27.12.05

Playing the customer

When I got to the bank at 2 pm and expressed an interest in opening an account, the receptionist pursed her lips mildly and said, "Uh --- there's a long queue now, you'll have to wait about, uh, one hour." But she quickly rescued me from this dismal prospect by saying, "Can I have your name and telephone number, and we'll call you when it's almost your turn?"

The downside was that after I hadn't received any such call about 40 minutes later, I decided I'd better check back at the bank --- whereupon I found that there was only one person ahead of me in the queue. And just after I'd seated myself in the waiting area proper, they called my name. So perhaps their whole "we'll call you when it's almost your turn" system isn't quite up and running yet.

The upside was that within 15 minutes, I had my bank account, my very first chequebook from a Singapore bank, and they'd also linked my accounts to a single ATM card.

The single security hitch was when I couldn't reproduce my old signature (a fairly legible version of my name, you can pretty much read each word) in order to access funds from an existing account. My current, evolved signature is much more scrawly, more slanted lines than recognisable letters. I had to eyeball a copy of the old one, then re-sign the form carefully. But at least I know that the bank checks signatures and doesn't just let forms slip by without appropriate scrutiny.

(This is what really stresses me out each time I go overseas and have to fill out a customs form, by the way --- a deep-seated fear that I will not be able to replicate the signature in my passport, which predates the one on the bank account, then I'll be screwed. And at customs, no less.)

So, despite the no-phone-call-when-it-was-my-turn, DBS Parkway Parade scores an overall B+ for service.

The Body Shop in Parkway Parade, on the other hand --- tsk, tsk. When I waved a tube of the facial cleanser I use at the sales assistant and asked if they had it in stock, she looked uncertain. As I averred that I hadn't seen it on the shelves except for the tester tube in my hand, she said that it was probably out of stock.

This was the second Body Shop to tell me that, and the last time this happened to me, it turned out that the Singapore shops had stopped importing the item I was using. So it was in a stricken tone that I asked the sales assistant, "Are you still bringing it in?" She assured me so, but couldn't tell me when stock would arrive (even though all the other items in that range were in stock). "But I'm almost out of it," I fretted. She suggested I look at the rest of their facial cleanser range. "No, no, the rest smell funny," I said, rather tactlessly, I suppose, but they do.

A few doors down, at The Natural Source, they had an inoffensive-smelling facial cleanser. The sales assistant claimed it wasn't on sale, but when she rang it up, there was a 20% discount. And she approached me in the store, not the other way around as in The Body Shop, even though both shops were equally busy with customers (that is to say, there was one other customer than myself present).

I'm just sayin', is all.

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