Monday, July 30, 2007

Sometimes it's Easier to Lie

Okay, this morning there is plenty to report back on ... It was a fairly busy weekend, although it started off in a very relaxed manor on Friday evening with some Mochacho's (used their Chicken Strips for home-made wraps, delish!) for dinner and some 4400 to entertain.

Saturday was a blur of more shopping and an attempt to purchase dollars. Okay, let me begin my rant on all forms of financial institutions here ...

Last weekend I attempted to collect my replacement Petrol card - these things expire. Now this in itself is a bone of contention for me. Why on earth do banks think I have any desire to go to one of their branches? I mean really, it always just turns into a black hole of time that you'll never get back. And does anyone ever leave a bank branch feeling better because they did what they came for. Well, lucky for you if you do, but I never have. So, in the days of internet banking and registered mail, I cannot understand why they would still be forcing you, their client, to bend to their whims and take half a day's leave (the only way a normal working person could possibly ever make it to a bank branch before closing time!!! Note: Bone of Contention Number 2) to go into a branch. So anyway, last weekend I had attempted to collect my card from my pathetic branch ... which it turns out closes at 11am on a Saturday morning ... for those of you who wake up late all week and like to get up in time for the sunrise on a weekend, this is for you. Because it certainly isn't for me, I got there at a perfectly reasonable time (or so I thought) of 11:30, to find it closed. Hell, even the sodding Post Office is open later than this. What the hell are you bank employees doing in there ... it's like they think they're school teachers or something and are making up for all the 6 week holidays one day at a time!

Anyhoo, so this sent me into a mild rage where I couldn't even speak for half the morning. Exactly where is our customer service, because I cannot think of a single person who these ridiculous banking hours might suit - except the employees themselves. Perhaps the branch I'm at is just too pathetic and I should move to another ... but guess what, to do that you actually have to go into a branch. I mean really?

So that was last weekend's experience that left me spending the week actually coming frightfully close to canceling the damn card and signing up with a competitor who would let me collect my card from my nearest Post Office as an alternative - which as I stated earlier, although they have equally ridiculous opening hours, are still open later than the banks on a Saturday. Again, this is more than likely just a pathetic instance of my useless branch ... since it is not in a giant mall like Sandton or Cresta.

This weekend was rage-inducing on a par. I needed to get my dollars, and of course this means I need to prove where I live thanks to the stupid FICA Act. FICA is, at best, useless in my mind. My banks all think I still live back in Cape Town, which is what I proved to them back when the Act first came out ... because that was where I lived. Even tho, I've now updated my postal address to Joburg. What really annoys me about this act is it is completely useless for someone who a) doesn't own property and b) uses a PO Box. I fall into this unfortunate category and struggle desperately to prove where I live.

On Saturday I did my best. I had Loulou sign a letter vouching for me and got her to give me a copy of something proving she lived there and then toddled off to the Foreign Exchange mistakenly thinking I was prepared. Oh no, they wanted a copy of Loulou's ID. Hello, what, do you think I'm faking it? I made up a person and got a Vodacom contract in their name so I could prove I lived somewhere I didn't. After raising my voice more than a notch at the incompetent cashier, I promptly left, livid. Fine then, screw the government. Turns out it's easier to lie about where you live than tell the truth, I was left with a number of false options available to me ... a) I still had proof on my tax return of my residency at Bean's place; b) I could probably prove I lived at the place we own together (although neither of us has ever lived there) or c) I could prove I still lived in Cape Town (let's see them try to prove that I don't!). Anyway, option a proved simplest since my Tax Return had just arrived in the post :) Needless to say they accepted this without batting an eyelid. See if I bother to make the effort of trying to be honest next time, it just ruins my mood. And I plan to do the same when they deliver my petrol card to me at the office tomorrow (at a grand expense to me of R110 - an insignificant price to pay for not having that vein bulging in my forehead again!)

Oooh, I've just remembered, before the foreign exchange debacle Varen & I had breakfast at Capello's in Sandton (no web prescence ... unimpressive for such a widely spread chain). I first discovered Capello's in Hyde Park and then one popped up in Jhb City Centre and apparently in Newtown. I've been to one in Bedfordview with Varen before as well. The quality varies in my experience. The Sandton one was impressive, if only because they have these awesome gadgets on the table: a Service Indicator. They have buttons for Menu, Service and Bill. When you press a button your table number and selection show up on a red LED board at the back of the restaurant. We didn't really get to use the fun toy, but I can certainly think of a few other restaurants around that would benefit from this sort of thing!

Erm, the rest of Saturday is a blur of shopping. The evening wasn't any more spectacular that Friday. Dinner and more 4400. I was pooped after all the inter-mall driving! Oh, but we did briefly stop to check out the C2 ... when I get back I'll be test driving a bunch of cars and hopefully finally buying myself a new one :)

Sunday we zoomed off on the bike for lunch with JofH & YogaCherryl at Irene Dairy Farm. It was a nice day out and lovely to see them :) The buffet was average, but I love the relaxed environment - probably better for folks with kiddies tho. And the deli is always good. The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing and enjoying our last few real hours together before my trip. And we finish Season 3 of The 4400.

I'm getting nervous for my trip ... you know the "have I forgotten anything" feeling. And Varen's spent so much time worrying about my safety, I think it's rubbing off. But I am looking forward to the break and my fingers are tightly crossed that I'll see everything I'm hoping to (the migration & the gorillas).

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin