I took the card, cleaned it and made another trial, but the problem persisted. I wanted to go to customer care immediately but a thought came over me to try another machine, which of course I did. “Usage App Error” was the new message I got from another machine I used. Since I have satisfied my conscience, I then decided to go the customer care.
I left the ATM stand and went directly into the bank. I thought I was in a market because everywhere was just jam-packed. Though, those that wanted to withdraw and those that wanted to deposit were on a long zigzag queue but the story was not the same with those at the customer care section, it was just like the movement of gaseous particles in a container colliding with one another and with the wall of the container that occurs in a chemical reaction, and since there was no order at the place, I had the opportunity of tendering my case to an attendant.
“Ma, I was trying to withdraw through the ATM machine but was not successful,” I complained.
“What was the message you got from the machine?” she asked.
“Usage App Error,” I replied.
“Your English is not correct,” she said.
“What an embarrassment! How do you mean?” I responded furiously.
“I didn’t mean to rude to you but only trying to explain to you that the machine could not give out such message. So, you will need to recheck so as to know the problem to work on,” she explained.
I rose above the taunt and remained unruffled. I went back to the ATM stand, inserted the card. The same message appeared on the screen and I snapped the information with my phone as evidence. I went back to her and showed her. She started looking at the message like a primary four student given WAEC question to solve.
After some minutes, she asked me to write a report, which I did with tick and gave it to her. She dragged the keyboard of the system on the table towards her and checked my account details. She looked at my face, and then faced one of her colleagues. “Shola, what could make machine write this while the account is not fixed?” she showed him my report. So, you didn’t have the knowledge? No wonder you claimed the English was not correct, I nearly said when Shola gave response to her question.
“It has damaged,” he said.
“What could have damaged this neat card?” I asked.
“Maybe you packed it with a phone,” he replied.
“I have never put the two together because I know the implication,” I responded.
The guy refused to say anything again and started punching the keyboard of the computer in front of him. Look at this stupid boy using me to press keyboard, I almost said when I heard my phone ringing. It was Mrs. Akin. I picked it up and explained the situation on ground to her and dropped the call. I couldn’t tolerate the guy’s ego, so I decided to go and face my first attendant.
“Ma, what is the next line of action to seek redress?” I asked.
“You will need to apply for another ATM and one thousand naira will be charged from your account,” she replied.
I stood at akimbo thinking of the next line of action to take when my phone started ringing again. I looked at the screen and it was her again, Mrs. Akin. I picked it up and I was about to say ‘hello’ when someone held my hand from the back.
I turned my head to know who was holding me and it was a security agent. “Didn’t you see the notice that receiving calls is prohibited in the bank!” he yelled at me. I was shocked and dropped the call unknowingly.
“I’m sorry sir,” I apologised. I went back to the first attendant.
“Ma, would I be able to get the ATM today if I apply?” I asked.
“ATM form is not available for now, you will need to come as early as possible tomorrow morning,” she replied.
“But the money is needed right now in the hospital to take care of an unhealthy patient,” I tried to explain to her.
“Perhaps, you withdraw through counter then, that is the only option you are left with,” she advised.
I looked at the situation on ground; the queue was still as long as river Nile.
I can’t come out of this queue if I join, I said to myself.
“Ma, what favour could you offer me if at all I want to withdraw through counter?” I asked her.
“Don’t worry! You will only be charged of two hundred and fifty naira from your account,” she said.
“I’m OK with it provided that I will get the money,” I responded.
“Go to that lady at the extreme end and request for withdrawal slip,” she pointed to a fair lady, very beautiful and portable in size. She should be an I.T student like me, I guessed.
“Well done,” I greeted her.
“How may I help you?” she asked.
“I need a withdrawal slip” I replied.
“Do you have your ID card with you?” she asked.
“Yes, is with me,” I replied.
She detached a slip and filled it. “Where is your ID card?” she asked.
I gave out my school ID card to her. She looked at my face and smiled. Why is she smiling at me? Are we from the same school or she has developed interest in me? I was lost in those thoughts when I heard from her.
“Sir, I don’t mean your school ID card, but National ID card or better still, your driving license,” she explained.
“But you said ID card and besides, what is wrong with my school ID card?” I asked.
“I’m sorry sir, we don’t recognize school ID cards. In the light of this, I will only give you this slip, but you can’t withdraw with it” she said and handed the slip to me.
“What should I use it for since I can’t use it to withdraw?” I asked in pity.
“It’s yours, since I have detached it and your names had been written on it,” she replied.
I felt disturbed and started thinking of the next action to take and that was when I remembered that my PVC (Permanent Voters Card) could be of use as a substitute to National ID card.
It was already 3:15pm. I left the bank for office in hurry so as to take my PVC and come back before the bank closed for the day. I branched at Mrs. Akin’s office and told her what I had gone through. She looked at me with pity and showed her sympathy.
“I’m very sorry for letting you experience such turmoil. Perhaps you delay it till tomorrow,” she said in a pitiable mood.
“No ma. Let me take my PVC at the office and give it the last trial for today,” I replied and left for office.
“Are you just coming from the bank?” Mrs.Ola questioned.
“Yes ma,” I replied.
“That’s serious!” she exclaimed.
I started checking where I put my PVC, but couldn’t find it. Another problem! It should be at home too, I thought.
“I will be back ma,” I said to my boss.
“Are you still going back to the bank?” she asked.
“Yes ma,” I replied and I left. She uttered a statement but I didn’t care to listen. I checked Mrs. Akin in her office and explained to her that I couldn’t see the PVC but I have prepared for the worst.
“How do you want to go about it?” she asked.
“I have decided to go and meet the manager,” I replied.
“Do you think they will allow you to see him?”,+ she asked with confusion.
“Don’t worry ma, I will,” I replied optimistically.
“Alright dear, thanks so much,” she said and I zoomed off back to the bank.
On getting to the bank, I changed my thought of meeting the manager, so, I went back to the first attendant.
“Ma, I presented my school ID card to her for the slip, but she insisted that I must present my National ID card,” I lamented.
She looked at me with pity and collected the slip from me.
“Where did you open your account?” she asked.
“Ede, Osun State,” I replied.
She signed it and gave it to me. “You are good to collect the money on the counter,” she said.
I was a little bit relieved. “Thanks for your support ma, but I thought you are helping me to withdraw the money,” I said.
“As a good Nigerian, you have to join the queue, and besides, you know I am on duty and customers could be here at any time. As such, I can’t leave my seat,” she continued, “am sorry incase I have disappointed you”, she concluded.
On hearing that, I became hopeless like an orphan who lost her parents due to war and still got lost in a desert. My heart vibrated and my eyes were filled with tears. Who would come to my rescue? I was lost in my thought when I heard from her…