Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: ILoveMyCello on February 18, 2013, 05:18:35 PM

Title: Same issue treated differently
Post by: ILoveMyCello on February 18, 2013, 05:18:35 PM
Hi, I have a situation I wanted to run by you guys.

A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers was working on a pretty elaborate present for her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. It involved a lot of cutting, gluing, and markers, and took up a lot of space at her teller window. I didn't care that she was working on it because she is a hard worker and waits on customers the minute they come up. My supervisor didn't ask her to put it away and commented on how pretty it was.

The other day, I had my textbook open at my window. I was also in the drive thru. My supervisor flipped out, asked me to put it away, and accused me of not paying attention to customers. I work very hard, have a good scorecard, and just received an award for being the top teller in our district with referrals. I was pretty mad because she didn't say anything to my fellow coworker about her big project she had at her window when all I had was a textbook-but I took the high road and put it away. I'm wondering if I should do the same if the situation comes up again (I have the feeling it will) thanks
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: snugasabug on February 18, 2013, 05:38:06 PM
That's really unfair.  It happens a lot in workplaces...those who generally stick by the book are often prosecuted for minor infractions, while others who always bend the rules are allowed to continue. Sorry this happened to you.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: WillyNilly on February 18, 2013, 06:33:00 PM
Is it possible someone else complained (either about your co-worker then, or you more recently) that required your manager to change the policy? Because quite honestly, I would absolutely complain about a bank teller having arts & crafts project out, it would strike me as unprofessional and distracting, and when it comes to banking and my money, that's not ok.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: LazyDaisy on February 18, 2013, 07:16:03 PM
It could be that your boss did have a word quietly with the other worker away from where you would overhear. That is actually how managers should handle reprimands. It could be that the worker asked privately for permission or other reasons that you may not be privy to. If you do want to pursue this, I would ask your boss to clarify the rules and gently bring up that you have seen other workers with non-work related tasks at their window and thought that it was OK to do. It could also just be unfair treatment and that's the way of things sometimes. My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Hillia on February 18, 2013, 08:00:25 PM
Is it possible someone else complained (either about your co-worker then, or you more recently) that required your manager to change the policy? Because quite honestly, I would absolutely complain about a bank teller having arts & crafts project out, it would strike me as unprofessional and distracting, and when it comes to banking and my money, that's not ok.

This.  When you're handling my  money, I expect your full attention, and I don't expect to have to work around your crafts project. 
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: oceanus on February 18, 2013, 09:58:48 PM
Quote
My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.

This.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Miss Unleaded on February 19, 2013, 04:22:57 AM
It could be that your boss did have a word quietly with the other worker away from where you would overhear. That is actually how managers should handle reprimands. It could be that the worker asked privately for permission or other reasons that you may not be privy to. If you do want to pursue this, I would ask your boss to clarify the rules and gently bring up that you have seen other workers with non-work related tasks at their window and thought that it was OK to do. It could also just be unfair treatment and that's the way of things sometimes. My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.

I don't think that logic is really correct though.  True, Valentine's Day is just one day, but then she could bring in her Mother's Day project, one for Father's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, party invitations, etc etc.

I do, however, think your advice to go to the boss and ask her for clarification of the rules was spot on.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: cicero on February 19, 2013, 06:52:24 AM
well you ain't in kansas anymore. Rules are rules and it doesn't matter that *everyone* or *someone* seems to be getting away with it. if you aren't supposed to be doing anything else at the window, then you aren't supposed to be doing anything else at the window.

you dont know what/if anything was said between your boss and co worker.

and I have actually found, in my old age, after a great number of jobs, that for the most part, those who are *easier* employees (the ones who do their job, who go the extra mile when needed, who are reliable) are the ones who get promoted and it's the ones who come to work late and hungover, or spend their shifts making valentines cards are the ones who will be made redundant when there are cutbacks.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: camlan on February 19, 2013, 06:53:42 AM
My take would be that the craft project was more distracting for the employee--all the different supplies scattered over the work area, the need to pay close attention to the cutting and pasting. And the need to complete parts of the project before dealing with customers--you'd want to finish gluing something together and move it aside before handling the customer's money. To say nothing of the risk of glue or glitter or whathaveyou getting on the customer's receipt or something.

