How to waste 35 bucks and 1 1/2 hours at a bank.

Yesterday I went to the bank. I put my check and my passport on the counter and asked the lady to cash my check. - She looked at me and asked me if I have an U.S. bank account and I looked bank and declined and politely asked her again to cash my check. She looked at her colleague and started to talk to her. Then the colleague asked me if I have a residential card. I declined and said that I am only here for a couple of months. I am an artist in residence, I said. Big mistake! - It took me another couple of minutes to explain both that I am not a student and blahblahblah. Both looked at me, puzzled. But with this "You are a cheater-a gangster-an outcast-kindoflook. The second one continued and said it needs to be proofed that I REALLY live in Chicago. Well, I said, there is the letter of the consulate of what the check is ripped off which tells my address and my name. Again, they both started talking to each other. Well, the first one said, it is a high amount of money. I confirmed her impression. She said, she cannot cash the money without residential proof and she has to talk to a banker. I waited. - A couple of minutes later a banker showed up and asked me to follow him to his office. After being seated he asked me if I have any utility bills. I answered: Well, I have utility bills but it won't show my name as the apartment is rented by the Austrian government. He was puzzled, he left and came back. He said he cannot cash me the check but I can open an account. I declined as I told him I only want the money. He left again, came back having a sheet of paper in his hand. The title: "terms of use". Blahblahblah. Left and came back again. He smiled like having THE solution. He said I can cash the money at the currency exchange around the corner. I am like "but that'll cost fees". He confirmed. I said that it is a high amount of money and it'll cost A LOT OF fees. He confirmed. Well, I said, it seems like my case is not part of your "terms of use"… He left and came back. Again, he said, the only possibility is to open an account which has to be open at least for three months. I was desperate and confirmed. It is for free, he said, and continued talking about pay-checks of my employer. Well, I said, there is no monthly pay-check, I am self-employed. Well, he said, if so you need to have at least 1500$ on your account not paying a monthly rate. Well, I said, I am an artist. - And it took another half hour to open the account and another visit at the counter to get the money cashed. - AND we all lived happily ever after.

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