Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting a Bank Account - Part 2

This happened a few weeks ago, but I realized I never completed the story of setting up our personal bank account. At the end of part one, we had our accounts, but not yet the checkbook or actual credit card - that all comes later. Since we had provided our PO Box (and since this was one of the primary reasons we got a PO box) we expected to get the checkbook and credit card in the mail. Instead, they courier everything and request a signature. In fact, this has happened with so many things, we're starting to wonder why we have a PO box at all!

The challenge was that Brian needed to be at the hotel to sign for these deliveries (they wouldn't let me do it) and they were always later than the time Brian had agreed to so they kept missing him. Finally, we decided to go down to the post office and just pick up the credit card package and make things easier (we did manage to get the checkbook in the meantime).

We got to the Post Office about 7:45pm (the PO closes at 8pm so in typical Stoll fashion, we were cutting it close on time!!) We went to the main PO and waited for our number to be called and then found out we were in the wrong building. There is the Post Office, called Emirates Post and then their is the delivery division of the PO, called EmPost. Luckily, the buildings are right next to each other, but it was only a few minutes before 8pm so we had to hustle.

We got to EmPost and a man was just closing the door and wouldn't let us in. Our gestures to the clock that said we still had 2 minutes were ignored. So, and I'm not proud of this, I tried the "distraught woman approach". I explained, in a very quiet and sad voice, that we had been at the Post Office waiting and then found out we had to come here to pick up our important package ... didn't work. Then I tried, in the same voice, to explain that the package was supposed to be delivered to our hotel, but that the delivery person was 3 hours late (true) and that we really needed to get the package today (not quite true). He perked up and said that if we were trying to find a missed delivery package, we should go around to the back garage and find the delivery people, and that we should find our package there. Success!!

We sprinted (okay, maybe not sprinted, but we did walk fast) around the building and into the garage (after a wrong turn) and eventually found the delivery folks' hive of activity. We explained our situation to one gentleman and once he realized it was from our bank told us we had to go to the EmPost office ... yes, the office we had just come from! I pulled out the distraught woman voice again and explained we had just been there and the whole story. He said he was sorry, but the package was in the other building. Then, Brian had the brilliant idea to ask him to call over to the other building and ask them to let us in (since we knew we weren't getting past that door guy up there!) We looked forlorn and sad and the man took pity on us and walked us over to the building himself. We still couldn't get in, so he went up the back stairs, got our package for us and had Brian sign for it. Success!!

Lessons learned this adventure:
  • Persistence pays off - keep asking for what you want, ask if someone else can help you, ask again
  • Wait until they acknowledge you - not sure if it's cultural or just politeness, but if you just stand there and wait for a different answer, sometimes you get it
  • Many people here want to help you - sometimes you just have to give them the idea how
  • Distraught woman voice should be used sparingly, but works! :)

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