Yes, as Gerry Hassan
says (and for once I agree with him), 'We all deserve better'. For me, his article on the Salmond/Sturgeon affair leads to one clear conclusion: until fresh politicians of demonstrated stature emerge and prove themselves (and probably even then), Scotland is not fit for independent self-government. It is too small, too parochial and too diverse to be other than a component of the United Kingdom.
B L Cohen
The trouble with living in a big city is they never stay still at the best of times. Buildings go up, buildings come down, bus routes change, shops close and restaurants disappear, new places open. But usually all that happens in front of one's eyes. One is not taken by surprise as I was when I crossed the street to visit my bank the other day only to discover the branch had closed.
We are now, of course, in the worst of times and that makes a difference. Just why, since I had used that branch for decades, they did not think to tell me it was closing is indicative of how banks now regard customer service. The pandemic has led to a life lived using plastic, and because of online banking and the ability to transfer money, cheques are in danger of becoming as obsolete as traveller's cheques.
Cash is most of the time rejected and the need to go into a branch has more or less disappeared. I passed mine regularly after lockdown ended but with no cheques to pay in and no need to take cash out of a machine or make arrangements for travelling overseas, I had not paid a visit in over a year. I check my balance and outgoings on my phone, pay bills by transferring money – even to my window cleaner – and who talks to a bank manager now anyway?
Banks have been closing branches for years, the grander ones becoming restaurants. There was one Victorian edifice in George Street in Edinburgh which I took a friend to lunch at not so long ago. She looked around, said her banker brother had worked there and what was now the gents had been the manager's office.
The other thing is that while one has been incarcerated, all sorts of unexpected changes have been taking place. The new buildings apart, there are new one-way streets and bicycle lanes – hazards for the pedestrian living in the past – not to mention the shops which vanished along with customer service. Try talking on the phone or online to someone in a department store. On the phone, you will be told this call is important to us but all of our operatives are busy. And online, you get a series of suggested problems, none of which are the one you have, and the solutions to them with the offer of that congested phoneline if you are dissatisfied.
It is indeed a brave new world. The way I now regard my bank, I am tempted to go and visit that one time manager's office to express my feelings.
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