Verus a book, that the teller can stop reading in an instant and easily and quickly put aside in order to deal with the customer.

And as a customer, I'd see a craft project at a teller's window and wonder what the heck was going on. It would appear massively unprofessional to me.

I'd see a teller reading a book and either assume he/she is in school and using their down time at work wisely, or that their job required them to do that reading. And if they were doing school work, I'd give kudos to their employer for allowing them to use their time at the window to study (as long as they still did all their required work), and think better, overall, of the organization.

So color me completely confused as to why a craft project was allowed and reading a book was not.

I'd want clarification of what was allowed/not allowed at the teller windows, and I'd quietly ask my supervisor to explain the rules to me. And maybe if there's a difference as to what's allowed at a regular window vs. the drive-up window. And, me being me, I'd want to know why.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: oceanus on February 19, 2013, 10:48:03 AM
Quote
you dont know what/if anything was said between your boss and co worker.

I suspect something was said.

OP, I feel your pain.  BTDT many times.  But I remember once when I complained about so-and-so ‘getting away’ with doing something I was told not to do, supervisor answered with a cold “I handled that situation.  If anyone – you, so-and-so, or someone else – doesn’t have enough work to do, I can take care of that.  Now, how are you coming along with (task)?”

In this case, asking for “policy clarification” will not go over well, imo.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Yvaine on February 19, 2013, 10:52:32 AM
If this is a pattern of different treatment, it's annoying. I've definitely worked places where this would happen, for example, if co-worker was related to the boss.

If it's a one-time thing, though, then either (a) boss thought better of letting co-worker do her project at the window in retrospect, and has decided to institute a rule, or (b) someone came down on Boss about it and she decided to institute a rule. If it's this, the treatment is likely to be more equitable going forward.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Oh Joy on February 19, 2013, 11:27:28 AM
My blunt truth?  What the other employee is doing doesn't matter.

Your supervisor - just like you and every other employee - has many important issues to handle each day.  Responding to them with the workplace equivalent of 'But Moooooooom!  You let Timmy stay up fifteen minutes past his bedtime one day last week.  Why can't I?' adds nothing to the organization's productivity or your own professional image.

If you would like to discuss studying between customers with your manager, discuss studying between customers with your manager.  Approach them at a time that is convenient for both of you to talk, apologize for the previous misunderstanding, and either ask permission to study or request clarification of the expectation of how to handle downtime.  I believe this would be well within the bounds of courtesy.

Best wishes.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: TomatoBunny on February 19, 2013, 12:28:31 PM
My first thought was that the textbook was a bigger security risk than the craft project. The craft project sounds like it boils down to drawing/writing on a few glued together papers and the textbook is this bigger, set object, where one could easily slip money between the pages. Granted, craft-girl could glue money into her project, but it sounds like it was laid out, straight forward and possibly easier to monitor with security cameras, which I assume tellers have. I don't know your bank layout, but many around here have the drive thru tellers separated from the rest, so it seems like they wouldn't get as much direct human supervision, which means one just has to 'beat the security cameras'.

