Banking in Spain is a real treat. They open at 8:30 and close at 2:00, except for Fridays in which they close at 1:30. There is always bankers shuffling papers and hustling around and I wonder to myself, "What could they possibly be doing?" With virtual baking in place and the innovation of the ATM what is there to do for so many people. Especially since they never seem to know anything. I was waiting for a transfer into our bank account and decided since this was the fourth day and it still had not arrived that it would be best for me to ask if they could determine the status. Nothing like brain surgery just looking on the computer and seeing whether it was pending.
-Can you see if there is a transfer pending on the account?
-Of course, just a minute. I see nothing pending.
-Okay, how many days does it usually take?
-How long did your last transfer take?
-Well then it takes four days.
-I have waited four days and it still has not arrived.
-It could post this afternoon. I would check in the morning if I were you.
-Wait a second. You just looked and said nothing was pending. How could it post this afternoon?
-Well if its about to post I can't see that.
What?? You would think that a modern country could figure out its banking. Now, at this point due to various banking hurdles. My programs need money. I asked my Italian equivalent to Western Union me some money. I go to the post office which is also a Western Union office.
I enter the post office. There is no one in there. I go the counter and the gentlemen tells me that I need a ticket to determine my place in line. I am the only person there. But okay, I follow directions. There are 3 choices: send mail, receive mail or other. I select other. I wait for a few minutes until the gentlemen changes the digital sign for it to have my number. I go the counter, again, and he asks me what I need. I explain that I need to receive money from Western Union. He says, oh well that is at that counter over there. He points to the other side of the room. I go to the other counter. A few minutes later the same guy walk around from the original counter to this one. He says, hello (as if this is our first interaction) what can I help you with? I repeat, I need to receive money from Western Union. He says, oh, okay and he leaves.
Time passes and a woman comes from out of nowhere and says, hello what I can I help you with? I state my business once again. She hands me a form and asks me to fill it out. I have already filled it out so I present her with it. She looks at it and says well you have put the city and country in the wrong places this form has to be done again. Okay. I refill out the form, in triplicate. Sigh. I hand it to her. She at this point decides that she should start her computer. We wait as it boots for another five minutes. She seems to be filling out the online access information. Things print. And then she looks at the amount and she says, I don't have this much money.
What???? Who does that! She looks at me as if I can help. I am not sure what to say, so I just stand there and look at her. Until finally, she says to me that she will need to go to the safe and get more out. This will take any where between 10-20 minutes. I have no other choice, I say okay. The next thing I see is that the same lady is sitting behind the first counter changing the numbers on the digital screen. She spends at least 10 minutes over there doing who knows what.
Eventually, I do receive the money. When she gives it to me she tells me to stick it far into my purse and go straight home. I respond, "Of course, thank you."
I can't wait to be in a country where I can't even remember the last time I went inside a bank. God Bless the USA.