There is no George like George

The past few days I\’ve been watching a commercial for a banking app on TV. And I will mention this commercial a little later on, but I hope you will take it as an explanation of what I enjoy about this commercial, and not as a hidden advertisement. Of course, I did not order any of the financial institutions mentioned here.

I was on vacation in South Africa in late July and early August. And at the end of it I was in the town of George. And since I usually don\’t see much of the crown, in this case the South African rand, while on vacation, I simply ran out of money.

You might say, no problem. Since you have both euros and dollars, there is nothing easier than exchanging your extra money. And it\’s easy.

sto eur

Of course, that is our thinking. But another region, another morality. And nothing seems to have changed, even if we were warned 20 years ago that we should exchange money when we arrived at Johannesburg International Airport, which is still relatively “European” in contrast to the unspecified surrounding areas. I knew it, and I counted on it. And that expectation was right on target. At the usual commercial banks, currency exchange is simply “somewhat stagnant”. My past experiences in East London, King William\’s Town, and Cape Town were not much different here.

York Street, the most important street in the city, has two nearby banks offering foreign currency exchange. And the fact.

Exchange at Standard Bank. At the counter. But only one, one in four times. So I stood in a line of two people for half an hour at one counter. And at the first window, I had to exchange money. But they said the system just crashed, so wait a half hour or so and it might be back up… Or we could go to Travelex across the street and ask a tourist to exchange some money for us…

jihoafrické randy

At Travelex it was quick. I was told that since my passport did not have the Border Control stamp on it, I needed confirmation that the exchange was for a pension.

So I crossed the street again to the ABSA bank. It was quick there. From the entrance, I was taken to the only counter where I could exchange money, and after 25 minutes they noticed I was there and told me the clerk was at lunch. But they rushed her through, printed out 8 slips, signed them, and was done. And an hour and a half later I exchanged 100 euros. At one bank it took over two hours, but still…

Anyway, since experiencing this in George, I\’ve had a great time hearing the Nova Action ads urging me to download a certain banking app I\’m having a great time. It seems that “in George, managing my finances is breakfast”.