I don't know how security is run at banks; 1) if there's a person watching the cameras, 2) if someone reviews the footage after the fact or 3) if it's just stored on a 'as needed' basis, but 1) security could have told your supervisor that they couldn't fully see what you were doing with the textbook so that's why you were told or 2) security told your supervisor that craft girl shouldn't have been doing things at her station, hence why you were told... since you said a few weeks passed between the incidents.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Hillia on February 19, 2013, 04:43:20 PM
Totally unrelated to the OP's question, which I think has been addressed, but if I went into my bank and my teller had construction paper and markers and glue and glitter spread around her station (and a paper doily and some Hello Kitty stickers?) I would seriously wonder if I had somehow wandered in on Take Your Kids to Work day, and this was someone's 4th grader doing a craft.  Because really?  A bank is handling people's money; this requires your full attention and professionalism.  If you want to make pretty Valentine's for your boyfriend, do it at your own kitchen table on your own time.  It has zero place in any workplace, but especially a bank.  I would be seriously displeased, and both the teller and the manager would be getting an earful.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Girlie on February 20, 2013, 11:41:23 AM
I am intrigued by some of the answers and thoughts of other posters here, because I'm a teller in a small community bank where it's understood that there's a lot of downtime at certain times of the month, and neither of the above activities would be that unusual (but the book reading much less so), and neither would be a problem so long as the customers and work were being taken care of appropriately. That's the culture where I work, but I would go so far as to say that it might just be the nature of the job, as well... I'm not sure what customers think it is that we do when they're not in front of us...

My first thought is that maybe the supervisor was in an exceptionally good mood on the first day, and in a bad mood the second.
Unfortunately, that doesn't really change the fact that OP has to do - or not do - as she's been told.

Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on February 20, 2013, 12:10:58 PM
I recently had a related conversation with an employee, who said, "But I have been allowed to do it in the past!"  Well, policy does change, and that was my initial thought on reading the OP.  Policies change, and sometimes you end up on the wrong side of the demarcation line.  My gut feeling is that it has nothing to do with you per se.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: DottyG on February 20, 2013, 01:16:03 PM
Quote
if I went into my bank and my teller had construction paper and markers and glue and glitter spread around her station (and a paper doily and some Hello Kitty stickers?) I would seriously wonder if I had somehow wandered in on Take Your Kids to Work day, and this was someone's 4th grader doing a craft.  Because really?  A bank is handling people's money; this requires your full attention and professionalism.  If you want to make pretty Valentine's for your boyfriend, do it at your own kitchen table on your own time.  It has zero place in any workplace, but especially a bank.  I would be seriously displeased, and both the teller and the manager would be getting an earful.

I so much agree with this.

Reading a book or studying.....maybe.  I can see how that might be ok if you're discreet and put it away when the customer comes in the door.  But arts and crafts time?  I'd be looking for another bank that day.  That's so unprofessional that it boggles my mind.  That's not the kind of bank I'd want dealing with my money.

Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: DavidH on February 20, 2013, 01:50:25 PM
I think your best bet would be to go to your supervisor before the issue comes up again and ask her to clarify the policy and what you are allowed to do during down time at your teller window and at the drive through.  I wouldn't mention the valentine at all. 

I think having a double standard is rude, but nothing good will come from presenting this in a confrontational way.

David
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: bah12 on February 20, 2013, 01:51:52 PM
As a manager, I have to say that while things may seem unequal, it doesn't necessarily mean they are.  Your manager may have said something to the crafter, or your situation may have been viewed as more of a security risk, you could have gotten complaints by customers or other coworkers, etc.

There are a lot of factors that go into how someone is reprimanded or even if they are...and performance, history, etc all play into that.

That being said, I think you did the right thing by complying.  And I do think that if you are curious about the seemingly unequal treatment, you can professionally ask about it:

"Manager, I was wondering if you clarify the rules of what we can and can't do during our work downtime.  I notice coworkers engaging in a variety of activities but am not clear on what is and isn't permitted.  I don't want to inadvertantly break the rules agian, so I'd appreciate some clarity."  (Don't mention the crafter, or the crafting activity...this isn't about her, it's about the rules."
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: LazyDaisy on February 20, 2013, 02:40:12 PM
It could be that your boss did have a word quietly with the other worker away from where you would overhear. That is actually how managers should handle reprimands. It could be that the worker asked privately for permission or other reasons that you may not be privy to. If you do want to pursue this, I would ask your boss to clarify the rules and gently bring up that you have seen other workers with non-work related tasks at their window and thought that it was OK to do. It could also just be unfair treatment and that's the way of things sometimes. My guess is that the manager figured co worker's Valentine's Day card was a one-off incident since it only comes once a year but studying from your textbook could be a continual distraction and your manager was heading that off before it became a habit.

