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So I had what is likely to be the least successful trip to a grocery store in my life two days ago.

I finished up with Hebrew for the day, relaxed a little bit and shook my head to dump out all the extra Aleph and Yod characters from class, and took my backpack to walk over to the Mister Zod grocery store. I figured “oh, I’ll stop at the bank on the way there to get shekelim – it is directly before the grocery on my path.”

I figured very, very wrong.

The machine said very clearly in English “This ATM can give a cash return for customers with a credit card” (i.e. me). I therefore put my card in, waited a moment, and was given the card back sans shekelim. I tried a second time, and that was a very significant mistake. It took the card in, whirred and made some worrying noises for a prolonged period of time, and then the screen changed completely. It started flashing “Temporarily out of order” in English and Hebrew. And it had swallowed my poor, poor credit card whole 😦

Needless to say, I was slightly concerned. I called one of the Madrachim (a sort of RA analogue, except they are in charge of making sure we are having fun/settling in properly rather than following any rules). Rotem answered the phone, and suggested I call my bank in the US (the number for which is on the back of my credit card, now “safely” deposited in the machine). Eli, another Madrach, told me to look on the ATM for a number to call – I looked, found it, and called. The mostly Hebrew-speaking individuals on the other end of the line suggested I call my home bank as well, and, with the evidence piling up, I came back to my room and called my dad to get the number.

I called their international number, and got everything set up for them to send me a new card in 3-4 business days which actually means a week. An Israeli oddity became apparent during this process – my mailing address doesn’t have any street name within it, and it has a compound city – “Mount Scopus, Jerusalem.”

I went back yesterday, and had to do the bureaucratic dance of: 1) which employee looks like they speak enough English to help me; 2) which employee ACTUALLY speaks enough English to help me; 3) which employee are they going to refer me to; 4) oops, they pointed to the wrong one, because I need to talk to Sarah; 5) wait in line; 6) wait for her to finish her conversation with the Brinks Security people (wasn’t excepting to see them there, delivering money from an armored car); and finally 7) have her take apart the machine and pull out the mangle remains of my poor, poor Visa. This 50-minute long pursuit made me miss a fair amount of Hebrew for the day, but c’est la vie, je suppose.

To use a bit of ASCII art, here is approximately what the thin side of the credit card now looks like:

________/ \___

I am not sure what sort of mechanical gears, large cutting devices, or small malevolent ATM gnomes they store in that machine, but my Visa of 4 continents now (US, Europe, Africa, and Asia) has finally been sent to the Old Visa Veteran’s Home. May God have mercy on it’s soul, because the ATM certainly did not.


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