On January 23, this year, I made a POS transaction the print out of which read : “declined” .I received a debit alert to that amount: Twice a quick succession. But no transactions. I was told to go to the bank and join the Mississippi-length queue to file a complain. The next day, after the ordeal at the bank, I was cornered by two young graduates wearing the tags of a once popular bank. I am supposed to open an account with them.
Right there and then. “Won’t you be needing documents ” ? I asked. ” Just your BVN sir and we take a photo of you with our phone”. Then I told them that one of their POS sets swallowed my money. “It’s normal sir. They will reverse it in 8 working days “. I didn’t think it was normal. Needless to say of course ,that, almost one month later, my phone alerted me that the bank had grudgingly “reversed ” my money. No interests. Or was there?
I then reminded them about my other experience two days before Christmas. Well, my account statement said correctly that I had an X and X amount of money. I fed my plastic card to the ATM machine. It’s Christmas, right? Well, “Insufficient funds “, the machine read and spat out my card. Error, I thought. After all, these are 1977 used -machines from JP Morgan. “Insufficient funds “, a second time. If I didn’t take my card, the machine would have swallowed it. Notionaly, I had money but the bank hoped that I won’t be needing it for Christmas.
“Sir, these things are normal these days” ,said the female member of the team. “How much does it cost to open an account anyway ” . ” Well, actually, nothing but amount(of money) is ok”.
When new governments are matriculated and they say it will no longer be business as usual, they mean it literally. Nigeria has not been the same since 2015. It’s business climate is indescribably inclement( It wasn’t exactly a fiesta before that year, one must add).
In our layman style, we shall be cataloguing the areas heaviest hit by “it is no longer business as usual “. Like the famous robber told the police “Where else do they keep money”?
BANKS ,DEBITS AND NO CASH OR TRANSACTIONS : Did I mention that it took about a month for my bank to return my money? In better times, the system will auto-reverse your money instantly. There is a regulation that no bank should swallow your money for more than 24 hours! It doesn’t work of course. Imagine if your wife/girlfriend, etc was dying and it just happened to be cash loaned to you by a friend. Or worse, a loanshark!I have done my own rookie investigation and come up with a theory: Let’s call it The Rob Peter- To Pay Paul Theory. Terrible conspiracy, isn’t it?
Well, it goes like this: As it has become “normal ” to hold your money for weeks I surmised that, lacking cash, it’s just possible for them to manage your anger and frustration until another person’s cash is swallowed. You get your money back. Then the next Peter hurts for weeks and becomes Paul. Etc , Etc. You get my drift, don’t you? It has happened to us all.
Even the tinsel ambience that banking halls and lounge used to have has evaporated.Young men and girls in half clothes flood them with loud music assailling you from gadgets that came complete with ear phones. Again, remember,it’s no longer business as usual. Those class of people are the new middle class (Yahoo boys, if you like).They don’t have the same thick skins like other people. So you don’t swallow their money. They also are generous in a spontaneous sort of way.
After all, it’s no longer business as usual. And how they are able to endure anything! Nigerians. ” Things will change after the elections. Politicians have taken out all the cash”? Including mine?
There are even printed forms waiting for you to fill out when you become a Peter. All you need is the patience of the Biblical Job.
Two lessons from the current “normal” problem. Nigerians are the easiest people to manage on earth. Second, rules are useless. Both lessons are not good for business. Incidentally, the elections don’t look like they are over . I might be Peter again.
By the way, I refrained from naming my bank for fear of further pains. And that’s bad for business.