I don't think that logic is really correct though.  True, Valentine's Day is just one day, but then she could bring in her Mother's Day project, one for Father's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, party invitations, etc etc.

I do, however, think your advice to go to the boss and ask her for clarification of the rules was spot on.

I think my logic that this was a one-off holds up based on the scenario in the OP. The OP makes no mention that coworker has done this craft activity before and we just came out of the Christmas holiday season a little bit ago, so there is no evidence to believe it will happen again. I imagine a Valentine card, even one that requires cutting, gluing and markers (no mention of glitter or Hello Kitty stickers in the OP) would take no more than an hour (my thought is more like 20 minutes so she could have even been on break). I guess I'm picturing cutting out a few hearts and photos and writing a message. The manager didn't react like it was a mess or really elaborate and distracting from her job.

Something that I find rather odd in the OP is that ILoveMyCello seems to think that putting her book away when asked to was "taking the high road" like she was entitled to read her textbook but deigned to put it away. Does that mean the OP thinks putting her book away was some sort of noble deed? She wasn't doing her manager a favor by not arguing. OP should spend less time worrying about what other people are doing and comparing herself to them -- that would be closer to taking the high road.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Hillia on February 20, 2013, 02:48:58 PM
OP, haven't you posted in the past about problems with your supervisor gossiping with and about coworkers and pulling similar stunts?  It sounds like this woman plays favorites and you are not one of them.  It is not fair, it's not right, but sometimes it's the way it is.  You may have to decide whether you can just roll your eyes internally and ignore the middle school antics for the sake of a job that suits your needs right now, or you can start looking for another position.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: oceanus on February 20, 2013, 03:45:16 PM
As a customer, I would have more of a problem seeing an employee reading a book (or “studying”) than I would seeing an employee making a Valentine.

An employee reading a book usually means they don’t have enough work to do, usually for extended periods of time.  The same applies to personal calls, surfing the internet, and reading magazines and newspapers.  It doesn't matter if they are studying for a physics exam or reading a romance novel.  They have too much free time on their hands.

OTOH an employee making a Valentine might be working on a decoration for the office – similar to a holiday display.  This is not something they spend a lot of time on, and certainly not every day,
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: DottyG on February 20, 2013, 03:51:29 PM
Quote
It doesn't matter if they are studying for a physics exam or reading a romance novel.  They have too much free time on their hands.

You may be right there.

However, I'm more willing to give a pass to a student who's using their time wisely to study than to someone who's doing arts and crafts - even if it is "for the decoration of the bank."

My money is a serious thing to me.  And the lack of professionalism that doing crafts projects shows doesn't put confidence in me that they're doing the right thing with my finances.  Whether that's true or not is beside the point - they could be an excellent bank who takes their customers' money seriously.  But that's not the appearance they're giving.

Someone studying a book, while still possibly indicating they need more to do, doesn't give me the unprofessional feeling.  That's a more serious endeavor than cutting and pasting in my mind.

Whether they have "enough to do" or not is not my problem as the customer.  That's strictly between them and their boss.  If their boss chooses to pay them $X for only 4 hours of actual work, that's not my business.  However, the feeling they give me with what they do with that extra time is my business.  Because that's what I'm basing my decision on where to put my money.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Girlie on February 20, 2013, 04:03:26 PM
As a customer, I would have more of a problem seeing an employee reading a book (or “studying”) than I would seeing an employee making a Valentine.

An employee reading a book usually means they don’t have enough work to do, usually for extended periods of time.  The same applies to personal calls, surfing the internet, and reading magazines and newspapers.  It doesn't matter if they are studying for a physics exam or reading a romance novel.  They have too much free time on their hands.

OTOH an employee making a Valentine might be working on a decoration for the office – similar to a holiday display.  This is not something they spend a lot of time on, and certainly not every day,

But surely that is with the realization that some jobs really do have a great deal of downtime? What exactly is the employee to do in that situation? Sometimes, there really isn't "always something to do."

