You Will Be Served Shortly...


Written on 1/08/2007 02:33:00 am by sikapitan

Almost everyone will do it at least once in their lifetime, while most do it at least once a week and a small percentage of our population will do it every day. Now some of you might be feeling a little bit sexy after reading that first few lines, and the more conservative of you lot will probably be slowly reciting some prayers THEN continue reading…but unfortunately for you horny souls, I am not talking about sex. In fact, it is something so far removed from sex it’s like relating cows to Jessica Simpson…well, maybe there is a relation there….

I am actually referring to the activity that is so ingrained in our psyche that we tend to not realize its impact on our daily lives – going to the bank. YES! Going to the bank sounds innocuous enough, but without us realizing it, a significant portion of our adult life is spent at the bank (and this includes ATM transactions) AND most importantly, most of us ARE actually living because of the banks.

It’s crazy how banks have spread its tentacles into almost everything we do. I mean, without the car loan you might just be riding on a bicycle, or become a mat rempit. Housing loans, study loans, personal loans…even getting married nowadays sees some people taking out loans from the bank. Even if you’re lucky enough NOT to take up loans from the banks, you still have to deal with them. Where else would you employer deposit your monthly wage? So you take in cash, where do you keep it? How do people transfer large amount of money?

Heck, if you think about it, the shops where you buy your clothes, the services that you use, the businesses that you deal with, even the company you work for…they will all deal with banks, even depend on banks for their survival. So why on earth, for something that is so fundamentally important, did they make going to the bank such a godless chore?

Honestly, can someone please do tell me why are banks located at commercial centers which cannot cater to the number of people who you would normally expect to come to banks? I guess the theory is that it is easier to locate banks at commercial centers so that the consumers can do a whole lot of their business at the same area. But it seldom works that way, now does it?

The vision is for you to go to the bank during your lunch break (since it is so conveniently located near your office), take your number, wait at most 10 minutes, do your thing at the counter, then head out to the Maxis office to settle your bill (again, not more than 20 minutes), then go have a nice lunch and be back at the office before lunch hour is over. If this is how you describe your own personal experience, you must be doing your banking in some rural backwater.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You leave your office at 12.30pm for a 15 minutes ride to the nearest commercial centre (let us say Taipan, USJ or SS2, PJ), but of course the commercial centre is called a centre for a reason and that is because EVERYONE IS HEADING TOWARS THE SAME DIRECTION! Do content yourself with a bit of a jam before arriving at the area, then upon reaching there, you spend another 30 minutes trying to find a parking space, and you seldom will.

Forget about parking near the bank, because it’s usually double-parked. So then you find a spot that runs a yellow line, and even these illegal spaces are filled with cars. You run down, and head straight to take your queue number. It reads 346, but most importantly it shows that at that moment, the bank is serving customer number 306. There’s at least another 40 people ahead of you, but its okay, because now you can run over to the Maxis centre to pay your bills.

Unfortunately, and in spite of the general idea being to bring all the services closer together, it takes at least a good 10 minutes of good brisk walking to reach the Maxis centre. Even if you plan only to use the automated payment machine, you still have to wait for a while. Lo and behold, sometimes you’re “lucky” enough to have the machine breaking down on your visit, so you run back to the bank.

Apparently, this time the bank decides to be efficient so number 346 has already passed, and you have to take another number. This time you vow to wait inside the bank, but there are no seats left! You stand around, filling up all the forms (at least you brought your own pen), and eyeing up the rest of the customers. Isn’t it odd that you find mostly people in casual clothes going to the bank? I mean, if the whole concept was to have an all in one commercial centre where people can work, and do their banking, doesn’t it seem odd that banks are mostly filled by the average housewives, grads, runners and other non-working individual?

By the time you’re done, it’s more than likely to be more than 3 hours from the time you left your office. Remember, you only managed to complete one simple transaction. So much for being convenient. There is nothing convenient about going to the bank in areas like Taipan or SS15,Subang or SS2, PJ or PJ New Town or wherever else in the busy cosmopolitans all around Malaysia.

One solution is the emergence of Internet Banking. It works, and my mom is a great believer in Maybank2U. I’m sure the pick-up will be greater if it wasn’t for the lousy internet penetration rate and even lousier service provided by the telco companies…but that’s a story for another day.

There are more ways to work around this problem, but this entry is getting a bit too long. So I hope readers can give suggestions or comments on this. Oh yeah, before you leave the commercial centre, as you enter your car, you realize there’s a piece of paper on your window, so you pick it up only to realize its one of the MB or MP or DB giving you a ticket for not parking in spaces that was NOT AVAILABLE in the first place!!! Go figure…


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