b r e a t h i n g   r o o m

9 Dec 97

"I hate this bank!" an old woman balder above the temples than I am was crying. She'd just made a "very long trip" to my bank only to be told that the Computer was down and that they could not verify or confirm her balance, something she explicitly came to the bank for, to see if she had enough money to loan some to her daughter. At first she couldn't hear the teller/representative. "What are you saying? I'm deaf." When she understood, she was stricken. She asked if she could open an account at the competing bank across the shopping-center parking lot, and then apologized to the teller when she had blown off a little steam, saying she understood it was not her fault.

What struck me was that they had no backup system? Did they never print anything out? Copy anything down? Couldn't they get a ledger of this woman's last verified balance and go through her deposits and other transactions one by one to come up with a balance manually? Of course not. They probably don't keep the records in any human-readable form and they don't train their employees in accounting methods or in creative thinking. What's that bank going to do after the big magnetic pulse?

yester morrow

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