Friday, November 29, 2002
The International Money Order ConspiracyI decide to help AccordionGuy by helping to save his Christmas by buying a book or two (or four—he had a good selection of computer related books at about half of what I would pay new). I asked what his preferred non-PayPal method of payment would be, and he said “international money order.” Seems that Canada (since he lives in Canada) is not part of the United States, yet, and any personal check I write will take nearly a month to clear, which won't exactly help AccordionGuy for Christmas. An “international money order” would clear faster (days perhaps) and allow him access to the funds while there are still shopping days left.
Now, I've dealt with money orders before—an “international money order” shouldn't be all that difficult, right? Just head to my bank and get one, right? It's not like my bank is a small, obscure bank that no one outside of west Boca Raton have heard of—no, it's this behemouth of a bank where you can't throw a bagel without hitting a branch down here in South Florida (for the record, my checking account has outlasted three (3) banks so far; each one getting consumed by a larger entity).
So of course getting an “international money order” should be trivial.
“You want a what?” asked the teller, eyes glazing over in puzzlement.
“An internation money order,” I said. “I want to send money to Canada.” I was met with a blank stare. “You know, the place where all the people with ‘Bring me souvenirs’ on their license plates come from.”
“Oh! Well,” said the teller riffling through some stacks and pulling out a small form, “we can handle a money order.”
“No, I want an international money order so it doesn't take a month for the check to clear.”
“Let me ask my boss,” said the teller and left. Several minutes pass. “I'm sorry, but we don't know anything about these international money orders. Maybe you can get one at 7-11.”
“Okay, I'll try,” I said and left.
Spring suggested a check cashing store down the street. She theorized that a sizable portion of the domestic help in Boca Raton might send money back home south of the border, so they might be able to deal with an “international money order.”
“An international money order,” I said. “I want to send money to Canada.”
“The place where all those people want our souvenirs come from, right? I didn't know that was international.”
“Don't you want to wire the money?”
“I'd like an international money order,” I said.
“We have money orders,” said the teller, holding up a form.
“An international money order?”
“Sorry, don't think we have any of those here. Did you try a bank?”
Last attempt. Even though we've received a stern warning from them, the United States Postal Service may be my only hope—they send stuff all over the world; they might have heard of “international money orders!”
“Oh, yes,” said the United States Postal worker. “Where is the money being sent to?”
Amazing! Such a thing as an “international money order” does exist! It wasn't a Canuck playing a joke on us Yanks after all! “Canada,” I said.
“Oh, those nice people that make toques.” A few minutes later I had my “international money order.”
Aboot time, eh?