Armed with a check for umpteen dollars, on fine day I trudged over to the part of my new branch that handles foreign currency. Because this branch has two storefronts, on opposite sides of Sheinkin Street: one for shekels, and one for foreign currency. With two different security guards, of course. This one was nice in a different way: he wouldn't let me bring my dog inside, but he offered to hold and play with her, and he claimed to be a great dog lover. The dog approved. Inside, I had a long conversation with Eliezer, who chastised me for not doing a wire transfer because he had to charge me a certain percentage of the check amount, but otherwise was delighted to accept the money, telling me, and his neighboring clerk, what a nice woman the recommending neighbor was. He then informed me that the money would be ready for conversion into shekels in ten days, and advised me to come back when I wanted to do the conversion, thus confirming my suspicion that these clerks are paid by the visit: they always want you to come back for some reason to complete the transaction you thought would take only one stop.
Ten days later, armed with a list of standing orders from my about-to-be-former bank, I stopped in to see Sharon, only to learn that she was away for a week, on her honeymoon. Very nice. Crossing the street to Foreign Currency, it seems their morning had just ended. Had to return the next day earlier to accomplish that transaction. If you're counting, we're up to visit #4, and things are moving along at a deliberate pace.
A week later, visit #5, I took the list to the newlywed Sharon and as of now, I'm still waiting to hear what's happened with moving the standing orders *[See Update below]. Oh, and I still don't have a cash card, because moving that one requires dealing with Isracard, and their phone number had me on hold beyond my tolerable waiting time. I'm wondering whether it would be faster to walk over to Isracard building, which I can see from my window? The reason I want to move that one, rather than get a new card, is to keep the same PIN number and the standing orders that are billed automatically to that card.
Is this as tiresome as it seems?
Just had a call from Yelena. Someone new is on my case!
Yelena: Do you want to transfer any standing orders to your new account?
Y: Which ones?
Me: All of them.
Y: Bring me a list.
Me: I already gave a list to Sharon.
Yelena: Oh, then I'll ask Sharon for it. Bye Bye.
This is not an impressive display of institutional efficiency, but at least now I know that they have my correct phone number. I probably should have just gone in with a duplicate list for Yelena. Will try that next.