June 20, 2014

Today at the bank

This morning in the line at the bank in Katherine:
Teller serving Aboriginal customer who was ordering a new card. Teller spoke to her loudly and abruptly. Customer didn't sound like English was her first language. Part of the exchange went something like this:
Customer: "It's a debit card?".
Teller "Yes. It's a debit card. What colour do you want?"
"What?"
"What colour do you want? You can have black, blue or pink."
"Oh. ahhh... black?"
"Ok, black."
"Oh, no it's a debit card. Blue."
"It's too late now. I can't go back. It's black now." and so on...
No friendliness. Didn't seem to go out of her way to be helpful or provide extra service.
Tellers next two customers were white. Teller appears to know them and was friendly, chatty, laughing and helpful.
While there could easily be more to the story, based only on what I saw, the inconsistency in the service this teller provided was extremely noticeable and the most obvious attributable factor appeared to be race. I felt bad and ashamed and I can only imagine how an Aboriginal person seeing that would feel.
Yet this is so common and ubiquitous in Katherine. I was feeling sufficiently confident this morning, so before it was my turn to be served I'd resolved to say something. I didn't get served by the teller under discussion, but instead got the other one who seemed to be providing consistent service. I still told her about the difference in service provision I'd noticed and she said she'd mention it. I hope she did. At the very least, I was happy I said something. And even if she didn't pass on my concern maybe that teller is a bit more aware that at least some customers care about providing good service to *all* customers.

And are prepared to whinge about it on the internet if they see something they don't like. Oops! 

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