MY MICROWAVE AND BILLS

GOD BLESS MY MICROWAVE

Have you noticed how all your bills become due the same week, in the space of 48hours? Like a conspiracy, you feel hounded by sms notifications and reminders. “Dear DSTV/GOTV subscriber, we miss you. Your subscription will expire in two days time”, “Dear subscriber, you BIS subscription is expiring 19th August 2015 at 11.22pm”, “Your data bundle is remaining 264MB. You shall be charged at a bundle rate when your data is exhausted.” Crap! Oh! Let’s not forget PHCN when your prepaid meter starts a new song of ping-ping-ping after blinking red for a few weeks without your attention. Oh sweet lord! As if this were not enough, your cooking gas gets exhausted on a TGIF night and you had just cleaned out your bank account to service your car and change the gear oil! Crap! Crap! And double crap! Welcome to the real world of bills where everything demands immediate fiscal response.

This was my world this past weekend and with a few units left on my prepaid electricity meter, I resorted to wait out the weekend. Funny thing, I had also filled my car tank after servicing it only to get home, strike a match and the burner said “aha! I have been waiting for you.” Summarily, I sat indoors, nursing 118ml of Peptol Bismol (not to get high tho) and trying to figure out what to do for food. Luckily, I had frozen things I had cooked at different intervals and thank God for electricity in these parts of the country. Na microwave go hear am naa.

In short, I discovered that my microwave which I had hitherto been underestimating, could cook, fix and feed me with virtually anything I ask it to fix. Friday night when I came in, I was looking for a quick fix so noodles was on the way before the burner decided to quit on me. No trouble. I thought about it for a while, then got the idea to finish cooking it in the microwave. Na PHCN units go suffer. Voila! My microwave fixed my noodles so well it looked like it had more volume than what comes out of the pot when I go the regular route.

Next day, I had a guest who wouldn’t leave. I thought about it again and made eba. Small stuff. Then came the tough part because I was tired of noodles and didn’t wanna repeat eba (not my style). So, contemplating asking the microwave to fix pancakes or yam, I settled for a middle ground – why not ask it to make poundo yam instead? Ha! You were wondering eh? Yup! It did. My microwave is such a darling, I now have new respect for it. Thank God it is Monday though, the day we make money.

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT NIGERIAN BANKS

We literarily wish we could avoid banking halls but unfortunately, we may have to deal with it weekly, bi-weekly or in fortunate cases, just once a month. Bliss!

A Nigerian bank is like a coordinated mental institution where you try to remain calm even when you feel frustrated with the teller or customer exec deliberately ignoring you. Starting from the annoying automated doors that practically requests you undress! Whose idea were those though?, to the long queues at the deposit point, to the annoying cashier that won’t raise her head from the desk to acknowledge you but will beam from ear to ear when a regular FX customer walks up to the desk and say,“Madam…” You roll your eyes and keep mute because you know if you do more than silently sigh, you may remain standing for another 30 mins. Oh the attitude! Sistah! It is 8.35am, you just sat at your table. You can’t suddenly be so busy that you ignore me for a full 3 mins!
The only nice employees are the security persons, mute but well versed in signals and mime. I wonder if their “goodness” is not merely a search of an elusive tip!

Hoping I am not alone in my observations, if you can relate to this list, drop your observations and experiences in the comment box below. Thank you.

