Sunday, March 3, 2024

THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Sending cheques by cell?


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THE HEAD of the older of the two men at a table under the extended roof of the rum shop “doving” a flask of white rum was buried in the DAILY NATION.
As he pulled his glass behind the newspaper, shaking it Bajan-style to make sure the ice was doing its job, his friend sat with his head cocked on a side like a fowl, contemplating something in the distance while shaking his own glass in harmony with the other man’s.
Something in the newspaper caught the reader’s attention and he asked loudly: “You read this thing here ’bout people now able to bank wid duh cellphone?”
“Bare foolishness! And you just as foolish to believe everyt’ing you read.”
“If you t’ink I foolish, read um for yuhself.”
And with that he folded the newspaper to the point where only the story was visible, passed it over the bottle of rum, chaser and bowl of ice to his friend on the other side and said with a raised voice:
“Read um fuh yuhself.”
The story was indeed there. I saw the headline – Mobile Banking For . . . Customers – and, as I would read subsequently, it revealed that a certain bank last Monday launched mobile banking services to its customers across the Caribbean, including Barbados, which now allowed them to do such things as check their balance, transfer funds and pay bills from the convenience of their Internet-enabled mobile phone.
The “doubting T’omas” took the newspaper, placed it on the table in front of him, curved his back and neck over until his face was about two inches from the page and read the story slowly and audibly.
When he finished, he straightened out his neck and back, cocked his head back to its earlier position and let go a loud steupse, followed by “bare foolishness!”.
The other man, obviously exasperated by his friend’s refusal to believe what he had read, asked: “You read where de people say that instead o’ leffing home and gine to de bank, yuh kin now stan home and use yuh cellphone to do wuh yuh want to do and you calling it foolishness?”
The friend uncocked his head, looked the older man straight in the face and questioned: “Tell me something, wuh you does go in de bank to do?”
“Wuh you mean by wuh I does go in de bank to do?”
“Well, if you too dotish to understand wuh I asking you, let me tell you wuh you does go in de bank to do. You does go in de bank to either put down yuh pension or tek it off. Right?”
“So wha you trying to say?”
“Um en wha I trying to say, is wha I trying to ask. All I want you to do is tell me is how in God’s name you going use a cellphone to put down or tek off money.”
That stumped the other man for a few moments. Then he slowly replied: “Why you don’t ask the bank? Them mussee got a way that you can tek a picture of de pension cheque and text it to the bank and them would do the same wid any money you want to tek off by texting it to you.”
I had to leave to avoid bursting with laughter.


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