Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Attack Of The Clones - Part Two

So, this morning I had to go to the Police Station to pick up my Police Report. Once I have that, I can go to my bank, make the refund claim and pick up my new ATM card. Shouldn't take long, I thought, so I didn't take a book or anything. We all make mistakes.

The police gave me a queue ticket, number 92. The display in the Room of Despair said 121. There were nine other people in the room. I couldn't work this out. If it goes up to 999 and then round again, where are the other 878 people? I don't know, but in the first forty-five minutes another eight people arrived, and nobody left. Then a skinny police lady arrived at the door, and took a couple of people away. Ten minutes later she took some more. The next time she came there was a slight altercation when somebody accidentally tried to jump she queue. Easily done: she wasn't calling numbers, just 'next'. So we all showed each other our queue tickets, and got organised. I was next but one, and then I was next. When she called me in, she printed off a copy of the report, had me read it and sign it, and then printed off three more copies for me to sign. And that was it. No interrogation, no requests for evidence, no nothing. They could have just printed off the copies and left them by the door somewhere - all I would have to do is show up, sign the buggers, and take my copy. Deeply narked, I was.

Then I headed across town to my bank. It's only a small branch: there's the cashier, the manager, and one or two clerks. Today there was only one clerk, Paula, the one who speaks English. She was busy with a customer. I waited happily for a quarter of an hour, but there was no sign of their transaction approaching completion. After half an hour I began to pace the room, making sure that Paula knew I was there. Half an hour after that, Paula left her desk to adjust the air conditioning. I asked her how much longer she was going to be. Maybe ten more minutes, she said. Shortly after that she went into the boss's office for a chat, and then he came out. He crossed his arms and spoke to the customer.

'So, this planet you want to buy with our money...'

'Yes?'

'What do you want it for?'

'I'm going to build lots of palm-tree-shaped islands on it, and build lots of little houses on them. I will sell the houses to mad people.'

'Okay, good plan, but have you considered there is a Crisis Economica on at the moment?'

'Yes, yes, but it is the duty of the banks to keep lending, to help dig us out of this hole you created.'

'Yes, of course. Okay, twenty trillion Euros is quite a lot, but I think I can trust you to pay it back.'

I am tearing my hair out by this time. I have no fucking idea what this woman wants or why it is taking so long to sort it out. I am also dying of starvation because I have had no breakfast, and I can't just leave, because I have no cash on me and my ATM card has been cancelled. In short, I am inches away from killing someone. The manager notices this, and comes over to talk to me. I don't particularly want to talk to him as he has no English whatsoever. But I have no choice.

I show him the police report. His eyes get slitty and he invites me to sit down.

'So, you were in Milan two days ago, withdrew some money, and now you are pretending it was stolen.'

'No, you arse, look at the date and time on here, when I reported it to your Tetuan branch, fifteen minutes after it happened.'

'Yes, okay, but you ordered a replacement card before this happened. Why was that?'

'Because it's split. Look.'

'Yes, okay, but the replacement card has been here for over a week, and you never bothered to collect it. Why not?'

'Because you never told me it was ready.'

And so on.

He gets a file folder and a fat red felt pen. Writes 'FRAUDE' on the front. Writes 'Keffieboy' under that. Fills in some forms and scribbles all over the copies of the documents I've given him.

Then he gets the replacement card that I'd ordered. I look at it. The number is exactly the same as the original. I tell him this is no good. He agrees, and cuts both of them up and staples the bits into his file. It is three p.m. by now, and I notice the cashier seems to be locking up the money.

I tell the manager I need some cash. He begins to say no, but then realises that this really, really, would not be a good move. He tells the cashier to unlock the money. She whinges like hell, but does it anyway.

Then we get down to me needing a replacement replacement ATM card. He asks the cashier to check the afternoon mail. Amazingly, there is a new new card for me - apparently when a card is cancelled, their system automatically orders a new one, and it takes two days to make them. They always hold cards at the branch, which is a relief, because I notice it is addressed to my old address in Chueca. He grills me about why I have not informed them that I've moved. I tell him I did, and he looks on the computer (which has finally finished the slowest boot-up process since 286s were hot). My old address is listed as primary, the new one as an alternative. It takes him 10 minutes to get the system to accept the new one as the real one.

It seems my PIN will have been sent to my old address (ex-neighbour Neil - free beer if you're reading this and can pick it up). Finally, the bank manager, after possibly the most exciting day of his life, thanks me for my patience (now I can spot sarcasm in Spanish), and we wrap it up. It is 3.45 p.m., which is a bit late for breakfast, even in Spain, and I am completely exhausted.

Moral of the story: take a good book whenever you have to deal with cops or banks: if nothing else, you can hit them with it.

5 comments:

Colin said...

It's probably no consolation to know that when you are fluent in Spanish it will desert you at times like this. So, do remember that multi-use book.

MADrid REDS said...

Throw the book at them next time Keef!!!! I'll keep my eyes peeled for your new PIN...

Mme Cyn said...

For some reason, I'm not able to see old posts. Do I gather that you got plucked in Milan?

Keefieboy said...

Mme Cyn - can't see old posts? Just go to probablymadrid.blogspot.com - u should see it all there. 'Plucked' - I like it. No, I wasn't in Milan: the only time I've been there was about 30 years ago.

Mme Cyn said...

Lordy -- that happened to me with my US account a year or so ago. I actually watched on line as my checking account got drained in Corpus Christie Texas, $109 dollarss at a time (odd aount, I know). In the time it took me to get on the phone with my US bank to the time they could cancel the card, there were three more hits to the account. I front of my eyes. It was just chance that I was checking my accout when it all went on.

They fleeced me for about $700 , but it was all reimbursed -- not sure if they caught the thief or not.

Thank God I have a good bank.