Stranger 12. I bank with one of the main high street banks and I walked into my local branch and asked to speak with the manager. She wasn’t free so the assistant manager appeared, led me to a comfortable little room, offered me a seat and asked, “how can I help you?”
“I’ve been with your bank for 24 years and in that time I’ve been a very reliable and loyal customer. For 24 years you’ve had my money. I was wondering what gift you could offer me in return. Could I have a gift today please?”
“What an unusual request”
She disappeared for a short while to see what she could do and returned with paper and a pen.
“I can’t do anything myself but I can speak to Head Office and see what they say, what’s your name and phone number?”
I’m seeking a No (the worst that can happen, I get a Yes). I wasn’t interested in ambiguity and as lovely as this woman was, that felt far too much like red tape bureaucracy. I’m looking at you deep in the eyes, this is who I am, this is what I want. What’s it to be? You. Not your boss. Not their boss. They’re not here. It’s me and you.
“Can I have a gift please?”
“I can give you a pen?” she winced.
I smiled. I would have taken a pen but she wasn’t giving it to me.
“We have lots of branded stuff?”
Again I smiled and nodded, but she wasn’t giving me any branded stuff.
“Let me phone head office, I’m sure they can help you.”
I would have taken a pen.
“What’s your number, I’ll pass it on and let’s see what we can do.”
“Can you call them now? I really want a gift today”
(I would have taken a pen)
“I can’t call them right this minute, but I will speak to them today”
“Will they call me back, today, do you think?”
“Yes I’ll tell them…..I’ve not thought of asking this myself, it’s a great question. Did you get this from Martin, the money saving expert, has he been on TV this morning?”
“Nope. It came from my own brain”
(I actually said that….)
Later on that afternoon I did receive a call, not from Head Office but from the manager of my local branch. She was very pleasant, very efficient, “understood” that I was a loyal customer and “it’s not that we don’t value you but we have to treat everyone fairly so we can’t offer you a gift without doing the same for others.”
It was a long time coming….but there it is, there’s my No!
Funnily enough she went on to inform me that offering gifts to loyal customers is something this bank is in the process of coordinating. She was very pleasant and I was very well informed, but in those brief moments of our conversation I found myself romanticizing about the days, long before I was born, when the local bank manager knew what I liked and disliked just as much as they knew how much money was in my account (did those days ever exist or have I watched too many episodes of Little House On the Prairie?)
Anyway, I would have taken a pen.
About the Author
I coach high achievers in the performing arts and music industries, together with entrepreneurs and leaders in corporate. I'm drawn to work with pioneers and innovators. "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes" Marcel Proust
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