The Check (or Cheque)

I went to my bank this lunchtime here in Brno in the Czech Republic with something I haven’t seen in quite a while – a paper cheque. Actually, it was a paper check as it originated in the good old US of A. I took it to the cashier and she took it and looked at it carefully. “What is it?” she asked. “A check,” said I, with a smile. I was asked to take my check and take a seat.

About five minutes later, one of the ladies from the back office came looking for the ‘American with the paper check’. I’m unsure as to which was more unusual – the American (naturalized) or the paper check!

We sat down at her desk and she pulled out a huge manual. Thumbing her way expertly through this massive tome she evidently found what it was she was looking for….that part of the system manual that told her how to deal with those archaic financial instruments – paper cheques. Within a few minutes, three ladies stood around the screen muttering to each other and trying to actually capture my check deposit in their system while yet a fourth held my check in the air and examined it suspiciously and closely all the while comparing it to photographs of various checks from various institutions. She and the other three then compared notes and with some satisfaction, were able to identify it to the system as a US Treasury check. After presenting passport and signing photocopies of said check and passport copy, navigating through multiple screens in their system, I was informed that my check would probably take around a month to show up in my account and that there would be a 500CZK fee ($25) for handling it. The ladies looked as if they had accomplished something and apologized to me for taking so much time…. “You see, we barely ever see paper checks here anymore…” one kindly explained to me.

 I left the bank feeling very old.

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