February 25, 2010

Another Day in Bureaucratic Limbo: The Mind-Numbingly Frustrating Sequel

Or, more accurately, trequel, since the original day in bureaucratic limbo was actually the second horrible Italian bureaucratic experience I had. Read about the original one in the p.s.

(I know trequel not a real word because I invented it right now. It means third sequel, if you hadn't figured that out already. :)

Remember this wonderful day? Well unfortunately, a similar situation seems to have presented itself.

I was slowly getting over my bank hate, when I was faced with the arduous task of opening a bank account here in Spain. I thought that being an EU passport holder it wouldn't be so difficult.
Man was I in for a surprise.

I won't bore you with the long drawn out version, but essentially I had to go to the police station to get a document saying that I wasn't a resident of Spain -  which both my passport and Italian national ID card clearly state, but whatever - and bring this document back to the bank to open my account. The problem is that both the police station and the bank are only open until 2 pm (although banks are also open on thursday afternoons from 5-7, thank god), and I work until 4. So logistically it's pretty much impossible for me to be go to either of those place without taking a day off, which I did, on Monday, to get everything I needed. This afternoon I went to the bank to finally open my account (since I need to be paid tomorrow), and apparently the people at the police station forgot to put an essential number on my document, so I couldn't open my account, I won't get paid tomorrow, and I have to take off another half day to go back to the police station, and in my broken Spanish explain to them that they stupidly forgot an essential part of the document I requested, while asking them to do me the favor of giving me this important number.

In short, I probably won't get paid tomorrow, the Bank is an asshole for wanting all this ridiculously unnecessary information, and, as usual, the people working at police stations are all incompetent fools.

I swear I could dedicate a whole blog just to the ridiculousness that is Western European Bureaucracy.

p.s. Want to hear all about the first time I really started hating banks?  It all started back in the fall of 2007. Let's take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

A  Facebook Note, November 22, 2007

A word to the wise: if you live in north america and think your bank sucks monkey butt, i advise that you reconsider. this is a little story i like to call the monday julia had to pick up her scooter at the crack of dawn before crossing the city to get to work but couldn't because the banking system is so archaic they're probably still writing numbers on the ground with sticks.

a little background information... italian banks are prehistoric. seriously, the cavemen who run these dumps have the brain capacity of a paperclip and the resources of a rock. when i opened my account, they wouldnt give me a regular debit card because they said they needed to develop a "3 month rapport with the client" first, so they give me this stupid "friends" card which i can only use to withdraw at my bank's atms... as though with a regular debit card i could perpetrate some incredible bank busting scheme! plus, you can only deposit checks with a teller and they take a week to clear!! but thats beside the point...

anyway... so i have to go to the bank and then the mechanic, and of course, i live between the two, so i have to walk in one direction to the bank and then the other to the mechanic (which turns out to be moot in the end). so i go to the atm to take out money to pay the mechanic (because obviously he's a shady italian mechanic that only takes cash) and the atm says no withdrawal available. weird. but then the other atm does the same thing. you'd think i could go across the street to the other bank and try theirs. wrong. with my stupid "friends" card, i can't use other atms. so i go in the bank, wait in line for a freaking teller for 30 minutes, like its the 1950s and atms dont even exist yet, and the idiot finally tells me that of course there's not cash in the atms, because they load in the cash on friday and over the weekends people take it all... obviously reloading the atms with cash at the beginning of the work week is too broad a concept for them to wrap their minds around. so i give him my "friends" card and ask to make a withdrawal directly from the bank, but he says i need all of my account numbers, which, surprise surprise, i don't happen to be carrying in my back pocket. so he says no dice, and i leave the bank having lost 30 minutes of my life and with no money. so, to sum up, they wont give me a regular ATM card, because we don't have a "rapport" yet, and they'll only give me one i can use only at their ATMs. but they don't put money in their ATMs, and since i cant use the card to withdraw money from a teller, or any other bank, they have all my money and i cant get to it until some jackass realizes it just might be time to put cash in the stupid cash machines...
not to mention the fact that the teller was straight out of Saturday night fever, complete with the purple polyester unbuttoned shirt, chest hair, a medallion, and a bad curly comb-over...
...needless to say i didn't make it to the mechanic and was forced to endure one and a half hours of the city's excuse for public transit (but thats another story for another day)...

it seriously makes bank of america seem like some unbelievable prophecy about the amazing future of customer service... i miss RBC* :(

* For all you non-Cananadans**, RBC is Royal Bank of Canada

** Yes, I am aware that's not the proper adjective to describe someone from Cananada***

*** Fine. Canada. Canadian. You happy now?

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