING TO PHONE] There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole...