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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Terribly Temperamental Technology

I have mentioned in an earlier post on here that we have a young lady staying with us on a temporary basis, Kendra, who has come from Canada to be an English teacher at Milton Keynes Academy. She came last Saturday. She has to open a bank account, as she doesn't have a British account and has been to Lloyd's Bank in Central Milton Keynes and had an appointment at 1 p.m. this morning to set the account up. Carol and I did our weekly shop in Morrison's this morning and then came home to unpack. We then took Kendra and left her at the bank as we wanted to visit Staples, the stationary store, giving us time to go there to buy some pens for Carol's work and then drive back to Lloyd's. It didn't appear to take too long and Kendra now has to wait to receive her bank card etc in the post, using our address until she can find more permanent accomodation. She had given us some cash as rent and we wanted to put it in our Nationwide account. So Carol dropped me off outside the shopping centre while I went inside the branch. The door from the street where we could park was not in use, so I had to walk through into the main arcade and enter there. Quite a long way round and it was extremely busy with shoppers. Once inside the branch I found that none of the tills were open and the only way to pay in the cash was through one of their machines. I have used one of these to pay in cheques (a virtually redundant form of payment thes days as most payments from a bank account is made using a debit card with 'chip and PIN.' There were queues at both machines, so I just had to wait in line for other people to use it. One person ahead of me was being given instructions by a member of staff on how to use the machine. Very easy, actually. You don't need your PIN, just put in your debit card and then use the 'touch' screen and follow the instructions. Only thing with a cheque is getting it the right way round in the slot otherwise the machine just spits it out until you get it the correct way round. I suppose it's so the technology can 'read' the cheque, managing to get the amount and your name and bank sort code etc etc and at the end of the procedure copying all the details onto your receipt to prove that you have put cash or a cheque into your account through this form of paying-in.

As I had a bundle of £20 notes, I had to individually insert them into the machine through the slot. It was a painfully slow process and not all the notes would go in correctly and some got 'spat' out by the machine so I had to re-insert them. You had to keep pressing the appropriate 'button' on the screen as the individual notes were put into the machine. There was quite a queue behind me, but there was no way on Earth I could speed the process up any more. It seemed that the machine could go no faster. Anyway, anyone who has read earlier posts on this blog will know very well I have a rather strange relationship with such technology, such as talking lifts, and in particular the moving walkway at Sainsbury's which keeps on telling you to 'hold the handrail and be prepared to push your trolley off the walkway.' So, it's nothing new to have to deal with the idiotic machine in Nationwide. I have to say I'm not over-impressed that they don't have staff on the tills on a Saturday morning. If they will insist having this sort of technology in their branches instead of having humans on tills to take your cash, they could at least make sure it works a good deal faster, because the rate it was taking my cash I think I would have seriously got annoyed and given the horrible machine an almighty punch or kick if I wasn't a patient sort of individual.

When we'd collected Kendra we had to drive over to Great Holm, the next 'grid' over from where we used to live at Crown Hill. She went to view a house which she may possibly be sharing with several other teachers from the Academy. We went in to have a look ourselves and it seemed a very spacious property, although it looked as if the former tenants hadn't made much effort to clean the place when the left. She has to see another property in Oldbrook, which might be better as it will be far closer to work as she doesn't have a car and it would be quite a journey there and back each day if she was to live in Great Holm.
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