Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pen (or Pencil) and Teller.

I was in a bank today, not the one I work at, but an actual person to person bank. The kind where transactions take place over the counter. My employer has these, now, that is to say the company who purchased my bank had them and now so do we. In our previous life we were bankers who worked over the phone almost completely, but lets face it all banks are bound to be taken over by a competing company these days.

Last night while telling us that the new company may be giving us less money and less vacation time to do the same job, my boss's boss's boss made reference to the tellers at the company. He called them "front line" people as compared to us, who are "back line" people, and he went on to compare and contrast our respective duties and he caught me off guard when he told us the main job of a bank teller, as the company sees it is sales.

My wife also works for a bank and her company thinks sales are the most important part of the teller job as well, and I just couldn't disagree more. What happened to the days when people existed to help you with something you already bought. I'm not naive, I know the world view in a capitalist society is the gathering of wealth, and as someone who used to make my living by selling stuff I have been to all the sales courses where they say profound shit like "noting can happen till someone sells something" but isn't anyone else getting sick of it?

At Best Buy the other day the lady at the counter asked me if I wanted to get a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Am I the only one who doesn't see the tie in? Just try calling a tech support line with out getting "up sold" or worse than anything call your credit card company and count how many things they try to sell you. Unlike most people I don't want to shoot the underpaid messenger.

When someone calls my house to sell me something I don't treat them like shit, because there but for the grace of the yankee dollar go I. I try and give people the opportunity to do the job some thousand dollar suit clad vice president told the 10 people below him, and above said worker, to do. We are all just trying to make our lives a bit better, and maybe along the way have a few toys to play with. The real enemy isn't the operator who asks you if you want credit guard, a new long distance plan or faster downloads its the already rich enough people who treat life as one giant cash grab.


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