Since my credit card was taken away from me - my wife took it, with the foolish claim that I can't be trusted with monetary matters - I have made a firm decision to be appointed the chairman of a major bank, and to prove my outstanding talents in the financial sphere.
And if not the chairman of a bank, then an executive director, and if not a director then a rank-and-file member of the board of directors who sits alongside our kind of people.
I hereby promise not to bark - certainly not to bite - and as long as they pay me about NIS 700,000 a year, I will not utter a peep.
The clients, already worried as it is, should not be even more worried due to my expected appointment. Like me, they know that if the world economy rises, I will rise along with it like an acclaimed wizard of profits; that I have fought against people and sharks and have emerged victorious. That's what they'll write about me in the newspaper.
And if the economy fails, I too will lose your money, and it is not my hands that will be bloodied with spilled money. A superior force had the upper hand. Even my wife won't dare to blame me personally.
Not one, but two reports were published recently: One accuses the banks of coordinating service charges, thus harming the customers, especially small customers, and the other points out severe managerial failures at Bank Hapoalim. These reports, both together and each one separately, have reawakened my appetite for management. I can do that, too.
Two myths are being shattered at the same time, in Israel and the world over: the myth of private management and its proven qualitative advantage when compared to poor public management, and the myth of free competition in a privatized economy, which benefits the consumers.
And behold, no qualitative advantage and no competition. From here I am signaling the Anti-Trust Authority: Were I to conduct an investigation of additional business networks, I would find "restrictive arrangements" in them as well. What real difference is there between a restrictive arrangement and a cartel as far as the client is concerned?
I am a small consumer, and ever since I saved pennies as a child I have been dependent on Bank Hapoalim, or perhaps it has been dependent on me. I have never felt as helpless as I feel now. I know that I am being robbed, and there's not much I can do to protect myself - all the banks are in effect the same bank. I already know that they are taking/stealing from me "a historical service charge that is left over from the distant past, and for which there is no reason other than 'always take what you can,'" as was written in the bank documents that were seized and exposed. I feel a hand being shoved into my pocket, rummaging around deep inside, and it's not pleasant, Shari. I don't like it.
To those who are accumulating wealth at our expense, all the tax shelters, wherever they may be, are open; whereas we have no place of refuge. Salvation will not come to the consumers from another bank, not to mention profit. So to paraphrase the words of the great poet David Avidan who died penniless, and who is being honored today of all days with the publication of "All His Poems": And what most justifies my frustration and anger "is the simple, inarguable fact that we have nowhere to go."
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