Between you and me, in my opinion, Melide is not the customer service capital of the world. Jeff describes it as All or Nothing. It’s either the best experience you’ve ever had, or the worst. And for me, it’s completely head scratching at times.
Today was one of those days. I had to go to the Correos office (Post office) to check on a package sent from here to a German friend. She has never received it, and it’s been a month. I also had a pocket knife she left at our house and I was mailing that to her, as well.
They looked up the first package and told me they knew nothing, except it is in Germany – somewhere. So much for package tracking in the year 2021. Then I said I wanted to mail her the Swiss Army knife she left at our house. The man looked horrified.
‘You can not mail a knife!’ As though I’d been dropped on my head as a child. ‘Its going on an airplane.’
This seemed curious to me. It’s in a padded envelope. ‘It will be in a container with other packages in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Where people with checked suitcases have their Swiss Army knives. The Flight Attendant isn’t carrying it in her apron.’
Surprise! This comment got me nowhere and didn’t endear me to the Correos guy. ‘You will have to find another way.’
‘And what would that be?’ I asked him. ‘I’m completely serious. Perhaps finding another German Pilgrim who is walking the opposite direction from Santiago, back home to Dusseldorf?’ Madness. I just shook my head and texted my friend. She will pick it up in the Spring when she visits.
Then I went to the bank. A new bank since ours has closed it’s branch here. We were not unhappy about the closure. The guy was so expertly rude every time we went there, he would stand outside smoking while a line formed inside, and he was the only person working in that bank branch. So I asked friends for recommendations, but none of them live in or near us in Galicia. I need to open another personal account, and then a business account in January when we begin buying things, etc. for our business. I had gone to the new bank once before but they turned me away without all the requisite documents I needed. I had gathered them today, so I went to get it done. This was my first mistake.
I went in and waited for the Director. In Spain, there is more of a hierarchy to things. I had to speak to that guy. To me, it’s like pantomime. Lots of posturing. If the dude is in a suit he will preen like a peacock. Other workers will defer to him like he’s the Oracle at Delphi. It’s weird to us Americans. Our important people and billionaires don’t wear suits. If you are important in the US you wear whatever the hell you damn well feel like. Even at work. Hoodies, old t-shirts, ripped jeans, pajamas and a pair of Louboutins to the grocery store. I’m not kidding. Dealer’s choice. In Spain, they look at you like you’re homeless.
The Director at a bank branch makes what a person working at McDonalds in the US makes. Except he is in a suit and doesn’t get a free meal with every shift. But it doesn’t matter. I needed him to open an account. They all ignored me. Almost to the extreme. Looking around me to help other customers. The bank manager gives me the once over. I sit down at his desk and refuse to leave. He sees my documents and he is forced to help me.
‘Well, I think it will be a problem for you. Maybe not today. But when you want to open your business account in January you will need to deposit €3,250. That’s the rule.’ Then he waited for my reaction.
‘And?’ I asked, confused.
‘It’s a lot of money. Do you have that much money?’
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I held up my Celine tote I was using to cart my documents to the bank and I shook it. Sure, usually I carry a €2 Decathlon mini-backpack around town. But not today. I got nothing. No reaction. Clearly, Mr. Bank Manager is no connoisseur of $3,000 handbags.
‘I think I can manage it.’ I assured him.
But he looked skeptical. ‘And where would that kind of money come from?’ He asked over his mask. Like I was going to have to rob my children’s piggy banks.
I laughed. He was serious. ‘From my account in the US.’
‘Can you prove it?’
I smiled, but he couldn’t see that. ‘Yes. I can prove it.’
‘Well.’ He told me. ‘It’s a lot of money. Perhaps you should think about it and come back.’
‘I don’t need to think about it.’ I told him.
‘Go speak to your husband and come back if you want to proceed.’
The dude was serious.
‘My husband will not be on this account. Based on the advice from our Spanish accountant.’ I told him.
‘Still. Speak to him.’
I was aghast. It was like a bad joke. A very bad joke. I rose, gathered my documents, walked outside, dialed Jeff, then regaled all of Melide with what the word ‘Fuck!’ sounds like in American ingles, in all it’s many forms. His hair blew back through the phone. ‘Fucking joking!’ ‘Fucking idiot!’ ‘Fucking patronize ME in his cheap-ass fucking suit?!’ I played all the hits for the old men with their canes on benches in the square as I marched my way to the car.
So now, I will head into Lugo tomorrow to go to my ITV appointment. I have to get our newly installed trailer hitch inspected and added to our ITV certification. And I’ll go to the bank there and see if I can get an account opened for myself. Jeff says I should go back to the bank with my statements after I open a new account in Lugo, and pull a Pretty Woman on Mr Bank Manager. ‘Remember me? I was in here before and you wouldn’t help me. See this number? <pointing to the balance> ‘Big mistake. Huge!’ <Swirling out the door, with a wave> ‘I gotta go shopping.’ But for now, I just hope and pray tomorrow is not another one of those days.