Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Bank, ou la banque!

We will be taking a mild interruption in the blog challenge so I can tell you of the most 'french' typical story that has happened to me within this last week. 

Last Friday night, I was with a couple of friends and I needed to stop at an ATM to get some money out from my French Bank Account, Société Générale. One of my friends used the ATM before me and it worked perfectly. Then I use it, and well the machine eats my card. Now, this part is my fault. I kept trying to use my American pin number instead of my french one. Not a smart move on my behalf, at least I am willing to accept the error of my ways.

So, I decided to go to the bank downtown on Saturday to tell them and see what could be done about the situation. Well, the Bank is closed. On Monday, I venture out between my classes to my bank by campus, it is closed. Finally, on Tuesday I went back to the bank downtown and told them my issue. They said, "Oh Well, since you used a different cash machine it could take that bank up to two weeks to send us your card." So, I was on the verge of hitting someone in the face. All I need is a card made of plastic with a little chip on it, which looks fake, so I can get the money that is in my account in my wallet. Very simple. Well, I breathe and remember that I am in France and that this is the way that this is done. So, I kindly ask the madame in my best French possible, if we can cancel the card and have them send me a new one. "Oh, yes that is possible. You can have it in 48 hours." - Excellent! 

After I finished with my bank card dilemma, I decided to withdraw money physically from the bank. Well, as soon as I got the the Tellers, they told me they needed an approval from my bank branch by campus. 

So on Wednesday I went to my branch by campus and asked to withdraw money. Well the response I received was "Ohh... well I will send a not to the main branch [the one I had been at the day before] and you can pick it up there, because we don't have money here." [Umm... I thought you were a bank! How can a bank not have money? That's like saying a Gas station has no gas! Or going to a butcher and they tell you they have no meat, or going to Starbucks and they tell you they have no coffe!] 

Finally, the next day I went to the main branch to take my money out and pick up my card, since it had been 48 hours. I receive my money... FINALLY!! As soon as I get in line to pick up my new bank card, they say "Ohh no, you have to go to your branch [the one by campus] and pick it up there!" 

Really!???? Are you kidding me? AM I ON CANDID CAMERA? I do not believe this! 

I guess this is the typical french situation. I will never understand this bizarre system and do not like all the turns I have to do to do two simple things. 
1- Cancel my card and get a new one.
2- Withdraw money from my account!

I guess "Bienvenue en France!" [Welcome to France!]



  1. oh yea you definitely have to run about 10 laps of the whole city to get anything done here XD

  2. I understand completely. I went to the bank, and put my entire stipend in...not realising that I would not have any money while it took two days to process the cash. Where else in the world does it take two days to process cash!?

  3. that sounds like such a headache!!

  4. no the igloo bed was really comfortable actually! the sleeping bag was huge and fluffy :)

  5. Oh gosh, what a pain! Just breathe deeply and remember you are in France ;)

    P.S. I love the fun header on your blog!