Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bank queues (and democracy)

As of today, there is no special line for faculty at the bank branch on campus. At banks in Cairo, you take a number (like a deli counter) rather than having to wait in line. You arrive and tell them if you have a deposit/withdrawal or need to open/close an account or do some other category of business people do at banks. Up until yesterday, at the university branch, you had the additional option to go up and tell them you were faculty and end up in a separate, and presumably quicker, queue.

Last week in the faculty queue, I got stuck behind some complicated transactions and ended up waiting longer than if I would have if I were in the regular line. Getting to see folks arrive after me and leave before I was served probably serves me right. But 80% or 90% of the time the faculty line was quicker.

Nearly every time I went in the bank, I would take a “faculty” ticket even though I like to think of myself as a democratic person. On one particular occasion (when I was extremely rushed, or at least I claimed as much in an act of rationalization), I remember being embarrassed when I waited less than a minute to see a teller in a bank full of university staff members who clearly had been waiting for quite a while. It wasn’t right, but I did it anyway. Not that it counts for much, but I felt terrible, as it was happening and all day afterwards. Not that I want to make it, in and of itself, into a big deal...

I am glad that they have changed this unfair policy, even though I took advantage of it. I don’t mind waiting a bit longer at the bank. Plus I no longer have the option of doing something I don’t believe in. And I also don’t have to wonder why I knowingly did it.

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