Friday, October 27, 2006

Back to school

Why is it so incredibly difficult sometimes to get Blogger to do what I want? I've spent the last hour and a half trying to create a post with a lot of pictures and its given me nothing but trouble. Blargh.

I spent this week trying to get used to the new job. 'My' branch is actually within the university, in a basement with a bunch of other student stuff-- cafeteria, convenience store, student services etc.-- and there are only three of us that work there. It's actually a satellite off of a bigger branch, so my days go like this: drive to bigger branch (across the street from the university), park, and check in with management there. Walk the 5-10 minute walk to get to this little tiny branch; work 4 hours; walk back to larger branch; and either work 3 hours or go home. A little weird, but it's working ok. There's so much that's different from Texas that just working takes a lot of concentration, something I'm not used to. Different procedures, different systems, different customers. That's the part that really amuses me here: the customer base is ALL STUDENTS.

Student banking is all about small amounts of money. Checks for 20 dollars, withdrawals for 10. Rolls of quarters for laundry, emergency checks from mom and dad. I've had numerous customers deposit handfuls of spare change. Many have come in with 3 or 4 checks for exactly the same amount, the result of splitting a utility bill or rent 4 ways in a student apartment; two kids came in with an honest-to-god PIGGY BANK and handed it to a teller, expecting her to exchange it for 'real money'. She gave them coin rollers instead, and they proceeded to a corner of the lobby where they sat down, dumped the pig, and spent 45 minutes there on the floor, rolling the coin. I'm used to a branch where we did lots of commercial business; transactions for tens of thousands of dollars didn't faze us at all. This micro-banking is new to me!

Another thing about the students is that they're so darn jovial. Picture this scene: dude 1 enters the bank lobby and starts filling out a deposit slip or whatever. Dude 2 enters.

Dude 2: "Dude! I haven't seen you in like 2 days! Where've you been, man?"
Dude 1: "I know, dude! Blah blah blah!"

They proceed to discuss last weekend, the coming weekend, their classes, and all their mutual acquaintences... loudly. Imagine hearing this discussion maybe 3 times every hour between various customers-- they ALL seem to know one another. They enter the bank in little groups even though only one of them has business to take care of, making me constantly think that there are people needing to be helped but no, they're all with that other guy. And I'd forgotten that in this curious sub-culture it's considered perfectly acceptable to wear pajama bottoms out in public. I'm trying to remember if I ever did that. I hope not.

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