During the week, I have to drive to work.  I used to take the transit and it only took me 40 minutes to get to work.  I used to sit on the subway and sleep most of the way.  It was a perfect way for me to stay relaxed before my 8 hours of work.  I grew up with parents who had to commute to work everyday.  They would drive 1 hour each way.  They would leave at 7:30 every morning just to be at work for 9 o’clock.  They did that for over 30 years.  I remember telling myself that I wouldn’t do that when I grew up.  I couldn’t imagine sitting in traffic for an hour crawling through the insanity.  At 19 I got a job in Toronto and yup you guessed it, I had to sit through traffic.  My Dad would drive and my Mom would sit in the front passenger seat putting on her last-minute make up touch ups and then sometimes read a magazine.  I would sit in the back and doze off to enjoy that extra hour of sleep.  The thing is I would hardly sleep because my Dad was the type of person who always had to be informed on what was happening in the world, so he would have the radio on.

THIS IS THE CBC WORLD NEWS REPORT

Here are the stories effecting Toronto this morning….

Those words would haunt me for years.  Little did I know they would be part of my mornings when I would be in my 40’s.   When I was 19 what did I care about what happened in the world?  I hardly cared what happened in my neighbourhood.  I only wanted to know about what movies were coming out and what stories were being written.  I was obsessed with human emotional tragedies and how others would react.  Dramatic movies were my favourite.  Little did I realize at 19 that the news was full of those stories.  I was living in a cocoon of mellow drama in my own life that I had blinders on to the rest of the world.

Jumping 25 years ahead and here I am driving to work and I find myself turning on the radio and tuning it to CBC radio 99.1.  The reason I put it on the first time was because I was so very tired off commercials. I was listening to AM radio but every 5 to 6 minutes I would have to listen to 4 minutes or more of the same commercials.  To me it was the definition of insanity.  What I learned to love about CBC radio was that they had a show on called “As it Happens”. This is truly some brilliant interviewing.  I’m not just saying it for the sake of saying it.  Their interviews are intimate and the questions are always in the search of the Truth of the Moment.  They interview anyone, it could be your neighbour or someone of status or a person with a personal connection to the world event that we are all wondering,

“I can’t imagine what those people are going through.”

CBC radio had a great interview with a person in Syria describing the bombs falling in Aleppo.  You could actually hear mortars exploding in the background.  Now that is human drama.  When I heard the news about Syria and how many bombs were falling in the city of Aleppo I asked myself,

“How can anyone live with that much bombing on a daily basis.”

Well CBC helped me answer that question.  And I thought one sleepless night in Brampton Ontario was torturous?

(sigh).

Let’s move forward again, for this entry is about something else.

So, one bright winter morning this week I was sitting in the car and the news comes on and the headlines are being read and I hear that an employee at a bank has come forward with some damning information about sales practices within the bank.  The bank is TD Canada Trust.  Now a little back story on this bank if some of you don’t know it.  This bank prides itself on being there for the customer.  While other banks were about the business of money, shocker a bank interested in money, they would have commercials about how easily accessible they were to their customers.  Their logo is a green love seat (green being their colour) and with the logo “Banking can be this comfortable”. I’ll admit it, logo is kind of catchy.

The problem with a bank, not all businesses, but with a bank making it always about the customer is that it doesn’t work.  Banks are about money and they should be.  They are the back bone of a stable economy because after all that’s where EVERYONE keeps their money.  Even the Government.

Did you really think they kept our taxes in a huge mattress under the Prime Minister’s bed?

When businesses need cashflow to improve their profits or even hire people where do they go? Exactly, banks.

I like that Canadian banks make huge profits.  So, when the shit hits the fan, banks can lend huge amounts of money to the country and its people and weather the storm.  That’s how we survive financial crisis’.  Canadian banks are heavily regulated and must follow strict guidelines.  There are several hundred checks and balances that must be followed on a daily basis. Some companies have a team of people for quality assurance. The banks have a department, and that’s for each Division of the bank.

So here we are that morning and the story is that an employee at TD bank has told the media that TD’s sales practices are questionable and maybe even illegal.

Can I just ask first, what sales practice is ever not questionable?

