Wednesday, February 4, 2009

La Fortuna Banking- Whimsical Banking BITCHES!


2 Money Orders sent to me, by my mother who lives in Portland Maine- one for Christmas, the other, my birthday. Just so you know- sending an envelope to Costa Rica has a much better chance of reaching its destination (intact) than sending a package. Let’s just say packages could end up under someone else's Christmas tree. Both Money Orders total a mere $300.00.

As the story continues, keep in mind:

- In Costa Rica, Money Orders can take up to 30+ days to clear. So, it’s not as if you’ll be seeing cash anytime soon.
- Three years ago, upon arriving in Costa Rica, I did deposit a Money Order for $500.00 without a hitch (same bank).
- It is a TRUISM, in Costa Rica, branches of the SAME BANK do not necessarily provide the same services, and even the BASE services are subjectively applied from branch to branch.
- My Spanish is EXTREMELY suspect. (More on that in an upcoming post).
- My bank is Banco de Costa Rica (BCR).

I take my Christmas Money Order and patiently wait in line. Now, to a Tico, waiting in ‘any’ line is a social occasion, even at the bank, and often I half expect them to pull out a picnic basket and yard darts. To a gringo here, waiting in ‘a line’ is a chance to practice what Oprah and Eckhart Tolle explain as, ‘Being ‘ONE’ with the Moment.’ Trust me, Oprah and Eckhart would have their 'oneness' severely tested here in Costa Rica. *Yeah I know, I don’t see Oprah waiting in a line either.

Long story short, it didn’t get deposited; had something to do with the date, and the fact the teller thought it was a personal check. After that, I just heard the Spanish equivalent of blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, my birthday approached and the second Money Order arrived. I had to figure something out.

Enter my friend, José. Tico, perfect English, even knows our slang. He called my bank and talked to someone. At first, they didn’t know what a Money Order was, then after talking to several people, it was discovered I needed a personal ‘Contract’ with the bank, so they could ‘except’ my ‘International checks.’ What the FUCK EVER. Even José was miffed.

José called his bank, BAC San José and asked them about the Money Orders. He’s been with BAC for like 20 years; and yes they knew what Money Orders were and yes he could deposit them in his account and give me the money when they cleared. I’ll believe that, when I see it.

We walked over. Same line, same picnic, and Oprah was nowhere in sight.

The first teller did a lot of smiling, but wouldn’t accept them as she didn’t know what they were. José insisted she call someone. Enter the manager. First, she flatly said "NO". (Whimsical Banking Bitch). Then come to find out, only one person in the ENTIRE bank could ‘approve’ the Money Orders, and she was NOT IT- ‘he’ had left 15 minutes prior and wouldn’t be back for the day. José wouldn’t let it go. He told them he was a ‘valued’ customer (which he was), he had talked to someone prior and they said it was okay, and blah, blah, blah. They refused. José shook his head, but he had some banking of his own, so proceeded to do so.

Suddenly, after José’s transaction, the original teller decided she would take the Money Orders (Whimsical *smiling* Banking Bitch). I signed and handed them over. 5-minutes into the transaction, the computer pops up that the transaction needed ‘approval’.

The Money Orders are still hanging on the refrigerator.

This is Costa Rica- 5 different tellers- 5 different answers; hence, WHIMSICAL BANKING BITCHES……………Although some DO smile.

Tons of Videos on Costa Rica at the Costa Rica Travel Channel and if you're planning on Living or Traveling to Costa Rica, then check out Travel Costa Rica NOW for all your INFORMATION. And see ALL our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos on YouTube. ENjOY!

2 comments:

Raven said...

AGGGGGHHHH! "Whimsical" is a very good word to use for these bitches! You just never know who is going to know what to do or not to do or find the right person or not... it could go on into infinity. Times like these that try our souls and all that... you either want to laugh or cry, though frequently I find myself doing both! It took me having an account at BAC a year before they'd cash international checks (and by "cash" I mean "deposit in my account while I wait several weeks for the money to show up"), and I still have problems (like every time I try to deposit one, the teller asks if I have authorization for doing so--shouldn't they already know this?), and I'm really not surprised no one knows what a money order is. Oh wait, except for that one guy who "just left the building"...must have been Elvis. Sigh.

with michael alan said...

There's really nothing to say, BANKING in Costa Rica is an adventure EVERY time out. Always something 'weird' and 'random'. And NEVER to 'our' advantage it seems.