Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 8, 2013 in Personal |

It’s a hard task, learning trust, but something which, after just a few examples of people who abuse your trust, we all have to begin. Most of us tend to trust people initially, allowing our first impressions to rule or, perhaps, believing that people are trustworthy because that is what we have experienced so far and who would want to abuse our trust anyway?

Sadly we all discover, at some time or another, that trust has a different value for different people. There is always someone who is out to make a quick buck at the expense of someone else, always someone who is looking for their own best advantage without worrying whether it will cost someone else. I have come across two examples of missing trust recently, one which is directed at me and one which is general.

Taking the second example first: a major bank in Germany has begun an advertising campaign to gain new customers and to create the impression that they are different, that they are trustworthy, moving in new directions, different to every other bank the world over. They use a young woman as their prime motivator, running through a major city, talking in her thoughts about what we should expect from a bank, what we should receive and how they should react to our needs. She is, apparently, one of the lower directors of the bank, working in a large office in this major city with a wonderful view across the rooftops. She is one of the people, despite her young years, who is responsible for our money and who, being young, must know what it is that the younger generation – to about thirty – needs and wants.

The advertising campaign is designed to wipe out the bad image this bank, and many others, have here. The bank is one which was heavily involved in the realty market in the United States, in the selling of mortgages sub-prime and the handling of bad investment portfolios. They lost a great deal of their client’s money, they lost a great deal of trust in their services.

This same bank also applied for and was given a massive loan from the German government at remarkably low interest rates to see them through the bad times. One of the conditions of the loan was that this money be used to help those in need, another that the higher bank directors accept a lower – limited to half a million Euro – bonus at the end of each financial year while the loan was in effect.

This bank is also one which used the loaned money to strengthen their own position, but didn’t lower the interest rates charged to their customers. It paid the loan back in one lump sum, and then paid out the directors a good, high bonus after the loan had been cleared. They misused trust to gain a financial advantage, to gain a foothold over their rivals without passing any of the benefits on to their customers.

An abuse of trust on a massive scale, to my way of thinking, and not something which can be swept under the carpet a few years later when it is clear that the bank will continue with the same policies, and continue to consider what is best for its shareholders and directors before what the customer really needs.

The other example is something which has happened, or is happening, to me at the moment. At the beginning of last month I received a request to write an article for someone overseas at very short notice with the promise of an acceptable payment. I had been in touch with this person a few times in the past, although I cannot say that I know him at all. Merely another student working his way through college and looking into the future.

Normally I would either expect at least a partial payment in advance, or that the request goes through one of the referring companies that I am signed up with. The contract – I do not see it as being anything other than a contract – ran at very short notice, though, and I could see his problem. If the work was not completed, not given in on time, he would have problems. I have the knowledge he needed and I had the time to quickly run off an essay of about seven hundred and fifty words.

He thanked me for the work, called me an angel, and told me he doesn’t use Paypal, doesn’t know how it works. So I sent him my direct bank details for international exchanges. Not a dangerous thing to do, despite the warnings from some, since he cannot get access to the account without going into the bank itself.

To date the money has not been credited to my account, and I do believe that a month is long enough for transfers from his country to Germany. Needless to say, I will not trust him again, not for anything. I am left, however, with a work that I have completed and delivered, a contract which has been fulfilled from my side, and nothing in return.

Well, no, not quite.

Had he used a throwaway account then I would have rejected his request and wouldn’t have felt the same level of trust from the very beginning. He used his college account, though, and his college account is traceable because, as with all colleges worth anything, it issues an e-mail address using a person’s full and real name. The college has a very good web site, with a complete list of everyone who works there, what they do, what they are responsible for. I daresay I will not get paid but, in a very short while, a letter with copies of the transaction will arrive on a Rector’s desk through the normal post and he will start to feel a little bit uncomfortable.

I have no qualms about such things. If someone breaks my trust they are cast out, and take a good, heavy stone with them to the bottom of the deepest ocean.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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