I can remember the days when you could telephone your bank and the phone was answered by someone who actually worked at the branch and knew the names of all the staff and could put you through to the person you wanted to speak to, or take a sensible message for them.
I recently had to cancel an appointment with someone at my bank and, naively perhaps, assumed that the telephone number on his business card was his direct telephone line. Wrong!
On ringing the number, I had to go through a tedious procedure of tapping in various branch, account and birth date numbers. The latter was easy but the former meant I had to search around in my file whilst the automated voice on the line seemed to become more impatient with me. I eventually got these stages out of the way, only to be asked for the third digit of my telephone banking pin! I don't do telephone banking!
After asking me three times, the automated voice suggested that I should hold on whilst I was connected to one of the bank's staff and the music started. After what seemed like 10 minutes of music a real person came on and was actually someone I could understand.
However, he didn't seem to be able to grasp the fact that I needed to get a message to a particular person to cancel an appointment. I tried to speak precisely, with nothing but the facts but he was making assumptions and I wasn't entirely confident that the message would get through.
Perhaps I should have just not turned up for the appointment as the quickest way of getting the message across! I suppose one compensation is that I don't appear to have been charged for the call.