The chapel choir that I run has an account at Barclays Bank, my oh-so-favouritest bank in the world. I am currently on a quest to find out the balance of this account.

You see, in days gone by, I have been successful in extracting this information from them, at least a couple of times. Now, however, it seems that, in order to counter the sheer audacity of customers demanding information about their account between quarterly statements, their cashiers have been trained to invent their own security requirements for each new customer experience.

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Past successful attempts:

Me:Could you tell me the balance on that account, please? 👍
Cashier:Certainly, sir.

Me:Oh, and, could you tell me what the balance of that account is, please? 👍
Cashier:Yes. Could you please confirm the address of the account?
Me:Yup, it's Emmanuel College, Cambridge, CB2 3AP.
Cashier:Okay, that's right, here you go.

Recent, unsuccessful attempts:

Me:Could you give me the balance of that account? 👎
Cashier:Uhrm... well, it'll take about ten minutes...
Me:(thinking: What?) Right...
Cashier:Uhrm... (shrugs)
Me:(leaves)

Me:Oh, sorry, could you also tell me the balance on that account? 👎
Cashier:Can you prove that you are one of the signatories on the account?
Me:Erm, well, how do I do that?
Cashier:Well, is the statement sent to you?
Me:Yes. (thinking: But it's actually sent to "The Senior Organ Scholar" rather than "Christopher Mear", so I can tell this is going to get confusing for her.)
Cashier:Do you have any ID on you?
Me:Well, yes, but it's sent to "Senior Organ Scholar", you see, and...
Cashier:</i></td>Well, let me just have a look. (taps away on terminal) I'm sorry, there's no name on the account so I can't help you.
Me:(knowing that she is looking at a screen that says "Senior Organ Scholar" on it, which I have just confirmed to her, and thinking: What is that supposed to mean? That only somebody with no name is allowed to access the account? Or that my name actually has to be "Mr Senior O. Scholar"? How is anyone supposed to access the account if you need a name on the account, and there is no name on the account?) Right. Well, how am I supposed to find out my balance, then?
Cashier:You'll have to get in touch with your branch.
Me:(thinking: Oh yes, because they're much more likely to give the information to an anonymous voice on the phone, than to an actual person, actually standing in the branch, who has just paid in a cheque using the actual paying-in book for the account, which, along with a actual statement of the same account, he is currently holding) OK. Thank you.