>I think I have a lot of pet peeves. I try not to manifest or complain about them a lot, because usually they have to do with the way other people act and how that differs from they way I think they should act. I don’t want to come off as a Judgy McJudgerson because, guess what?, judgmental people are one of my pet peeves. It’s a paradox that I have to live with.

Anyway, I reserve the right to complain on this blog, so I’d just like to share a few of my main pet peeves that I happened to experience today.

File this one under: Things That Don’t Make Sense

A little background. Here in Chile, when you want to cash a check, you can go to any bank that issued that check, and with the proper ID, they give you cash. In the case of having a check from Banco de Chile, BCI or Banco Security (and maybe a couple others I’m forgetting) you can cash them at ServiPag, which is a place you can go and pay all of your bills. Instead of trapising around Santiago and going to the electricity company, phone company, cable company, etc., you can just go to ServiPag.

Anyway, so the issue here is the definition of proper ID. In the past, B.C. (Before Carné, the Chilean ID card) I used to go to Banco Santander, and with my passport, cash my checks from the Institute. Then I got my carné, and did the same thing, but with my carné. Then I got direct deposit and a bank account and my life got way easier. However, I still have private students that pay me with checks, but I occasionally have to cash a check, usually at ServiPag, using my carné. In May, my carné expired. I still cashed checks after that. One time I used my passport. One time I used my expired carné. However, my visa is finally ready and therefor now I can renew my carné. Today I went and did the trifecta: got my visa, registered it, and went to renew my carné, all in one day, which is quite a feat. However, your carné takes about two weeks to be ready. In the meantime they give you a peice of paper, called a comprobante, which (according to the Registro Civil) serves as your carné for the two weeks you are waiting.

So today I went to cash a check at ServiPag. I had three forms of ID: my old, expired carné, my passport and my comprobante. I asked the lady which form of ID she preferred. She promptly told me that none of them worked. This doesn’t make sense, because:
1. I’ve cashed checks before, both with my passport and expired carné, though maybe the time I used my expired carné the person didn’t notice it was expired. And…
2. How is anyone supposed to be able to cash checks if their carné isn’t ready yet?? I asked the woman. She said it was impossible, unless the check is “left open”. (This is another crazy thing about checks in Chile. Unless you cross out the words “o al portador” or draw some sort of fancy lines on the check, it’s basically like writing a blank check).

I tried to explain to her how all of this doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure a lot of Chileans can’t afford to go two weeks without cashing a check, but I realized it wasn’t her fault that this silly rule exists (if it even does, I’m half convinced she was mistaken). In the end, she cashed the check, but in her name instead of mine. I got the money. However, in the process, she committed the second carinal sin in the Bible of Abby.

Acá in Chile…

“Here in Chile,” the ServiPag lady told me, “We use our passports to travel, not to cash checks.”

GAHHHH! There is nothing I hate more than being treated like I’m a tourist, or like I don’t know how things work. Granted, there are times I don’t know how things work, and I’m actually very self-concious about this. I like to know the system. And due to my powers of observation, I actually can figure things out pretty quickly.

But this ServiPag lady was out to get me. First, the not making sense, then the telling me how things are. I mean seriously, did she think I didn’t know that we use passports to travel? DUH.

Which leads into point number three…

Trying to cheat the system

I understand that there are people who honestly don’t know how something works. For example, getting a visa or doing some other sort of errand at Extranjeria can be quite confusing at times. However, there are pretty clear instructions prominently posted. For example, on the third floor, it says that everyone must have a passport. If you don’t have a passport in your hand, they won’t give you a number. In addition to the posted signs, there was even a man telling us that this morning. Yet, despite this, the guy in front of me presented his carné and proceeded to argue with the man giving out numbers when he refused to give him one.

Then, after you get a number, you go and wait for your number to be called. Taking a number happens a lot in Chile, from Extranjeria to the pharmacy. However, in the time I was waiting (which wasn’t long, I was number 9), THREE people marched up to the desk WAY before their numbers were called.

Then, speaking of pharmacies, I went to a pharmacy this afternoon to buy some hand cream. At the pharmacies, you can only pick out certain items yourself, namly non-medical items such as shampoo, toothpaste or hand cream. If you need Tylenol or ibuprophen or a prescription, you have to take a number and ask the pharmacist for it. When you go to pay for your hand cream, or other purchases that you picked out yourself, you also have to take a number to pay. Today, I had 89. They were on 86. So I waited patiently until they got to 89. Just as I was about to walk up to the counter, an old lady barges ahead of me and goes, “I have 90! I have number 90!” I calmly said, “Excuse me, ma’am, but I have 89.” But she didn’t budge. I told the pharmacist I had 89. The pharmacist politely asked her to move out of the way. She repeated “But I have 90!”

Then I ripped my hair out and banged my head against the nearest display case.

Well, not really. Finally she moved when the other pharmacist called her number.

Then, I swear, not five minutes later, I went to Castaño, where you don’t have to take a number, but you do have to wait in line to pay for your items. I was paying when another old lady came into the store and marched right up to the cash register where the cashier was getting me my change. “I want two boxes of sopaipillas,” the woman announced, and planted herself firmly in front of me, practically on top of my purchases. “I’ll be right with you, ma’am,” the cashier told her as she finished getting my change. Then the woman sighed and started tapping the box of sopaipillas against the counter. And when I said “permiso” to try to squeeze by her, she moved approximately 1/2 centimeter.

Anyway, I probably should just chill out and not let these things bother me so much. However, when they happen one after the other all day long, it’s hard for me to ignore.


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