Wednesday, 18 February 2015

DFCU Banking Hall Etiquette

Many a time you have been in a situation where you need to make a quick dash to and from the bank in the middle of a hectic work day. This trip to the bank should be relatively seamless aside from the fact that you live in Uganda a third world country where the number of cars exceeds the available facilities for parking or driving within Kampala’s city center and outskirts. However this is a discussion for a whole other post, allow me to focus on my recent trip to the banking hall.

As I walked into DFCU Bank Acacia Avenue, I rushed to the general area where I could quickly fill out my check details and head for one of the 5 tills in the service area. When I got there I found a queue of about 6 people and even though I was in a hurry I decided to wait patiently in my spot. I sat down in one of the chairs as 3 other people quickly filled the remaining seats that were behind mine.

5 minutes later

It was 5:35pm and the lady seated just before me began to grumble under her breath how it was possible that only 3 out of the 5 service counters could not be serving anyone. I shared her displeasure but as I looked at my watch it occurred to me that the rest of the tellers must be balancing their books on the days’ transactions in the back office as they constantly interrupted the front office counterparts with pleas for them to break the bigger notes into smaller denominations. However, my neighbor was having none of it.

Neighbor on right: ‘Where are these people? They think we want to stay here all day?’ she said as she shot up and paced back and forth to each till just to make sure that none of them was open even though we could clearly see that they were not.
She eventually sat down for less than 1 minute before attempting to jump queue and rush past the people ahead of us in line - It did not work.

Silence (5 minutes later)

Neighbor on right: ‘Eh owaye, I am not going to sleep here!’ she said as she shot out of her seat and headed back to the customer care desk.

While she was away a mature Moslem male in prayer garb arrived and took the last seat available in queue as 1 individual at the service area had successfully completed their transaction.  My neighbor returned to the queue but not in her designated spot she stood behind the last individual (the Moslem man) and began to speak loudly to someone in the distance and the general direction from whence she came.

Neighbor on right: ‘Njagale okugenda nyabo, jangu onyambe!’ she said to the customer care lady from a distance.

Please note that this former neighbor of mine was not elderly and was in no way in any dire health condition so I did not see why she was causing such a fracas. The customer care lady stepped away from her desk and walked to the lady took check leaf out of her hand and handed it to the gentleman at the till closest to where they stood in full view of us all. Then interestingly, the mature aged Moslem man in prayer garb also waved his hand toward her.

Moslem man: ‘Muwala, kwata check,’ he said pretty softly as he answered a telephone call and stepped aside for privacy.

Please note that out of the 9 of us in queue 7 had checks for withdrawals just like the 2 of them but we all sat quietly since the gentleman who received the checks still had a customer in his seat. However, my former neighbor did not take her seat and continued to stand right behind the customer being attended to as she fraternized with the customer care lady who still stood next to her. At this point it was pretty evident that she was well acquainted with or even friends with the customer care agent.

A short while later, the customer left and my former neighbor slid into the seat as the customer care agent went back to her service area. As the minutes progressed many of the individuals in line passively expressed their displeasure on what was going on but before anything could be done, the Moslem man returned from taking another call just in time to get into her seat.

Neighbor on the left: ‘Kyoka this girl, hhmm’

Me: ‘hihihihi’ I chuckled under my breath

Neighbor on the left: But what is going on with these people?’

Me: ‘I think we are invisible.’

Neighbor on the left: ‘What they are doing is very improper.’

Me: ‘Yes, but not many Ugandans were taught manners,’

Neighbor on the left: ‘Especially the younger generation.’

Me: ‘Let us hope that no one else follows suit.’

Neighbor on the left: ‘Yes.’

Now my neighbor to the left (which means she followed me in the queue) was not out to witch hunt any young people but she was clearly advanced in age and thus all of us present within her vicinity qualified as young people, the Moslem man inclusive. She is also quite the notable figure and I definitely knew who she was but I was greatly moved at how down to earth and posed she is. Most people in her shoes would not have queued up but she is a different breed of celebrity.

I was honored to have been seated next to Mama Mbire may you all teach your daughters and sons etiquette and manners, no amount of money is worth leaving them to the devices of the world to condition them.