As an example: I used to work the overnight shift in a grocery store on weekends. I had an extensive list of things that needed to be done, and I prided myself on going above and beyond the callings of my job. I cleaned, took care of trash, restocked the front shelves - everything. Problem was, I also became very efficient. Which meant that in an eight hour shift, five of those hours left me with nothing to do except entertain myself and wait on the very, very few customers that we had.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 20, 2013, 04:55:18 PM
As a customer, I would have more of a problem seeing an employee reading a book (or “studying”) than I would seeing an employee making a Valentine.

An employee reading a book usually means they don’t have enough work to do, usually for extended periods of time.  The same applies to personal calls, surfing the internet, and reading magazines and newspapers.  It doesn't matter if they are studying for a physics exam or reading a romance novel.  They have too much free time on their hands.

OTOH an employee making a Valentine might be working on a decoration for the office – similar to a holiday display.  This is not something they spend a lot of time on, and certainly not every day,

But surely that is with the realization that some jobs really do have a great deal of downtime? What exactly is the employee to do in that situation? Sometimes, there really isn't "always something to do."

As an example: I used to work the overnight shift in a grocery store on weekends. I had an extensive list of things that needed to be done, and I prided myself on going above and beyond the callings of my job. I cleaned, took care of trash, restocked the front shelves - everything. Problem was, I also became very efficient. Which meant that in an eight hour shift, five of those hours left me with nothing to do except entertain myself and wait on the very, very few customers that we had.

Not only the bolded, but why is that the customer's concern?  (Serious question, not snarky...I don't understand why the customer should be concerned with how much work an employee has to do.)
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: oceanus on February 20, 2013, 04:57:48 PM
Quote
My money is a serious thing to me.

So is mine, and I think that applies to most people.

I understand most people aren't frantically working up a sweat all day, every day.  There are slow periods in many jobs.

However, some of my money goes towards salaries. 

Quote
I don't understand why the customer should be concerned with how much work an employee has to do.

I don't want to help pay an employee for 40 hours if they are only working 20 hours on a regular basis.

Whether a bank, store, insurance company, or whatever, customers and their money keep the place in business.

Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: DottyG on February 20, 2013, 05:14:30 PM
I still think that's an issue between an employee and the person who hires/pays them.  Yes, it's my money that keeps them in business, but I'm not in charge of the agreement they have with the person who hires them as to what they will do all day.

My boss pays me according to what he sees fit to pay considering my work.  If I'm not worth what he's willing to pay, things change.  But that's between me and my boss - not a 3rd person.

I used to work in a retail shop (summer in-between college semesters) that had quite a bit of downtime.  It was a specialty shop.  And when there weren't customers in there, I did all I could do - I made sure the store was clean, I rearranged merchandise to get some of the stuff in the back up front, so it got noticed and possibly bought, I made sure the storeroom was clean.  I did everything I could think of to do.  But, even with all of that (and even as the only employee in the store), there ended up being a lot of downtime.  So I read.  I tried to read some of the books we had on the subject relating to the store (so I could be knowledgeable about our product and things like that).  But, when all else failed, I read my own books.  And put them aside the second a potential customer came in.  My boss - the owner of the shop - deemed it worthwhile to have me there despite the fact that there was downtime in which I didn't have anything to do in the shop.  It allowed her to leave and do things for herself.  In fact, I was given a key to the place, and there were weeks where I wouldn't see her at all; I was, seriously, the only person running the shop.  It was no one else's business what she paid me or if I had enough to do; it was solely hers and my business alone.  Even if the customers' money was financing my paycheck.
 
 
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: nuit93 on February 20, 2013, 06:16:04 PM
Quote
My money is a serious thing to me.

So is mine, and I think that applies to most people.

I understand most people aren't frantically working up a sweat all day, every day.  There are slow periods in many jobs.

However, some of my money goes towards salaries. 
Quote
I don't understand why the customer should be concerned with how much work an employee has to do.

