If at first you don’t succeed…

… try a different location. This has become the common thread in many logistical things in Spain. I kid you not. And I mean logistical as in important things that should not have different answers coming from every which way. Coming from somewhere where things tend to be more standardized, for example in banking, it is one of the most frustrating things EVER.

You would think that rules for banking are things that are pretty regulated, not set up like franchises where there is one name but different owners (and answers) for every store. Case in point: I needed to open a bank account in order to get paid. Very important. Most banks won’t let you open an account without your NIE card (foreign ID) and an empadronamiento, an official doc confirming you live and pay rent/utilities where you say you do. All good and well. Except that you must wait a minimum of 2 1/2 months to get your NIE. I did not have mine yet and I needed to have a bank account by the second week of October. Furthermore, I did I want to take an extra day off of work to go wait for 6 hours (again, I kid you not) for 20 minutes of paperwork at a place in far, far away. What’s a girl to do? The answer was go to a different branch until you get the answer you want. Sounds ridiculous? It is.

Especially in banking here, every branch will likely tell you something different. It depends on the weather, the time, the worker, the worker’s relationship status at the time, whether the worker is happy about the lunch they ate, and probably how their parents are doing. In going to three different Santander banks, you will get three different answers of what you need to open an account. One told me just a passport. The other said absolutely not, that I would need an empadronamiento and my passport. The third said I needed my NIE.

You end up shopping between branches. You go around, ask the questions you need answered, and try to get the answer you want. Once you’re done shopping around, you re-group and decide which answer you liked best. Voila! Mission accomplished.

Does knowing this happens in the country I live make it easier to deal with? I have to admit, it doesn’t. It’s still frustrating and makes me have to do breathing exercises like I’m in labor.

Deep breath in, slow exhale.

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