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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Security

Text: ‘Unsure if you qualify for a refund of PPI paid on a loan or credit card? Reply PPI and we will run a no obligation check or reply STOP to opt out. TPPCO.’
STOP, STOP, STOP! Who are these people? I get so many of these queries. Very spooky. I’ve heard so many stories of people being ripped off. Push the wrong button on your phone and they’ve got your bank details, they’ll have the shirt off your back in a trice. In 2014 there seems to be these sort of con men everywhere. 
Now I get gobbledegook texts from apparently Barclays Bank: ‘We want to verify recent activity on your debit card. We will text further details in a SMS, We require your response.’ 
Days pass. No SMS (?) is delivered.
Then another text ‘Your credit card is cancelled.’

Followed, minutes later, from wonderful Barclays. ‘Your debit card is now active and ready to use.’
Great. I rush rush round to the cash machine. Put in my number, the amount of money I want and wait. Nothing. Then the card pops out. I go into the bank (Barclays) and tell them what happened.

‘I’ll phone Security. What’s your password? Are you paying rent? What is your post code?’ I stared at this 35 year old man, a couple days growth adorning his face and a signet ring that resembled a knuckle-duster. Instinctively, I didn’t like him. He represented all those twits that keep sending me texts about my card.
‘I’ve been with Barclays for over fifty years and you still keep asking questions.’ He shook his head and went back to the phone. He was speaking quietly. I waited and waited, wanting to have a wee or a fag, anything to get out of this place. He pushed the phone under the grill. ‘They want to speak to you.’
‘Hello?’
The voice was incomprehensible, like a demented wasp in my ear.
‘Can you slow down, please.’
No, he put his foot on the gas, now there half a dozen wasps on the rampage. I handed the phone back to the unshaven man. The miming continued. He put the phone down. ‘Right, you have to go to another branch with an ID and they can print you a new one.’
‘Can’t you just send it through the post?’
He looked at me as I was mad. ‘No, of course not. We have to think of Security.’
That bloody word again.
Outside, I light up, ‘ping’, a text.
‘Thanks for contacting Barclays. We’ve cancelled you Debit Card you need to come to a branch with an ID.......’
Alright, twit face just told me. 
Then a letter from Barclays. ‘Urgent-Please open immediately.’
I open it quickly as instructed and there it is..the cause of this chaos that released Barclay’s dogs of war to send texts galore. It’s a simple transaction, I gave Tom, my son, my card number to pay Internet charges that had been sent to him in error.

My conclusion is simple: why, why send all these texts when a simple letter, as I’ve just received, explaining what the problem is, it would have sorted the matter out in seconds.

No, texting is the main way of connecting, hundreds of staff at Barclays are poised to text in the name of Security and probably just a couple of people with pens who can write letters.

Yes, the world has gone crazy. For instance, I read about this in a newspaper (a reliable  one by all accounts), a man pressed a button and ordered a penis enlarger. When the package arrived he opened it eagerly. It was a magnifying glass. 

I quote: ‘Security functions as a kind of soothing, brain-deadening Unspeak to bamboozle us into supposing that whatever is done under the rubric must be for the best.’

FOR THE BEST!? Rubbish.

I rest my case.


  

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