|Even divorce gets a feel-good factor|
Yet I still find the places themselves quite morale-sapping. Is it the strip-lighting? The colour schemes? The long queues? The smiley faces on the leaflets/posters?
The other week I found myself in my local Nat West and whilst the teller went off to get some paperwork signed by the management I looked around the branch. I could feel myself getting more and more pallid by the second and so, to ease the boredom and to try and take my mind off the surroundings I picked up their in-house magazine (Nat West Sense).
The issue was full of financial advice, flashy foreign holidays, celebs and more. All very glossy. I guess it's nice to know people's mortgage extortions are spent (when not on bankers' bonuses!). Now, these mags are usually extremely cheesy. Lots of glitz, lots of glamour. Smiling families pictured in articles about mortgages and loans. There's not usually room for repossessions, businesses gone bust, corruption in government or the more "negative" side of things.
Yet there is something about the glossy, smiley, mags. They are just so glossy, so smiley that it's like being force fed sugar cubes. They might taste kind-of nice to start with, but you know they won't do you any good, and you start to feel sick quite quickly. It's like when you go into a strange city and find yourself in the seedy part of town. All the neon lights may look "nice" but you know that behind the scenes it is all seedy, there is a grubbiness hidden away so as not to frighten the tourists.
I think this is how I feel about the banks when I walk into them. The smiles, the lighting, the colour schemes. There is something seedy and dirty about the gaudy advertising and colour schemes. The posters boast of the 3% their top-paying accounts will give, whilst their credit cards charge 30%. Their loan posters show smiling families, new cars, fancy goods - but rarely the misery and depravation caused by debt.
Kate Winslet is on the front of their glossy mag. I wonder if Nat West customers would prefer fewer bank charges and no magazine at all! Aside from the very ocassional terminally bored customer who puts it back after a few minutes and the staff who are pressurised to read it - I wonder how many customers actually bother. All the hours I've spent in-branch over the last few months I have never seen anyone else go near a copy!