Getting paid with money means we have to endure dealing with banks. What are some innovative alternatives to stone-cold cash?
One of the problems with most remuneration is that it comes in the form of money and that means you have to deal with banks.
I was late home thanks to the traffic. Why do they call it rush hour when you can’t? I needed to ring my bank. I said, “I’m going to ring the bank. Be supportive.” Her lips said “no” but her eyes said, “Read my lips.” So I went ahead alone. I managed to get my son off the internet so I could connect the phone. “We didn’t have the internet in my day, or any of your fancy Playstation 3s.”
Back came his retort, “What did you have Dad? Playstation ZERO?” I’d ban him from using the internet but we need the money from his illicit trade in black market knitting patterns.
The TV news in the background told me that a man in Birkenhead was struck by lightning. I ignored the omen and dialled the bank’s 0800 number. 0800 is better than 0900. The TV news runs those 0900 viewer polls. The poll last night had a ‘yes’ vote of seventy eight percent and a ‘no’ vote of twenty percent. Two percent were ‘don’t know.’ These calls are $1.99 a minute! Who rings up and pays $1.99 a minute to vote ‘don’t know’? I am not that proud of my ignorance.
I had to wait a while. Not so much ‘on-line’ banking, as ‘in-line’ banking. I thought back to a customer service conference I attended recently. The keynote speaker must have been good because, well, he was American and had a book published. He wore a black suit with a black tee-shirt and a hairstyle that looked as if it was descended from one of the guys from Crosby, Stills and Nash (but not Young.) He said that banks had their software, not to improve customer service for all customers, but to identify the top value customers and suck up to them. The middling customers would get what they paid for. The bottom non-profitable twenty percent would be actively driven away to their competitors, or better still to a Government-subsidised banking alternative, if only such a thing existed. You can tell your place in this modern food chain by how you are treated by the queuing software. If you want them to answer the phone quicker, don’t complain, give them more of your business. (Remember, whenever you withdraw money from an ATM, say thank you. Those things have cameras…)
Anyways – I spoke to a call centre rep. She empathised proactively. I felt the love. However, she was unable to assist me. I would need to speak with my personal banker. Ooh. I had a personal banker. All I needed was a personal trainer, a personal shopper and a personal lubricant and I could complete the set. She couldn’t put me through to my personal banker. I would have to ring my branch. I rang my branch. The first person would have loved to have helped me but he reiterated that I would have to speak to my personal banker. Ah-ha. I was ahead of him there. I knew that but I did not know who my personal banker was. He told me not to worry. He would look it up, but right now their system was ‘down.’ I knew how it felt. He looked up my personal banker. It turned out to be him. He felt bad and sent me flowers as an apology. I’m allergic. So are my kids.
Maybe there’ll be a Playstation 4 game called ‘Personal Banker’? I hope it’s one of those really violent ones. It will be when I’m finished with it.
Apparently only four percent of the New Zealand money supply is actually paper or metal cash and coins. The rest is electronic pixie dust that only has any value at all because we collectively believe in it. Have a read of the Peter Pan story. Tinkerbell’s existence was threatened because people started to believe less in fairies. So what, if not money, could we collectively choose to believe in? What might remuneration become?
Roman legionnaires used to be paid in salt. The word salary comes from the Latin for salt (but you already knew that.) Pay me in salt, fat and sugar and that’s pretty much two-thirds of what I spend my money on anyway. A lot of people buy things using loyalty scheme points. If you’re looking for a card that accumulates points quickly, I can recommend my driver’s licence.