Why does someone always fart in the bank queue?  

Rachel Berger -Australian comedian on humour in a bank queue

I try breathing deeply in for four beats, out for eight but someone just farted and it’s making me giddy. I imagine my body floating through fields of lavender connecting with nature and the elements. Nothing is helping I feel my feet turning into hoofs, it’s a sure sign that the wild shaggy she-goat who sleeps only lightly beneath my fur is scampering headlong into crazy critter mode. What, you ask, was the turning point from a serene, reasonably connected, able-to-make-sentences human being to a borderline psychotic half-woman, half-insinkerator? I’m at THE BANK!

 Save 75% on transaction fees, forget it, I’d rather save my bladder control! Wedged between the nail-biting man-ling awash with cologne and a toddler in a pusher who’s squealing like a piglet, I let out a hideous graveyard groan. No-one cares, it’s as if there’s mind-numbing gas being pumped through the vents so we’re oblivious to the nasty décor and smell. Only the queasy faced mother of the toddler rolls her eyes at me like I’m the one disturbing the peace.

  I’m only one person away from leaving this cash-management hell but a customer, or whatever the bank’s advertising agency has re-named us today (losers?), has made more than their allocated share of staff assisted withdrawals and there’s a delay. I turn a deaf ear to the voice of doom behind the glass partition and mouth obscenities at the back of cologne-boy’s head. The deliveryman in overalls behind the mother and toddler is having a dialogue with his cheque book. He’s furious with waiting and starts obsessively rolling up his sleeves. I can’t get my eyes off his enormous Adam’s Apple; it’s as if all his frustration has fused into a single hard lump in his throat. He notices me staring and stares back as if to say, “take your eyes off me you popeyed nutbag.”

 Why do bank boffins bother wasting millions of dollars on fluffy advertising lying to us about how much they care? He-llo, we know you’re masquerading as sensitive types, it’s not working and your strategies are painfully transparent. Why doesn’t some-one open The Gladwrap Bank? Where account fees are maximised and every opportunity to charge for extra time, transactions, oxygen and bowel movements is exploited.

We pay fees so that the bank can keep records, review balances and act like grown-ups, allegedly. Recently thanks to the Banking Royal commission we learned that a letter extending an existing credit limit was posted to some-one who’d been dead four years! Come closer bank youth of Australia, I'll share (spelt S-H-A-R-E) classified information with you, no PIN necessary. The dead don’t need their credit extended, nor are they required to meet eligibility criteria! They’re in a non-negotiable world you can’t take anything from them anymore they’re dead!

 In the meantime, our fees and charges bloat like dead bodies floating down the river because of these regular random acts of bungling. Just before Christmas, purely for his or her own entertainment, an anonymous bank mercenary cancelled my MasterCard. This of itself, could be understood as an act of grace given the havoc this small plastic disc can cause. But no-one alerted me to it’s cancellation because it was a bungle that should never have happened. 

 I spent days phoning 1-300 numbers only to come to the same hair-pulling, tongue-clenching, tear-jerking end. They know nothing. The Telephone Banking people only know about Telephone Banking, Card Services conserve their energy for that area alone and Property and Personal Loans consultants live by the adage that doing something never achieves anything.



Rachel Berger