January 7, 2006

The Continuing Saga of Gabrielle vs. RBC

Banks are an endless source of idle amusement. It may come as a shock to those of you who errantly believe that banks exist to serve the downtrodden little folk who are tired of hiding their blood-sweat-and-tears-earned cash under their mattress or in a hole out back that banks are actually the very epitome of corporate greed. Once banks discovered that the public would actually hand over their earnings with very little fuss for them to "hold onto", they went mad. Power-hungry and blind with greed, as it were. I mean all that money sitting there and what's a bank to do? Keep it, dammit! So any way they can find to stick it to the little people who feed them is going to be a big seller in financially-oriented corporate boardrooms.

You recall that the latest piece of evidence in Gabrielle vs. RBC was the mistaken closure of my account by dope-addled techies on the RBC payroll. I had asked that the extra "features" of my account (such as "free" debit transactions for $11 a month) be removed thus leaving my account naked and squalling like the day it was born. Naturally the techies interpreted this as "just shut down both her accounts, man, do it now". RBC has staunchly refused to re-open either account, saying only that "Your daughter does not appear to have active accounts with us. She should make an appointment with her nearest branch to open one" when my mother inquired as to the rectification of the faux pas. Which, considering I'm in New Zealand, isn't going to happen. Even if I wanted to presume that closing both accounts was my fault. Like hell.

At any rate, my mother was finally able to get somebody at RBC - possibly the neighbor of the nephew of the guy who delivers mail to the assistant to the director of internal marketing or something - to admit that RBC had just recently created a brand new online "service" for it's beloved customers. One of RBC's mottos is, after all, "We are continuously working to identify ways to serve you better, to simplify your banking affairs, and to minimize your cost of borrowing." The lackey assured my mother that problems such as mine could now be solved by applying for an account online. "Really?" asked my mother with due incredulity. "She wouldn't need to go to a branch or present ID? She is in New Zealand, you know." No, the lackey assured my mother, it was precisely for situations like mine that this special online feature was created. So customers could open accounts from afar. This brings up two very immediate and equally as baffling questions. First, if this special online application was created for situations like mine, how many freaking accounts do they close without warning per day? And second, is there any sort of wisdom at all in allowing the random public to apply for bank accounts online with no need for personal verification of any kind? Wouldn't this lend itself to a whole new definition of self-service fraud? I mean it would be like the drive-thru of identity theft. That aside, the RBC lackey assured my mother that since I was a Canadian citizen, I could get a new account online and pursue the reinstatement of my old accounts once I had the backing of a new account behind me. (Honestly, only to someone who is high would that make any sense. I digress.)

I decided to apply. It's true, there is a button to "open an account" online. The first noticable thing about it is that you have to give it a Canadian phone number and postal code (which the RBC site calls a 'zip code' for reasons unknown to anyone but the American dope fiend who apparently chairs the board of RBC) before you can proceed. Then, once all your data is entered, including which country you currently reside in (lending a false sense of comfort - "hey, they get it, they know I'm overseas" - to the whole proceeding), the site comes up with this question: "Select which time is most convenient for us to phone you to set up an appointment with your nearest branch." When you chose a time it then gives you the branches nearest you (even if you've stated that your country of residence is New Zealand) in Canada.

Goddamn you, Royal Bank of Canada!

What hypocrites. What useless fucking bastards they are. Listen, RBC, why do you consistently lie to us, the penniless public? Why do you say things like "we put our clients first" if it's an outright lie or if you really mean "we put our clients first when testing rickety wooden bridges that span volcanic gulfs and we're not sure the hundred-year-old ropes will hold"? You are by far the most insulting and useless bank I've ever had to deal with over and over again to no effect whatsoever save the eventual draining of all my soul's energy for your fiscal gain of $2.71. That's the real irony here, RBC! You're screwing me over and forcing me to write hate-filled articles about you (including angry emails to your arch-rival, the Bank of Montreal, and don't think I'm kidding about that) over a lousy TWO DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-ONE CENTS!! RBC, where is the gain here? You're alienating me, all the children I'm never going to have, and all my non-existent children's fictitious offspring for the paltry gain of $2.71 and the satisfaction of knowing that you have indeed created the most stunningly ineffectual model of "customer service" since U-Haul first opened it's doors on the unsuspecting public.

Congratulations, I guess, RBC. Maybe you were after U-Haul's coveted "Worst Company Ever And I Mean It" title all this time and I was just too blind to see it. In that case, good on you! You've done it. You've bested U-Haul at their own ugly game. And now that I think about it, RBC, I can't imagine a more deserving company for the title.

January 3, 2006

Torch made a New Year's resolution he knows he won't break: to not sleep with other men. That sort of made me giggle. I wondered if such a no-brainer resolution would work with me. I mean it would be nice to resolve something you don't have to think about avoiding, you know? An effortless and totally successful New Year's resolution for once? But then I remembered Gina.

New Year's resolutions are for pussies anyway. Gina is God's gift to everybody. And I would unwrap her. I would.