on cashing foreign cheques…

So my cheque for PostScripts arrived in the mail yesterday. (Woot for publications which pay on acceptance!) It was such a cute cheque, with Superman1 on it, I was quite reluctant to hand it over to the bank.

My reluctance only intensified when I stood there for nigh on half an hour while the bank teller keyed in all the information she needed to. Granted, foreign cheques are always going to have the information in unfamiliar corners. And there's the whole American date format, which threw her for a while. The writing on the cheque was too small for her to make out. The always-fun moment where she accidently wiped everything and had to re-enter the data. And the especially fun moment where she wanted to know if perhaps the American cheque had been drawn in Australian dollars, since it didn't say anywhere that it was specifically American dollars…?2

And then she needed to know what city and state the cheque was from. I pointed out that "Cranston, Rhode Island" was probably what she was looking for there, but she was dubious. "Isn't Rhode Island a city?" she asks. "Which would make Cranston a suburb. And I need to know what state Rhode Island is in."

See, this is where watching movies and retaining trivia comes to your rescue. "I'm pretty sure Rhode Island is a state," I say. "After all, in Miss Congeniality, the contestants are all from states — Minnesota and Dakota and California, right? And one of them is from Rhode Island."

Not the most structurally-sound way to make a point, no. But it's all about the lowest common denominator, people. It was something she'd believe3, and it was going to be aeons quicker than asking her to google it.

You do what you gotta.

  1. Seriously! Superman! What kind of bank issues cheques with Superman on them? None of the banks I know have fun cheques. []
  2. I gave her my best are-you-kidding-me? look. It seemed to work. []
  3. As opposed to the alternative: "I'm pretty sure Rhode Island is a state, not a city. Although I don't have a map or supporting evidence on me… []

2 thoughts on “on cashing foreign cheques…

  1. Well, folks in Massachusetts and New York would probably tell you that Rhode Island is actually just a rest stop on the highway between. 🙂 Seriously, it's like Delaware — you can drive through the state before you know you're in it. Cool place, though. The Hippy Colony way back in the day, where all the people being persecuted for their religious beliefs in the other colonies (which had, of course, mostly been founded by people fleeing persecution for their religious beliefs) ended up because Rhode was just that kind of guy. And it's the birthplace of Lovecraft.

    Novelty checks are a bit of fun — companies can sell checks that can be printed up for any bank as long as you give them the routing info, etc, so you don't specifically have to order checks through your bank. As a result, there are many cool ones out there. I used to have Star Trek ones (geek=me).

  2. I guessed it was a small state, which is why I didn't pour scorn on the poor bank teller for not knowing it herself. (Well, that, and because I'm a nice person :mrgreen: ) And the birthplace of Lovecraft? Well, now. That's a cool snippet to tuck away. Next time a bank teller doubts Rhode Island, I shall have extra stuff to point out!

    And yes, you are a geek. Star Trek! Luckily for you, I am just as big a geek, so, you know, stones and glass houses are keeping you safe here.

    I have never owned a chequebook in my life. Hence my ignorance on such matters.

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