We are all wondering why the banking system is in such disarray? The country has lost all of its money, and the bankers are busy counting their six figure bonuses while the rest of us convince ourselves that shopping at Lidl and reusing tea bags is actually ok. ‘You know, like it’s been a really valuable experience and everything. It’s made me re-evaluate the meaning of money. I’m more in tune with what’s really important in life.’ Oh please, it’s been bloody awful, and we all know it. I don’t want to be counting the pennies or eating own label baked beans thank you very much. Yes family, health and a roof over our heads are the most important things, but quite frankly the ability to treat ourselves to a takeaway chicken tikka masala with all the trimmings and a nice bottle of wine, when the mood takes are pretty important to me as well. I know, I’m shallow. Good, I like being shallow!
However, we are all being assured the green shoots of recovery are staring to bloom and life will soon be back to some sense of normality within the next twenty years. Phew! This post is nothing to do with the champagne quaffing, bonus-busting bankers; that’s what the Daily Mail is for. No, this is for a completely different type of banker. This is for the ones who decided that the most qualified person to dispense financial advice in times of crisis, is a spotty faced, spiky haired twelve year old, who looks like he should be offering to clean your car for bob a job week. Honestly, I was called in by my bank a little while ago to discuss some personal banking matters. They were probably upset that my account was looking a little battle weary. I duly went in at the agreed time to my nearest branch, expecting to meet a steely eyed, middle aged bank manager who would wag his finger at me, and then set about offering me some well intentioned advice, garnered from his many years of experience. What I wasn’t expecting was to be sat in an open-plan area and have to discuss my most private matters with somebody called Wayne. Wayne, with his over sized suit, fluffy chin and acne pocked chin looked like he would be better suited to giving advice on how to get the best out of your conker performance, not how to live within your means to the bank’s satisfaction.
Now you maybe thinking I’m being a bit harsh on the spotty faced urchin. Don’t confuse youth for inexperience, you might suggest, leave poor Wayne alone. But shall I tell you what pearl of wisdom passed through those youthful, whispery moustache covered lips. Shall I tell you? ‘Perhaps you could try spending a bit less money sir.’ I kid you not, ‘Perhaps you could try spending a bit less money sir.’ This was the best the world’s local bank could offer. Blimey, all the world’s financial ills solved with that one simple statement. It was as if a heavenly light had shone down from above, and bathed his gel-encrusted, spiky hair in a warm bath of genius. Maybe I could try spending a bit less money on my mortgage, or my water, gas, electric, council tax, car tax, train fare, child care or any of the other monthly bills that savage my monthly salary. Perhaps I could try spending a bit less on the food my family digest to stay alive, or the children’s clothes, which they keep annoyingly growing out of. Perhaps I could try spending a bit less on the enormous bank charges which this particular establishment insisted on taking out of my account for looking at my bank balance the wrong way. Or perhaps, this font of all knowledge, with his many years of real life experience, is worried that I am spending too much money on my gold leaf encrusted Osprey egg collection. Does he worry that I might be frittering away my hard earned salary on too many Rembrandts? Surely that can be the only reason older people go through their money. That’s what it is, his worldy-wise maturity, gained through years at the coalface have caught me out. He does indeed know better. From now on, I shall take his advice and spend less money wherever possible. I absolutely promise not to add to my chandelier collection. How’s that Wayne? Any happier?
Of course it’s not really Wayne’s fault; how is he meant to have the abilities to offer any real and constructive advice. It is the fault of the people upstairs, who decided that rather than have our Wayne sort through the leaflets that no one reads, or make the tea, he should be the face of the bank. In future when I’m called in to discuss my money matters, I think I’ll just send in my seven-year-old daughter with her piggy bank, and they can discuss it over a blueberry Hooch.