Characters you meet at a Nigerian bank

Chukwuneta Oby

The one you beg to use their pen and they tell you “sorry, I am already leaving and I don’t want to forget my pen.’’ Somehow, they are still there on your way out.

Then comes the ones that ask for somebody’s pen, as if they gave you one to keep for them. They usually go “your pen?’’ with an already outstretched hand.

On a day that my “Ogbanje’’ would come out to play, the response that usually greets such requests is, “is it the pen you bought for me or the one you gave me to keep for you?’’

They usually retreat quietly but never cease to give one “side-eye.”

Just say “bye-bye’’ to the pen you lend to these ones with your church mind o, because they will finish using and put it in their pockets. They are the reason some of us don’t go near banks with fancy pens again.

The ones that use the pen the banker puts in the counter have to be reminded to… “sign your signature here,’’ “this space is for a date.’’ “Sorry” is for you if you find yourself standing next to these ones and you are in a hurry.

If care is not taken, a new slip will be filled all over again right there. I often wonder how they are able to hold it down with their signature. I mean they know how to sign their signature o.

  • The one that jumps the queue, and would rather engage you in exchange of words if you don’t let the bad manners slide. And the one that first enters the banking hall and looks for a seat… as they size up the queue.

They are usually the ones that join the queue from nowhere, and when you raise eyebrows, you are reminded that they were standing behind somebody who was even in the queue before. So, you just swallow hard and take out your frustration on These Slow Bankers sef.

  • Those that talk with everyone around them… the friendliness of a Nigerian that has received an alert is hard to miss!

If you like don’t answer when they talk to you, they will be talking and answering their own questions. They can even lend you a pen and forget to collect it back.

  • The activist. Inside a bank? Yes o! He calls out “corrupt bankers’’ when someone that jumps the queue gets attended to. The rest of us usually queue behind them to insult “all these yeye bankers that don’t even realise their jobs will be no more without our money in their banks.”
  • The snobbish bankers that have probably endured your inconvenient rants, but managed to politely extract your account details. As soon as they do their checking and realise you are even making noise on top of an account that can’t even boast of “better money” inside… they start ignoring your subsequent rants. The next thing you hear from them is… “please the manager’s office is that way. The next customer is waiting for my attention.’’
  • The security guy that will greet you Once … when you enter the bank premises, and greet you Double when you are about to leave. They can even ask after your dog, with eyes fixed on your palms. Just learn to enter the bank with a smiling face and exit with a frown. This one knows everybody in the branch and greets them by name.

He is quite popular among the staff. He doesn’t join the queue but ends up leaving the bank before those in the queue. As he leaves, you hear the bank staff saying Thank You Sir, but you see nothing!

  • The unsmiling fellow in the bulk-room, whose only response (without looking up) to whatever you have to say is a nod or a curt, “I have heard.’’ That’s when you know that the only money that gives the joy to count is the one that is going into your own pocket.
  • The rest of us are observers. Observing is more fun when you are comfortably seated (while waiting for your turn) and not in a hurry. Otherwise, you have to be cursing under your breath. And will not likely find any of the “bank drama” funny. (The Guardian)

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