COLUMN: Dangerous level of apathy

In my experience, the vast majority of human beings are a lazy bunch who will do anything for an easy life.

Friday, 30th October 2015, 12:10 pm
Blaise Tapp

Bold statement you think? Just look at the evidence - an overwhelming number of the amazing advancements made by mankind have ended cutting the corners off everyday life. How else can you explain Pot Noodle or the dreaded microwave?

This quest to satisfy the inherent bone idleness of the masses has stepped up a gear in the last 30-odd years thanks to the microchip and the dawning of the digital age which has meant that you can pretty much live your life without moving either buttock from the recliner.

There is much, much more to come and it would be no surprise to this Luddite if at some point in the next two decades healthy, busy folk become fitted with a catheter as how can you live a faff-free life if you have to keep using the lav?

But for all this ‘progress’ you cannot change the fact that most of us cannot be mithered to lift a finger unless we absolutely have to. Which is why very few of us ever change our bank accounts - a third of us have stuck with the same bank for over 20 years.

Of course this level of apathy is dangerous because the High Street banks clearly don’t have to work at all to keep millions of us and were last week told to work harder by the dull sounding Competition and Markets Authority.

The CMA conducted a lengthy investigation which last week concluded that the major banks need to do much more to compete for customers and suggested that technology should be introduced which would make it far easier for punters to compare accounts. The message is loud and clear: we aren’t getting the best deal and, at worst, hidden or, at best, unclear charges are costing the British public billions every year.

When you sit down and consider the rank public apathy towards banking it is nothing short of mind boggling, especially when you consider how badly the sector has behaved over the past decade or so.

But I fear that we could have been told that our accounts had been plundered to pay for free wine gums for all bank employees or the North Korean nuclear programme and we still would have stuck with our bank just because they gifted us a set of porcelain pigs when we 10-years-old.

While sentiment will play a role in some cases, it is the prospect of changing standing orders and payment details which put customers off from switching, even though we are assured that it is a relatively straightforward process.

Everyone likes to moan about bankers - with some justification - yet the reluctance to vote with one’s feet is only exacerbating the problem because it is simply saying to the banks ‘you can do what you want because we will stick with you as we cannot be bothered to changing.’

It is the same idle attitude which once upon a time saw me pay for gym membership for three years even though I visited no more than a dozen times and the only way things will change for the better if we the public start objecting to wasting our own money.

Laziness doesn’t begin to describe it.