Friday, March 20, 2009

Banking Crisis

This was one for the record books. The other day, I stopped at the ATM to get some money and dang it, if it didn't give me 50 euro bills. As I've probably noted before, it's not hard to spend 50 euros in Paris but there's no way you can use a 50 to buy a baguette, a newspaper, or any other purchase under 20 euros. So I went on into the bank and asked the teller if she could give me smaller bills. Her response? We don't have change. I hope I didn't roll my eyes but that's what I felt like doing. Instead I just said thanks and left.

A little while later, I passed by another branch of my bank and thought I'd give it another go. This time the teller didn't give me an automatic no. Instead, he said he'd have to ask his colleague who happened to be busy with another client. Okay fair enough. So we waited and waited. Finally the colleague wrapped up the business with the other client and she told the teller who was "serving" me, yes fine. He made me fill out a form and took a photocopy of my ID. Then he opened up his drawer. Guess what? No change. He rooted around in another drawer for an additional set of keys and told me that he'd have to go downstairs to the safe. His colleague came along. After a bit, she came back up, searching for more keys, saying there was a problem with the safe. Finally, some 15 minutes after this whole ordeal started, my own teller re-emerged and handed over the three bills in change: 2 twenties and a ten.

I'd heard that banks were tight with credit these days but change?

6 comments:

debbie in toronto said...

too funny...I work for a bank so I can't believe they didn't have a couple of 20's in their drawers...

I was always using bills there because I couldn't see the change without my glasses well enough to be fast enough at the cash..they must have hated me..ha ha

Starman said...

If it wasn't so true, it would be hilarious. It does make one wonder though. They must receive change at any place which deals with money (including banks), what do they do with all that change?
BTW, you've been there long enough to know that the conversation is only beginning when a clerk tells you "no".

EMMELYN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lady jicky said...

Try the Post Office - I drove them Crazy with my Traveller cheques that noone wanted to exchange.
They are usually "nice" at the Post Office - though , there was this one bitch.......

Ksam said...

Actually, it's not crise-related at all. More and more banks are no longer keeping any money on hand for fear of being robbed. I suppose theft is more common nowadays because of the crise, but it's certainly not a new practice. About five years ago, I once had to go to 5 different banks in Rennes before I finally had one with cash on hand!

Rick D said...

Anne,

I had this problem all over France. Markets, bakeries, etc. would claim "no change" when I proffered 20- or 50-Euro note. Bank clerks would look at me with a combination of disdain and pity when I asked for change. The only solution that worked for me: when the purchase is rung up and the pastries wrapped to go, hand over your 50E and simply wait for change. The seller's option is to reverse the sale or find change. I always got change.

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