After an argument about whose turn it was to take my mother to the bank and having resorted to sending her there with a note from me to the teller, I decided to get signing powers on my mother's account. We waited more than an hour to see a consultant (thankfully they had seats for us to wait on) and then, after another hour, the deed was done.
Last week while at work, I got an SMS from my mother. Since she doesn't know how to send SMS's, I knew something was up. I phoned her back but disconnected after fifteen rings. I got an earful when I got home. There was a problem with her cheque card. The Autobank would not give her any money and when she tried to pay for her groceries at P&P the card was declined. Since this would not have happened, if I'd not asked her to do the groceries that day, I was of course to blame. She then tried to use her credit card but there was a problem with that too.
'The people were very nice,' she said to me, they took me to a room, asked if I wanted a cup of tea and phoned the bank. Eventually, she was able to pay with her credit card. I took all her cards to the Autobank and tried them out. The cheque card had expired a week before and none of her pin numbers worked on her credit card. I then sent an email to Prestige Banking. Degrees and having been an Associate Professor sometimes gets you goodies like this - being a Prestige Banking client. I indicated that I was writing on behalf of my mother and wanted to know if a new cheque card needed to be ordered or if it was waiting for collection at the branch. Two days later I got a response, saying they'd be VERY happy to help me but I must please send them the card number. Having done that and another two days later, I got an email saying the new cheque card had been waiting for collection at the branch since February. I don't know if my mother received a letter to that effect (she seldom reads correspondence from the bank) but she certainly did not get an SMS or an email about that.
On Saturday morning I went to the branch armed with her expired cheque card, pin-unknown credit card, her id and my id. The queue was only four people deep and when I got to be served I indicated I was fetching a card on my mother's behalf.
'She needs to write a letter to that effect,' the teller told me. I then explained about the signing powers but she was adamant that that did not apply to fetching cards on her behalf. I also explained, not in friendly terms, that my mother had not been able to buy anything or draw money for a week because her other card needed a new pin. 'She will have to come in to the branch to change the pin.'
By now I was gatvol and wondered aloud 'what is the purpose of signing powers?' The whole point of me getting it was so she did not have to stand in the queue and ask for something she doesn't understand and refuses to educate herself about. One usually waits at least a half an hour in the queue, there are no chairs for the elderly or a special teller for them where they can sit and wait rather than stand and wait. I left the bank in a huff and resigned myself to sending her to the bank on Monday with a note from me saying what needs to be done and with my cell number at the bottom. She is there now and I wonder when my cell will ring.