Begging letter April 14, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
When I write to my bank, there is normally very little for them in what I suggest and, potentially, a whole lot for me. Or, rather, potentially nothing for me, but that’s at least better than the something for them which I am writing to ask them not to take. Occasionally I might post them a cheque, which perhaps they get minorly thrilled about. But, usually, it’s just a letter saying, “Thank you for your letter. Please don’t charge me whatever it is you’ve written to tell me you’re going to charge me for.”
Do you know, the queer thing is, it normally works. I don’t much use the bank account I still have in the UK. I don’t often work for folk based there any more but when I do, and when they decide to pay, the money goes to that bank account. As I am perma-skint, I tend to use every penny I am ever paid. The balance on my UK account must average about 37p. If money goes in there, I carefully research the exchange rate and take the roundest euro amount allowed, factoring in the couple-of-quid charge, and hope that this won’t accidentally put me 14p overdrawn as then the bank will start sending pissy letters.
So I went 14p overdrawn again. Perhaps this pisses the bank off. Perhaps they see me as the quite naughty boy in class who just can’t resist being naughty. “I didn’t mean it,” I might write, in my defence. On the other hand, I don’t actually owe the establishment any money. I’ve had the account with them for 400 years. I explain, honestly, that I am expecting more money and the account will be back in credit (for about 18 nanoseconds) soon.
Promptness is key when writing begging letters to your bank. And I’ve foiled my own tactics on more than one occasion by choosing not to open letters that come with the bank’s familiar type-face. Spring just about appearing has made me change jackets and I’ve just discovered a number of letters threatening trouble which have gone nicely unopened for a good few months. Must have been empty threats. I’m still here and can remember nothing especially dramatic happening on the financial front for ages. No-one’s been kidnapped and held to ransom. I haven’t had a single letter written in bits cut out of newspapers.
In any case, I must have been in a brave mood when the last letter came. I opened it immediately and saw I was going to be charged some amount of money – they explained the arithmetic, but I’d fallen asleep by the time I got to the end of the spiel – because their charges had put me overdrawn. The letter I fire back is stored in my computer. I change the dates, change the amount they’re planning to charge me, and send it off saying, in a way that no doubt makes their hearts bleed, “…awfully sorry. But be a good bunch and don’t charge me what would be a ton of money for me. I didn’t mean it. Honest.” They first reply with a standard, “Sorry that you have felt the need to complain,” when I haven’t complained. I have grovelled, “and someone from the complaints department will contact you forthwith.” And then the letter comes saying, “…as a good will gesture, we have decided, on this occasion not to…” I high-five myself and think of how next to be feckless.
The computer happened to be off last time I needed to write and grovel. Quickly biffed off a hand-written grovel instead. And my formula went right out the window. Couldn’t remember the heart-rending turn of phrase I normally used. And decided humour and topicality were called for. “I know I have a credit rating that would have Robert Mugabe laughing in pity,” I began, “but, be good chaps. Have I ever lied to you in all the time we’ve been together? Have I? There’s money on its way. And it’s only 14p. For fuck’s sake. Honestly.”
The fine was debited form my account just as they promised it would be. Humourless old so-and-sos.