I have always wondered why bank tellers have to dispense their duties barricaded behind those thick, see-through glass partitions.
You know, those partitions remind me of an aquarium, and the last time I checked, aquariums had less to do with banking, but more to do with captive little fish.
Talking of aquariums, I have been to a few posh private homes in Kiyovu and Nyarutarama and Kibagabaga that are equipped with one—with expensive looking fish darting around for the owner’s viewing pleasure.
And while the rest of us will be content with a trip down to Kabagali or Nyabugogo for our food and nutritional needs, I gather from the aquarium owners that their pet fish will not settle for less by eating food bought from roadside vendors in Kabagali like the rest of you and me.
When aquarium fish feel like food, it immediately necessitates a trip down to Nakumatt or Simba Supermarket by the owner to procure some expensive fish meal.
Of all domestic pets common in private homes, aquarium fish is arguably the most expensive to feed, especially considering the size of the fish in question.
So, why do banking halls of late all taken the shape and appearance of an aquarium? Well, since the glass partition essentially negates the possibility of any meaningful discourse with those cute tellers, (who should have answered my question), I will now try to find my own creative answers.
The first reason for that glass partition is obvious for all to see, and quite noble in itself: without that sheet of glass, where else would the bank people pin your lost and found Indangamuntu?
Talking of which, what sort of person transacts bank business and, when they are done, simply melts away, like the Indangamuntu has outlived all its good purpose?
Is it the people who just withdrew a huge sum of money and can’t wait to be off to their favorite hobby? Is it those bearing the anger and frustration (even humiliation) of a cheque just bounced?
Whatever the reason, the abandoned Identity Card will always find itself pinned up on the partition glass, such that it sometimes looks like a “Wanted” notice.
But the real reason Bank Tellers choose to hide behind aquarium-like workstations has got something to do with security issues: they know only too well that without that protective glass shield around them, we would not take that nonsense of going to withdraw hard earned money, standing patiently in queue, and when your turn at the Teller comes, you are told by the usually cute teller that “our network is down” or, even more pointedly and annoyingly, “we don’t have network”.
It is rather understandable when my mobile phone network decides to play hide and seek as I try to place a call, but all together a different story when I have to fork out Rwf 700 for taxi moto fare to my nearest bank branch, only to be insulted with those things of “we don’t have network”!