1. Automated Doors – can they truly boast of these annoying doors ever stopping a bank clean-out (robbery)? All these doors do, is irritate and prevent customers from easily accessing the banking hall. Most customers try to bring their belongings inside with them because of that little notice outside on the holding boxes that say, “items left at owners risk”. However, it becomes annoying when the automated doors conspire to undress you one item at a time but still refuses to ‘open sesame’ for you. Guys and heavy belt buckles tho…Ladies and their junk trunk handbags too
2. Customer ‘Scarce’ Executive Service – customer executive seems to be annoyed you came to the CC desk. If the exec is a lady, she will ignore the female customer until the customer hisses or sighs, then the exec will raise her head and stare stonily. Sistah! It is early Monday morning. No be me find you work for bank o. Abeg, answer me make I waka go office sign in jare. Yes, notwithstanding how early you get to the bank, customer service is scarce, sluggish service, lacking the scope of their duties as if you posted on social media that you wish to spend the whole day with them.
3. Deposit Queues – It appears these queues are designed to raise your stress level for the rest of the day. Worst part, there are no benches, no soft seats, no nothing to rest your aching behind while you await the queue from hell to move along. Next you know is, after waiting for 30-45 mins on the queue, it’s your turn and the cashier says “sorry, lunch break” or they start to balance all transactions made from 8.35am up to that moment (well, so it appears).
4. Irregular Signature – Madre Dios! “Madam, when did you open this account? This signature is different. Please see customer care, fill out a form to change it, then return here to make your transfer?” Ehn? You say? Your money or mine? Shebi na my account and I wan dash person money from inside. Stop ruff play o. Oga see, if I do not transfer this money to my younger brother today ehn….hmmmn. “Ok. You can go online and use internet banking to transfer. Shey you have a token?” “yes” “You have registered for internet banking?” huh? “If I hadn’t registered, what do I have the token for? To price rice in Bodija market?” (in my mind).
5. Foreign Cheques – True story. So I deposited a cheque into my domiciliary account which required two current/dorm account holders to fill a form, sign and guarantee that I was genuine, of good, sound character and unlikely to defraud the bank. They also agreed to be liable in the event that their judgement of me was wrong. Ok. So the bank called me to explain why someone outside the shores of Nigeria wanted to pay me a paltry sum of 50,000, I explained it was a refund, then they stopped action on the cheque, didn’t inform me, so cheque went stale, I complained, they asked me to call the issuer, request another cheque, get it mailed down and re-deposit the cheque with the bank again. So I asked, “on whose bill? Customer, yea. If you didn’t find current account holders’ credible and traceable, why request they guarantee a customer and why call me to confirm a cheque if you will still stop payment on the cheque? Just call the issuer to confirm?” Idiotas!
6. BVN – Bank Verification Number? please can someone explain how this actually works? What are we verifying? Pardon my ignorance. I have had mine since 2014 but I am yet to understand the import. All the stress, queues and overcrowded banks – May 1, 2015 – that people went through just for 11 digits. Nobody told me if I should keep it secure and secret like my debit car d pin or if I can share it and receive money through it. What? What? What?
7. MoneyGram/WesternUnion – are there more? Yes, I feel it is intrusive and irritating to ask me to not only explain my relationship with sender, but to also state the purpose of the money thus received. Abeg, e concern you? The sender don come sue you say why you gimme money wey I divert to other purposes? If I am trying to deposit the money in my account, why e dey bother you? For this hard economy, you don see thief dey do mistake drop money for onoda person account?Ogbeni, mind yasef.
8. SMS Charges – Please, stop it. Its not increasing my account balance. Did I ask you to send me happi buyday greeting? Then you add it to my bill for “SMS charges”? Maybe you should credit my account on my birthday before sending me an SMS alert. This would be most welcome after all, I am a very loyal customer.
9. Joint/Spousal Accounts – Ok ladies, this is tricky. Why change your name to your husbands’ if the bank will still prevent you from using certain services – POS withdrawal inside the banking hall using your husband’s ATM card, bills and fees payments because the draft or invoice generated is different from the one on the ID you presented, clearing funds from foreign transfer (MoneyGram / WesternUnion). You thought you were one step away from inheriting all his money and property? Ha-ha! “madam, sorry. I can’t pay you because this is not your card” “But it belongs to my husband and he asked me to withdraw with it” “I am sorry ma, bank policy”. Maintain your identity. Keep your own name, bypass stress.
10. Network – Excuse me, I want to make a transfer and you say the network is bad but I can try Quickteller on the ATM machine because there is nothing else you can do. This is no joke. Sistah, if your network is constantly unreliable, why not do something about it? Everyday, network problem!