At one point I was having a hard time finding change, and I went to the bank to exchange large bills for small ones. I wrote a post about that.
Now I’ve been having the reverse problem: I have too much change and small bills and want to change them for large bills. “This should be a piece of cake,” I thought. “The banks are in a dearth of small bills, so this will be a boon for them.”
After waiting in line on my first visit, I made it to the counter. I explained what I needed and began pulling out piles of small bills and putting them on the counter. The clerk looked at me in horror and was saying, “No, no, no, we can’t change those here.” What? He then went and got a manager who also looked quite put out and re-iterated that they couldn’t change my small bills for large ones.
“Because we don’t have any large bills at the bank.” Yeah right.
“So where can I get this done in Haiti? Where can I change my small bills for large ones? What can I do?”
“The only thing we can do is let you deposit all that in your account.”
“Ok. Let’s do that.”
“What’s your account number?”
“I don’t know, but here is my Driver’s License, just look me up on your computer.”
“We can’t do that on our computer, come back another day when you have your account number.
With that I was unceremoniously given the boot.
Bank Visit 2:
Armed with my account number, I went to the bank again. There was the same resistance to help, and they showed much angst that they were going to have to count all these small bills, but after much discussion and persuasion they agreed to do it. About twenty minutes later, the deposit had been put into my account.
With a sigh of relief, the bank clerk said, “Fini!” as she handed me deposit slip.
“Not quite. I still have one more transaction I would like to do today.”
“I would like to do a withdrawal now, for the exact amount I just deposited.”
More looks of horror. “No! You can’t do that!” Once again the bank manager was summoned and she seconded the clerk, “It is against bank policy to do a withdrawal and a deposit on the same day.”
I told them I didn’t need to wait for this deposit to clear, because I already had that much money in my account already. They didn’t budge. “Come back another day if you want to get money out.”
After waiting in line about an hour, I was once again in front of a bank teller. I had a withdrawal slip in my hand which had been dutifully filled out, including my bank account number.
“We’re sorry, you can’t pull money from your account with only a withdrawal slip, you must write a check to yourself. That’s the only way to get money from your account.”
I was incredulous. The only way to get money from my account was to write a check to myself??
“Where are your checks?”
Luckily I had thought to bring them, they were in my pocket. Before coming to the bank I had grabbed them from my backpack. Now, I pulled them out of my pocket and opened the checkbook. To my dismay, only the complimentary transaction slips were in there, not any checks! The check had fallen out in my backpack, which was back at home.
“If you don’t have checks we can’t give you money.”
“Is there anything you can do?”
“Nothing,” she said curtly as she rang the little bell for the next person behind me to come to the window.
A bit depressed, I left the bank for the third time. That was today. We shall see if a fourth visit will finally yield what I initially wanted, “To simply change some small bills for large ones.”
I had about 1,000 small bills. Thank about going into a US bank and having a 1,000 ones and asking for ten hundreds? It wouldn’t be a big deal.
Oftentimes there are frustrating situations here and it is important to keep things in perspective. This isn’t a life and death scenario. Everything will work out ok in the end.