The queue in the bank was long and tempers were growing shorter by the minute. People were sighing, rolling their eyes. One or two tutted loudly as the delay continued. What can I say? It was the 1990s, we were all Thatcher’s children.

I tuned in to what was going on at the counter. Something about the account being online, contact by internet or phone only. The customer said she just wanted to speak to someone face-to-face here and now, wasn’t that possible? She might as well have asked to open an account on Neptune.

Cut to some years later and that customer is me, just a woman of a certain age and hair colour, standing before a teller, asking him for an appointment with a real live human being.

There are a lot of us about, and our number is growing. For we are the people whose local bank branches have closed. We are the shoppers who scan our own groceries because the supermarket sacked the cashiers. We are every punter who has ever been held in a phone queue against their will, who has fumed at being told their custom is important, but not important enough to employ more staff to answer the phones.

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We are here, many are grey, and we are not going away. Not that age matters terribly. If you are fed up with second-rate services, welcome to our rebellion.

The good news is someone has noticed. After a decade in which the number of local bank branches has halved, one building society, Nationwide, has renewed its 2019 promise to stay on the high street. As the ads say: “If we currently have a Nationwide branch in your town or city, we’ll still be there until at least 2026.”

Long may it continue. The move has been supported by the campaigning group Anecdotal evidence suggests the building society is on to a winner with this one.

There is research, too. In a Nationwide survey of 2000 plus people conducted earlier this month, 63% said they valued their local branch. Asked why, 40% said face-to-face service, with 36% saying it benefitted older people or those with vulnerabilities. Keeping local branches makes sound sense financially and socially.

The policy could easily be applied to other services. Yet customers in general have been told for years that digital or phone is the only way to go. It’s faster, say firms, more efficient, safer (they never like to say it is more profitable, but it is). Anyone who has ever spent hours on the phone to customer services would recognise the lie about effectiveness and speed.

As for safety, Police Scotland said this week there were 17,000 fraud cases last year - 95% of them online. One victim - or nearly victim, he got his money back - was John Donald, a small business owner.

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Mr Donald was on Reporting Scotland on Monday, part of a item warning viewers about online fraud. The con was “very, very sophisticated”, he said. Even so, he was suspicions and tried to contact his bank, as is routinely advised. But he could not get through. Subsequently, £100,000 was taken from his business account.

As life has moved online, criminals have come along for the ride. Fraud is on the increase - rising 68% since 2018, with only 16% of cases detected.

It is not just older or vulnerable people who are at risk. Who knows how many millions have been caught out by scams, the latest of which is to send a text claiming money is due on a parcel before it can be collected. People are still being plagued by cold callers and scammers, despite moves meant to stop them.

Providing services that benefit older costumers and disabled people makes business sense. More than that, it is the right thing, the fundamentally decent thing, to do. That we have been persuaded to believe otherwise in some cases is just part of the great consumer hoodwinking.

It is hard to say precisely when this shifting of power from the individual to the organisation began. You could argue it has always been there, in with the bricks of capitalism. The state has been quick to capitalise on it, arguing, like business, that it is better, faster, safer to go digital and automated. We trust they are right, but we are so often proved wrong.

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Why do we go along with it? For the most part there is no choice. If you don’t like that your bank has closed its branch then tough. Switch to another. Fed up standing in a queue to scan your own groceries? There’s another supermarket down the road. It’s the free market, operating as it should.

But you can’t shop around for welfare benefits, say, or an appointment with a GP. It’s take it or leave it. And how free is any market when it one side makes most of the rules?

People don’t complain for various reasons. It does no good anyway, they think. Or they are embarrassed. They don’t want to seem behind the times, despite being part of a generation that has experienced more change, and at a faster rate, than any other.

There will always be people who cannot, for whatever reason, go online and they should not be penalised for it. We cannot stand by and allow some Darwinian survival of the fastest broadband to take hold, because next time it could be you, or me, who is excluded. Left unchecked, the computer will say no to most of us eventually.

Back to the woman standing in front of the bank teller. An appointment was made and I eventually got to sit down with someone who was of an age with my handbag. A nice chap he was too. But as time went on he just could not resist trying to convert me to internet banking. It’s a cult, I tell you.

Aren’t you worried about fraud, I asked. Nah, says he. Online is much safer, two factor authentication and all that. And if anything does go wrong, the insurance will pay. No problem.

Have you ever tried to claim on insurance, I say. Of course he hadn’t.

If it had not been for the bank having to close for the day, I might still be there, boring the face off him about the insurance market. But I think he got the point. The consumer rebellion is here, be part of it.