We don’t want you in OUR BANK!

We found that certain Credit Union and stood in line to see a bank clerk. When our turn came we told the person behind the counter….”we have just moved here from England and we are carrying rather a large amount of cash around with us so we would like to open a bank account and put this money in a safe place”. She replied “Do you have an account with us already?”. At this point I pinched Lester because I could see the puzzled look on his face and knew he was going to come out with one of his ‘Unfiltered comments’. I spoke up quickly “No we just moved here from England, yesterday in fact, your bank was recommended to us and we would like to open an account”. She picked up the phone and talked to someone and then asked us to go and sit down in the waiting area where someone would come and get us and help us open an account! “Have a nice day” she said, but she was already looking at her next customer, so I knew she didn’t really mean it.

We waited for about ten minutes, which was OK! Lester took a pack of sweets from Joanna’s stash, to try. He opened a yellow bag of something called ‘butterfinger bbs’ which were little balls of something covered in chocolate.  He popped on in his mouth and crunched into it.  The look on his face was comical.  Jo and I both stopped what we were doing and looked at him, expecting him to throw up at any minute.  Joanna had that same expression on her face the first time she ate spinach in Paris the previous year. He definitely couldn’t swallow what was in his mouth and fled to the bathroom. Jo took the offending pack of what ever they were called and looked at it.  She opened it up ad sniffed at the contents and then dropped them in the trash.  As I said in my last blog….a process of elimination.

Just as Lester came back from a door opened and a pleasant-looking lady called our name. We followed her into an office and she made small talk for a while.  Asking us why we were moving to the US etc.  Loved our accents and told us about places we should visit.  Whilst doing this she was arranging paperwork on the desk in front of us.  She handed a wad of forms to Lester, clipped on a board and gave him a pen. While he started the long process of filling out the paperwork, she went and got us all drinks.

Filling these forms out was difficult as we did not yet have a permanent address so we had to put the address of the motel we were staying in.  At least Lester had a business address, which was something.  We skipped over the whole Social Security number thing.  We both had English Social Security numbers of course, but didn’t know what they were as it was something you really didn’t use that often. When our banker lady came back about ten minutes later, Lester had almost finished filling out the forms. He reviewed them and gave them back to her.  We watched her face as she reviewed them.  There was a problem right away. 

“You didn’t put your social security number down” she said. “We don’t have one, unless you want us to look up our English one, but we would have to go back to the motel and look it up in our paperwork” She started to look uncomfortable. “You have to have a Social Security number” she said.  Lester started to look irritated. “We don’t have one, if someone tells us where to get one, we will get one, but we don’t have one yet, we only arrived here last night” I told her. “Come back and open an account when you get one then” she said a little sarcastically.  I was blown away and barely kept control of my voice. “We are walking around with over fifteen thousand dollars in cash and you can’t offer us the safety of a bank to deposit that money until we get one of these Social Security numbers?” I asked her. “Yes, that right” I could see her looking over her shoulder and I looked behind me to see a security guard watching us. I stood up, feeling tearful, what was going on?  I looked at Lester, I could see he didn’t want to argue with her, he was disgusted.  She didn’t want to offer any help, or explinations….she just wanted us out of her office.  If she had said “Have a nice day” as we left, I would have turned around and punched her.

We stood outside in the chilly January air wondering what had just  happened and why we weren’t welcome at that bank.  Why had no one told us about the Social Security Number issue, and where the heck did we go to get one?

The incident in the bank had made us feel like unwelcome criminals, so we decided to go and grab some food to take back to the motel with us, and a bottle of wine.  We were still jet-lagged too, so emotions were running high and energy was running low.  Tomorrow was another day!


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