I don't want to help pay an employee for 40 hours if they are only working 20 hours on a regular basis.

Whether a bank, store, insurance company, or whatever, customers and their money keep the place in business.

That still doesn't give you the right to dictate how the bank should schedule their employees.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: oceanus on February 20, 2013, 06:23:41 PM
Quote
That still doesn't give you the right to dictate how the bank should schedule their employees

nuit93, please show me exactly where and how I was "dictating" anything.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: nuit93 on February 20, 2013, 06:26:21 PM
Quote
That still doesn't give you the right to dictate how the bank should schedule their employees

nuit93, please show me exactly where and how I was "dictating" anything.

Perhaps I misinterpreted, but where you had stated "I don't want to help pay an employee for 40 hours if they are only working 20 hours on a regular basis" sounded to me like an attempt to influence/dictate how they operate.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: siamesecat2965 on February 22, 2013, 02:43:01 PM
I still think that's an issue between an employee and the person who hires/pays them.  Yes, it's my money that keeps them in business, but I'm not in charge of the agreement they have with the person who hires them as to what they will do all day.

My boss pays me according to what he sees fit to pay considering my work.  If I'm not worth what he's willing to pay, things change.  But that's between me and my boss - not a 3rd person.

I used to work in a retail shop (summer in-between college semesters) that had quite a bit of downtime.  It was a specialty shop.  And when there weren't customers in there, I did all I could do - I made sure the store was clean, I rearranged merchandise to get some of the stuff in the back up front, so it got noticed and possibly bought, I made sure the storeroom was clean.  I did everything I could think of to do.  But, even with all of that (and even as the only employee in the store), there ended up being a lot of downtime.  So I read.  I tried to read some of the books we had on the subject relating to the store (so I could be knowledgeable about our product and things like that).  But, when all else failed, I read my own books.  And put them aside the second a potential customer came in.  My boss - the owner of the shop - deemed it worthwhile to have me there despite the fact that there was downtime in which I didn't have anything to do in the shop.  It allowed her to leave and do things for herself.  In fact, I was given a key to the place, and there were weeks where I wouldn't see her at all; I was, seriously, the only person running the shop.  It was no one else's business what she paid me or if I had enough to do; it was solely hers and my business alone.  Even if the customers' money was financing my paycheck.

I also work in retail, PT. I work nights and saturdays (sometimes day, sometimes night) There are many guidelines from Corporate as to how many people are scheduled, when, etc. Many nights, there are 3 of us plus a manager on, and we have no customers. It's just not busy. So we will straighten the store, etc. but even so, there sometimes is downtime. managers then have the option to send people home, but they don't always, in case it DOES get busy.  We sometimes joke its silly to pay all of us and that it costs more to pay us, and keep the store open than we actually sell, but we have no control over that at all. its just the way things are.

Howefver, we are not allowed to read or do anthyihng like that on the sales floor.
Title: Re: Same issue treated differently
Post by: miranova on March 03, 2013, 12:05:07 PM
In any situation where an employee must be available at all times, regardless of the actual traffic to the store, there is a potential for downtime.  Downtime is not a sign that anyone is overpaid or that the store is not using their resources wisely.  As a customer, I would much rather have someone available at a variety of hours than have a store only open a few hours a day so that they can be sure they are always super busy and getting their money's worth out of their employees.

One summer I had a 2nd job in the afternoon for about 2.5 hours after the main boss wanted to leave for the day.  It was an office job and consisted of answering the phone and dealing with any walk in customers that had questions.  Sometimes the phone would not ring for hours.  However, they still wanted me there when it did and were willing to pay for it.  So, yeah, I had to do something with my downtime or I quite literally would have fallen asleep.  So I read.

I think if my manager had insisted that I do nothing but wait for the phone to ring, I would have found another job out of sheer boredom.

I do see a difference in a bank however and I can't quite pinpoint why.  I think if I were the manager I would offer other activities that you could do to fill time if necessary.  That way you don't have to be totally bored in between customers.