Thursday, 4 June 2015

And The Bank Mistakenly Put €18,000 Into A Bin Bag...

In the age of viral tweets and lightning fast newsfeeds, I often wonder how modern technology would have impacted on stories before the advent of social media? The same stories now would yield interesting results. 

At a recent summit on the Future of Banking, The City Bin Co.’s social media guy, Oisin Browne told one of his favourites from way back when working on the back of the bin truck. 

They say there’s money in rubbish! There certainly was one July Friday back in 2004. While servicing Galway’s commercial sector, they picked up from an anonymous bank a little earlier than usual. Shortly after they clocked off for the day the phone rang and said some money had been thrown out by accident. It transpired the bank had mistakenly put €18,000 into a bin bag which had already been collected. Within no time The City Bin Co. super staff began a frantic four-hour search rooting through the rubbish before they found the large sum of money neatly tied into cash bundles.

Their efforts paid off, and the money was found and returned to the bank. To this day the finer points remain a mystery. The nameless bank remained tight-lipped about the embarrassing slip, and the branch manager claimed “human error”. Conspiracy theories abounded about a botched up inside job!

It is not the first time The City Bin Co. has had to mount an emergency operation to recover valuable goods. Three years earlier a precious set of Claddagh rings especially commissioned and worth €6,000 was saved several minutes before they were to be compacted.

Twitter could have communicated the news of the missing rings faster to the company then the string of phone calls, headaches and panic attacks. In both cases there was a positive result and both stories became news items.

Although each story made headlines, Oisin believes there’d have been completely different reactions if they happened today. Twitter would have equipped each story with legs and they’d have snowballed within a quarter of an hour. The ring saga would have gone viral and created a goodnews buzz for all affected parties. Social media has moved the power from the journalist to the public and from the companies’ to the customers. Nowadays stories are tweeted in real time and the public decide what’s worth tweeting and reposting.  The bank involved in the missing money drama would have been better served owning the story from the outset, tweeting the “human error” element, and likely avoiding any runaway legs and conspiracy theories altogether. 

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