Yesterday I cashed a cheque. It was for a very small amount, less than seven pounds. The day before I happened to write a cheque. This time it was for a larger amount. It had a seven in it. I’m letting you know about this because they are such rare events these days. I can remember the last cheque I got. It was from my mother for my birthday but I could not recall when I wrote the last one. It took me a good while just to find my chequebook. It was in a safe place buried under some old papers. I had forgotten how to write one.
I was sent the cheque from Nexus following I problem I had with one of their ticket machines. It was at Black Callerton in an unmanned (un-personed?) Metro station, miles away from the Customer Service Centre. The ticket machine changed my cash into a cheque. It didn’t give me the right change. I contacted Customer Services by phone and they sent me a claim form. I filled in the claim form and returned it by post. They sent me the money. We all have a little way to go to become digital organisations.
The cheque arrived and I carried it around in my wallet for weeks. I couldn’t find a bank to go to. There are plenty around but not in places that I ended up in. Even when I did they weren’t always open. Who needs to go to a bank anyway? By the time I eventually got it cashed it needed to be ironed. The man on the counter was very pleasant. He told me that cheques were much less common than they were especially for personal banking. They are still used quite a lot in business yet even this is decreasing.
He let me know that the bank was working on an app to swipe cheques into your account. He wasn’t sure how it would work and neither was I. he also told me that some of the larger ATMs would issue with a form so that you could put cheques into the hole in the wall. With the number of cheques declining though there was no real imperative.
Today I went into the Post Office. I wanted a stamp to send a postcard (no, not that again). The queue was too long as it was lunchtime and so I decided to come back later. When I did the queue had gone but one of the staff recommended that I use one of the new self-service tills. They could issue stamps, weigh parcels and do much of the stuff that you would normally have had to wait at the counter for. I bought my stamp. It gave me change and I didn’t hang around to find out what else it would do. The member of staff was kind enough to put my postcard into the letter box for me. Now that was service. I could have done this at lunchtime and not come back.
How different things are. I’ve nearly forgotten how to write a cheque. Soon I will have forgotten how to buy a stamp.