The greedy inefficiency of lawyers, bankers and bureaucrats that this site (and millions of others) try to illustrate on a macro scale has been converted into an excruciatingly tortuous micro-experience for Yours Truly over the last two days. The basic story here is that I’m moving house, trying with my brother to put my recently late father’s probate in order, and ordering medication/currency funds prior to an extended stay in France.
We need a new word in the language for my ongoing person-to-corporatist Britain interface on this one. Kafkaesque, infuriating, greedy, inefficient, exploitative, or rapacious don’t get anywhere near to the encapsulation of this farrago of foul complication. Maybe something onomatopoaeic might fit the bill – and boy, what a bill. A noun perhaps – for example, twangphurrt. Arrgoof. Owbastards. Wothefuckareyounuts. It’s work in progress.
Or there again, you might get a better sense of it from verbs - like in the TV campaign of a few years ago, “You know when you’ve been Tango’d”. I know that I’ve been shagbummed, ballsbricked, pissucked, footslogged, jargonackered and brainstoned.
Example 1: The lawyer. To sorting out the simple task of making ten phone calls, reconciling an Estate with no tax due, then submitting same to the DWP and HMR&C axis of highly-pensioned urban guerrillas: £15,000, Ithangyooo. And if there are any complications, well….we’re talking eighteen months squire, but five years tops.
Example 2: The banker. Sorry mate, once he’s dead, we freeze all deposits until someone
forces tells us to release them. Never mind all that guff about Little Nell’s brain aneurism requiring urgent surgery: don’t ask me to go against a law giving me medium term rates on £180,000 worth of free money, more than my bonus is worth chummy. Haha.
Example 3: The banker (ii). Ah – right, I see, you want to pay a bill with your own money to a Forex outfit in order to be able to buy stuff while you’re away? (SFX tooth-sucking – Sffffffs ) bit tricky that one. See, if this was a direct transfer to a foreign bank, well – nothing to pay, simple SWIFT, off we go. But as it’s another UK Forex with its account at another UK bank…aah, now you’re talking. Or rather, you aren’t because you need CHAPS, and that costs £25. Mind you, I can set this up now as a regular transaction and then you can do it online, but not on the telephone. Only takes ten days.
Example 4: The doctor-bureaucrat. Your bp’s rather high. Yes, I know we’ve kept you waiting fifty minutes and we cancelled your appointment without offering you another one two weeks ago….but even so, it’s a high reading. Have you ever considered anger management, medication, meditation, stopping alcohol, boot camp, blah blah bah lecture lecture lecture oh alright then just this once but do try to cut out food and sex from now on.
Example 5: The pharmacist-bureaucrat. “Collecting it now are you? That’s fine, won’t be a minute”. Twenty-five minutes later: “Sorry, we’ve only got half the things you need…can you come back tomorrow after 11.30? Fine – but we’ve got the private prescription you needed…that’ll be £79.33 pence please”. The following day: “Sorry, it won’t arrive until tomorrow now. That’s absolutely guaranteed – but you can ring us to check if you like….just to be on the safe side.”
Example 6: All of the above. When a person expires, nobody from the Death Registration, Bank Account-freezing, or Probate-administering spectrum of bullsh*t tells you that the only thing that matters is to tell the DWP and the private pension providers that your Dad has expired, otherwise you could be waiting around 30 years from now for lukewarm signs of action.
It’s all down to a traditionally British professional amateurism – overlaid since around 1982 with a greasy film of American amorality: as I said way back at the start of this piece, greedy inefficiency. No free and open, decisive, demand-driven market affects these jerks in any way whatsoever. They cling onto your money, charge you silly money, and cost you money with gay abandon. None of it matters to them, because it’s not their money. All they want is that enough of your money carries on morphing into their money.
The true measure of an economic system is how its professional services behave. Our problem in 2013 is that not only does that sector behave like a sociopathic brat, far too often it is the tail wagging the dog of cultural creativity and ethics. It is the driver of idiotic beliefs about elite rights, minority rights, and two wrongs making a right.