Needed money to pay for my road tax and got it at the autobank which is approached from one side by a ramp with steps at the other. At the bottom of the steps one of our senior worthies was leaning on her walking stick and scowling up at the bank doors:
'Is that place no' open yit son' she asked me.
I tried the automatic doors but no, they wouldn't open. The notice said it opened at 9.45 on Wednesday's following staff training. It was 9.30. I explained to my friend (anyone who calls me son at my age qualifies as an immediately co-opted friend), that the staff were training.
Her reply, 'Whit training dae they need tae open b***** doors.'
Doesn't matter I said. Anyway I was only there because I'd left it too late to do it online. At which point the teller told me the more people who do it online, the less come to the Post Offices. That affects the Post Office commission revenue and will eventually lead to further cuts in services, staff and Post Offices.
Then went to my own bank, to find one of its employees standing at the door, locked out, because it was staff training and they were upstairs. It was 9.45 - bank would open at 10.00. Would I hang around for 15 minutes, or just leave it till another time. Blethered a wee while with Jackie (locked out staff member with name on jacket), decided not to wait.
So on my way back up Paisley High Street, a place where deep pondering on the philosophical options of the good life tends not to happen too often, I thought about all this.
Hmmmmmm. So staff training means the bank opens later, and customers have to wait. Now is the training to make them more efficient in dealing with the customers? Is it ok then to inconvenience customers, in order to train staff, to better provide a good service? And then the Post Office thing. If Post Offices are dependent on revenue from road tax, then clearly DVLA and/or Govt save that revenue if I do it online. Which means my convenience prejudices the convenience of all those who depend on a local Post Office and would be affected by cut services and closed Post Offices due to loss of revenue. It's the butterfly that flutters in China that starts off the chain of events felt across the globe.
So. I've decided. I'll pay my road tax off line, by walking down the High Street, standing in the queue, and handing over the documentation. This will not be convenient, it will probably be raining, I will think of serial rationalisations for saying, oh Hang, just go with the online flow and let your mouse do the walking. But somewhere deep in the secret places of who I want to be, I'll know that I've made a gesture of support for those whose lives can be made more inconvenient by every convenient click on the DVLA website, including mine. Luddite? Possibly. Quixotic? I hope so - there's not enough of it. Futile - naw, just think of the nutterfly in China. (I know the third last word in that sentence is spelt wrong -hit the wrong key- but it seems like a word with a chance of being useful!)
And as for staff training in banks, and consequent later opening for elderly customers wanting to lift this weeks pension, and having to stand in the rain, if there is a last word it should probably go to my pal met earlier, whose response required a series of asterisks to make her language suitable for a genteel blog like this.