Just had a ridiculous incident at the new Barclays "MegaBranch" at Picadilly Circus. For anyone who hasn't seen it, this is a huge futuristic branch which only serves Barclays customers (two HSBC chancers were ejected by the bouncers at the tills after queuing for ten minutes while I was there, much to their annoyance).
The interior of this branch looks like the command centre of an Imperial Stardestroyer, complete with several supervisors, marching around making sure the tellers are doing their jobs correctly.
The place also has a ton of new gadgets, one of which would conspire to potentially steal £100 off me. I went down there at lunchtime to pay in my £700 winnings from the cash game last week as a cash deposit (following my disaster online on Sunday I needed to get some money in the current account to cover a few direct debits).
Anyhow, I counted out seven piles of £100 in twenty pound notes, before shoving it over the counter. Rather than count it herself to verify, the teller put the wad in some new machine next to her with a flashing bar across the top.
The machine began humming and then changed pitch, before spitting £60 of my money up into the air. The teller looked worried and looked at the screen.
"Sir, it says you only put in £540 in cash"
"No problem, lets get it out of the machine and count it manually"
"Sorry sir, we can't do that - once we put the money in we can't get it back out. You are £160 short. Well, £100 after we put the £60 back in"
This was pretty staggering, considering that there was now no way to manually count the money. I pointed out that considering the machine had vomited £60 of my money at a 90 degree angle up into the air, was it not possible that the machine was incorrect.
The teller performed a manual reconciliation of her till balance and discovered that they were now £240 OVER the correct balance. It seems I was the second person that had received the machine bad beat today.
At this point the supervisor arrived on the scene - salvation was surely here. But no. Whereas the teller seemed reasonably on the ball, and seemed to hate the new machines as much as I did, the supervisor seemed unable to compose a lucid sentence, even though I had kept my temper in check thus far. She gave up, and went to talk to Mr Big in the back office.
It now seems Barclays have to wait for the day end reconciliation to see if they are over, and will give me a call. When they do phone, I will just have to take their word for it which is pretty galling considering I am 90% sure I counted out £700. I decided £100 was an insufficient amount to tamper with my fragile stress levels, so I took the incident surprisingly calmly.
However, if any of you do go in there to deposit cash, I'd recommend insisting on a manual count, before the money vanishes into the super computer.
Interestingly, Barclays have opened themselves up to all sorts of angle shooting, as anyone can now go in with £300 daily and then claim £500 once it is deposited into the system. Anytime Barclays had a daily surplus due to any manual errors, you'd hoover it up, freeroll style. I imagine it would only work a couple of times before they clocked you, but this new system is bonkers for both the bank and the customer.