a 98-year-old woman wrote this to her bank. the bank
manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in
the times.

dear sir,

i am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which
i endeavoured to  pay my plumber last month. by my
calculations, three 'nanoseconds' must have elapsed between
his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of
the funds needed to honour it. i refer, of course, to the
automatic monthly  deposit of my pension, an arrangement,
which, i admit, has been in place for only eight years. you
are to be commended for seizing that brief window of
opportunity, and also for debiting my account to the tune of
£30 by way of a  penalty for the inconvenience caused to
your bank. my thankfulness springs from the manner in which
this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial

i noticed that whereas i personally attend to your telephone
calls and  letters, when i try to contact you, i am
confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded,
faceless entity, which your bank has become. from now on, i,
like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
my mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter
no longer  be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by
cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an
employee at your bank whom you must nominate. be aware  that
it is an offence under the postal act for any other person
to open such an envelope. please find attached an
application contact status, which i require your chosen
employee to complete. i am sorry it runs to eight pages,
but in order that i know as much about him or her as your
bank knows about me, there is no alternative. please note
that a solicitor must countersign all copies of his or her
medical history, and the mandatory details of his/  her
financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities)
must be accompanied by documented proof.   in due course, i
will issue your employee with a pin number, which he/she
must quote in dealings with me. i regret that it cannot be
shorter than 28 digits but, again, i have modelled it on the
number of button presses required of me to access my account
balance on  your phone bank service. as they say, imitation
is the sincerest form of flattery.

let me level the playing field even further. when you call
me, press buttons as follows:

1-- to make an appointment to see me.
2-- to query a missing payment.
3-- to transfer the call to my living room in case i am
there. 4-- to transfer the call to my bedroom in case i am
sleeping. 5-- to transfer the call to my toilet in case i am
attending to nature.  6-- to transfer the call to my mobile
phone if i am not at home. 7-- to leave a message on my
computer (a password to access my computer is required. a
password will be communicated to you at a later date to the
authorized contact.) 8-- to return to the main menu and to
listen to options 1 through 8 9-- to make a general
complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put on hold,
pending the attention of my automated answering service.
while this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait,
uplifting music will play for the  duration of the call.

regrettably, but again following your example, i must also
levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this
new arrangement.

may i wish you a happy, if ever so  slightly less prosperous,
new year.

your humble client
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