The other day I stepped into a branch of my Tel Aviv bank to get some information.
What rate do you charge for converting a pound check to shekels?
I don’t know, said the clerk. Go see the manager.
I knocked on the door, entered the manager’s office and repeated the question.
Do you bank at this branch? asked the manager
No. I replied
They’ll have the answer at your branch.
But I’m asking you.
I didn’t budge.
The manager proceeded to shuffle papers, concentrate fixedly on his computer screen, leave the office, return, sign papers, take a phone call…He doesn't know..I realized. But he doesn't want to admit it and he doesn't want to find out either. HA!
What was your question?
I repeated my question. He exited the office again and I strained to listen as he quietly asked a clerk my question.
He returned. Sat. Said:
When you deposit the check, a window will pop up on the bank computer screen with the amount we charge for the service.
Okay, I warned. I’m switching to English. (uh oh, look out. here comes mother tongue)
That is an Absolutely Ridiculous Answer. You base the charges that “Pop up on the Screen” on a Percentage. What is that percentage? I asked.
Enter helpful clerk who explained the rate - less than 1% of the total amount of any foreign currency check. I exited with mixed feelings of incredulity and blase. My acculturation must be coming along.
For the record, the ACTUAL rate turned out to be a fixed $3 per check fee. Nada on anything remotely close to a percentage base. AHHHHH!!!!!!