The whole purpose of a sales person is to get you to buy something you don’t need but something you want.  There are massive differences in the 2.  When you go and only buy things you need, your shopping is limited.  If a company can get you to buy something you want, then the sky is the limit.  It’s done by every major corporation not just banks.  Some, let’s use Wal-Mart for example use the enticement of low prices.  Wal-Mart fills a warehouse full of useless items and gets you to come in to buy it all because they have taken off 1 dollar off the “normal” price.  Is that questionable?  Damn right!

Why do I need to buy more useless things that I already have?  Is it because Wal-Mart needs to make money?  No that couldn’t be it.

I’ll get to my issue now.

Canadians are financially spineless.  They just want to spend until their house is full of “status items”.

Status items are things that you really don’t care about but because your friends have one, you must have one.  You don’t believe me?  Then why is almost every garage in Canada used as a storage unit?  You hardly find cars in the house garage.  I constantly see driveways with 3 or 4 cars and I asked myself,

“Why don’t they put the cars in the garage?”

Then in the summer when I drive by I see the garage open and I see it filled with everything and anything except a car!!

Back to the banks for a second.  Banks need us to be in debt.  In debt to them, not to anyone else.  Our money circulates through the bank and gets used for other things and other lines of business.  So, does it sound bad when they want you to take that Line of Credit or that second credit card?  Absolutely not.  Banks actually protect your money, they are insured and you know that when you need your money, you can just ask for it with a nice shiny piece of plastic.  You don’t even need to carry your money around. They also provide you with the chance to own a house/apartment.  They will pay up front the cost of the entire property and you just make monthly payments back to them usually over a 25-year period.

Seems fair to me, one of the necessities of life is shelter, and the bank has given you the means to obtain that.  One of the major goals of the banks is to keep money flowing in and out.  It helps the economic engine running.  Think of it like the oil in the engine, no oil and the engine will seize.

This bank employee stated that they felt pressured to sell products to the customers and if they didn’t the threat of losing their job was ever-present.

Hold on, what?  Do you mean as a sales person if you couldn’t sell you would get fired?

Complete injustice!! (please insert a sarcastic condemning look)

In what job is it ever ok, not to perform to the standards of the company?  Imagine if a pilot turned around and said,

“The airline forces me to fly a plane.  I think that’s wrong.”

I can completely agree, a pilot flying a plane is just as insane as a sales person having to sell.

The frustrating part about this is that banks have had these sales practices for over 20 years.  It’s only now that it’s a problem?  Let me make another point.

The employee also said that they were threatened to lose their job.  I also have a problem with this statement.  Every bank has an HR department and every bank has an Ombudsman. What is an Ombudsman?

It’s an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities.

Because banks are regulated by the government, they have to answer to an Ombudsman.  Then you also have the Labour department.  Imagine the PR shit storm if a bank fired someone without cause?

Now let’s go to the more important part of the story. Illegal activity.

So, the employee states that TD bank would also make them do illegal things for the bottom line.

This could be true.  Corporations of all kinds are known to be corrupt. But I have a problem with this employee saying that they were forced.  Here is my answer to that.

BULLSHIT

No one can ever make you do anything illegal. Not unless they held a gun to your head.  Oh, they threatened to fire you?  I just wish there was a place you could go to report such an action where a group of people were hired to uphold the law.  Maybe I should write to my member of parliament and tell them to create a force of people to “police” society and serve and protect.  I think that’s a good idea.

Let’s say you don’t want to go to the police.  You also have lawyers. Who weirdly enough are experts in the field of Law.

No one can ever make me do illegal activity.  Not unless my family is being threatened and no police department is willing to help and I could find not one single lawyer on Google.

So, this employee knew what was being asked of them was illegal and they still did it? I’ll come back to that.

Let’s say the bank asked the employee to do illegal activity.  The amount of fines the bank would incur are astronomical!!  A bank which prides itself on taking care of the customer is that corrupt?

Maybe.  But not likely in Canada.

Let’s say that it was true.  Then we are about to see some major Executives heads rolling down Bay St. The bank will restructure and live on.

This employee though, I think should get charged for Fraud and some sort of criminal behaviour.  He willing participated in illegal activity.  He should have had a moral compass and a spine to know that in this country they care about social justice. This isn’t America.  We live in an age of Leaks.  I say this to everyone. The age of Loyalty is dead. Be careful what you tell people and always do the Moral and Legal thing.  It’s fashionable to throw people and companies under the bus.  I say just stop whining and do your job right.