Procrastination and Barclays – a rant from August 2016

Got my weekly email from Natasha and there’s a link to some guy who is making money from people wanting to cure themselves of procrastination.

Well, one reason I procrastinate, which he doesn’t seem to have discussed (in the bit you can get without paying for it) is this:

Every time I try to tackle a job I have been putting off, it just makes more work. This is proving to be so universally true that it further puts me off doing anything at all.

Prime example just now. For almost a year I have been trying to close bank accounts held jointly with my ex. He’d already taken out all the money anyway, (and then some) but in the name of transparency, and ease of his paying me what he owed (not that he ever did) I kept them open. According to the terms of our divorce, one of the things he insisted on is that I would close them. Fine.

So I went online. You know: internet banking, like they are always encouraging us to do. Found the bits of plastic, the codes, and so on. Couldn’t see anywhere how to close the accounts. I admit I did wonder about how one person could unilaterally close a joint account, but I tried anyway, because I’d said I would. So I telephoned Barclays. Hung online, gave a million pieces of information, numbers, memorable words etc. Now nothing was ever simple with my ex, and there were over a dozen accounts, each with a long number. I went through them all on the phone. The man told me he would close them. But – inexplicably – he also told me it would take far too long, and so I should not hang on the line. I kept asking him ‘What do you mean? How long can it take?’ He got quite shirty and said ‘Well you can wait if you like, but I would advise you that it will take half an hour or more’ and in the end I thought ‘Oh, fuck it then’ and left him get to on with it.

Obviously he did nothing of the sort, but I didn’t know that until I got a rare and unwelcome communication from my ex complaining that the accounts had not been shut. I explained to him I had tried online, then been promised it would be done over the phone. He subsequently wrote an email to our* personal banker with a list of accounts to be closed, and copied me on it without any suggestion that anything further was required of me. I assumed that my email to him saying I tried to close the accounts and listing them would be taken as my agreeing to the closure. That was about six months ago. Shortly afterwards I got a text from the man who bought my house. He said he had two letters addressed to me from Barclays.

  • I have given them my new address.
  • I have paid for a forwarding service from the Royal Mail.

I gave him my new address and he promised to forward them. They never arrived.

So today I thought I would finally knock this stupid irritating little thing off my to-do list. Found I couldn’t get online. Went into a branch of Barclays. Was told that I need to come in with my ex. Well, that is never going to happen.

It should also be said, while I am on the subject, that I was doing telephone banking a few years ago, shortly after my ex left. The man I was speaking to, as I went through all our accounts asking for balances etc, mentioned that one of the accounts was overdrawn but had until recently had £1m in it. I was surprised, obviously: one million pounds!!! For one thing my ex was insisting that he had no money to give me to pay for food or shoes for the children, or for the mortgage on our home (also with Barclays) or anything at all, and sure enough he gave us nothing. But the other reason I was surprised was: I did not have access to that account. The man on the phone had no business telling me anything about it. It was an account which had been a bone of contention between us for years, because I had my meagre freelance earnings paid into it, but could not access funds, no matter how many times I asked.

So, another half day gone, and I have only succeeded in giving myself another job. More letters to write, more communication with BH. Why is everything so crap?  And why, instead of dealing with the effing letter, have I sat here having an ineffectual rant about it instead?

And now it’s 2020, I no longer bank with Barclays but I have begun receiving emails from them to tell me that my statements are available to view online. I can’t GET online, and the accounts are supposed to be closed. Going through my papers to see if there is any information that might help me to tidy this up, I find some copies of old statements where, to my surprise, my address is given as the place in town my ex fucked off to after he finally moved out of the Corinthia hotel. He had decided he wanted all paperwork concerning joint accounts to go to his new pad, and, as every, without telling me, just fixed it up the way he liked it. Evil bastard.

* The man who allowed my ex to bleed me dry, and never once thought to communicate with me over his erratic behaviour, though I was joint signatory to almost everything and he was supposed to represent me, too. Then, when I requested a meeting, he promised me all sorts of help, explained that he had had a hard childhood, sent away to school etc etc and did precisely nothing. I never heard from him again, and the threatening letters regarding our unpaid mortgage just got more aggressive, though I had done everything our personal banker had suggested in writing to them and explaining our situation, which he had said he would help with but didn’t. Interested to see that he and the ex are still chummy.

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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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