GRRRRR! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

GRRRRR!

Words by

Published August 27, 2010

“Ok Bob now please don’t get angry with what I’m about to tell you…”

One of the more fascinating things about my wife (other than she has never cooked a fish in her entire life) is that she has an innate ability to determine when I’m going to blow my top in bilious fury. Granted, I do seem to lose my temper 47 times on a bad day, so she’s probably had a fair amount of practice.

But right now, I don’t know what she’s talking about. We’re standing outside a branch of Kaupthing (there is no way I’m calling it fucking Arion bank), having just seen a customer service drone. We’re currently moving house, and we need some cash to help cover our deposit because, y’know, we’re all poor and eating soured gravel and wearing itchy sackcloth.

So we went to the bank to ask for an overdraft. But Sigga is worried as—like any good Icelander—she already has loans and overdrafts up the wazoo. “Well why don’t I ask for one for my bank account,” I say. And why not? I’ve lived in Iceland for over three years, I’m married to an Icelander, I’ve got no black mark against me, and I’ve still got two years on my residency permit. It should take five minutes, job done. Then we can all go and eat gold-plated pancakes and jewel encrusted hotdogs afterwards.
Only it never quite worked out like that. Sigga leads the conversation with the drone as I try not to look like some sort of mute psychopath. Not too easy considering I’m wearing a tattered t-shirt and dirty cargo shorts, while sporting an unruly bright red Mohican haircut. I nod my head at appropriate intervals to feign understanding, when really I’m only getting about a third of the conversation.

The drone leaves her seat to discuss the request with the manager. After a few minutes she returns whereupon the conversation almost imperceptibly changes tone. Then as quick as it started, the meeting is over. ‘What, have we got the overdraft?’ I ask, but Sigga is already pushing me out of my chair going “I’ll speak to you outside.”

Once outside she tells me everything. When the drone returned, she said that they would not be prepared to give me an overdraft. But they were more than willing to increase HER overdraft to nearly double the current level, no questions asked. No real reason was given. As the meeting was wrapping up, Sigga asked her ‘Would my husband have gotten an overdraft if he was Icelandic?’
And the drone replied ‘Yes, he would.’

To her credit, she immediately apologised, stating that she had a foreign husband and this also happens to him to. Oh well, that’s all right then.

After telling me this, Sigga steps back awaiting the fireworks. But all I could do was just stand there and say, “I’m a little disappointed.” It wasn’t until later that day when the rant came on in full flow over the issue of a song that was on Bylgjan….
And you know what? Nothing about this doesn’t surprises me in the slightest. When you have a former chairman and CEOs as fugitives, getting arrested all the time, throwing money around in a incestuous circle-jerk of elephantine proportions, or illegally giving out loans in foreign currency (or in the case of Íslandsbanki, to children), then what’s a little case of spiteful decision making as my foreign blood deems me ‘Untrustworthy’?

So now Kaupthing is on my ever-growing ‘Shit List’ of people and institutions that have done me wrong (currently running at three volumes) and I’m looking to change my bank account. But where do I place my meagre funds? Are there ANY independent, friendly banks that don’t pay their bosses bonuses in the form of all the first-born children from the village? If there is any bank that wants my business then contact the office and I’ll send my wallet around immediately.
One of the more fascinating things about my wife (other than she has never cooked a fish in her entire life) is that she has an innate ability to determine when I’m going to blow my top in bilious fury. Granted, I do seem to lose my temper 47 times on a bad day, so she’s probably had a fair amount of practice.

But right now, I don’t know what she’s talking about. We’re standing outside a branch of Kaupthing (there is no way I’m calling it fucking Arion bank), having just seen a customer service drone. We’re currently moving house, and we need some cash to help cover our deposit because, y’know, we’re all poor and eating soured gravel and wearing itchy sackcloth.
So we went to the bank to ask for an overdraft. But Sigga is worried as—like any good Icelander—she already has loans and overdrafts up the wazoo. “Well why don’t I ask for one for my bank account,” I say. And why not? I’ve lived in Iceland for over three years, I’m married to an Icelander, I’ve got no black mark against me, and I’ve still got two years on my residency permit. It should take five minutes, job done. Then we can all go and eat gold-plated pancakes and jewel encrusted hotdogs afterwards.
Only it never quite worked out like that. Sigga leads the conversation with the drone as I try not to look like some sort of mute psychopath. Not too easy considering I’m wearing a tattered t-shirt and dirty cargo shorts, while sporting an unruly bright red Mohican haircut. I nod my head at appropriate intervals to feign understanding, when really I’m only getting about a third of the conversation.
The drone leaves her seat to discuss the request with the manager. After a few minutes she returns whereupon the conversation almost imperceptibly changes tone. Then as quick as it started, the meeting is over. ‘What, have we got the overdraft?’ I ask, but Sigga is already pushing me out of my chair going “I’ll speak to you outside.”
Once outside she tells me everything. When the drone returned, she said that they would not be prepared to give me an overdraft. But they were more than willing to increase HER overdraft to nearly double the current level, no questions asked. No real reason was given. As the meeting was wrapping up, Sigga asked her ‘Would my husband have gotten an overdraft if he was Icelandic?’
And the drone replied ‘Yes, he would.’
To her credit, she immediately apologised, stating that she had a foreign husband and this also happens to him to. Oh well, that’s all right then.
After telling me this, Sigga steps back awaiting the fireworks. But all I could do was just stand there and say, “I’m a little disappointed.” It wasn’t until later that day when the rant came on in full flow over the issue of a song that was on Bylgjan….
And you know what? Nothing about this doesn’t surprises me in the slightest. When you have a former chairman and CEOs as fugitives, getting arrested all the time, throwing money around in a incestuous circle-jerk of elephantine proportions, or illegally giving out loans in foreign currency (or in the case of Íslandsbanki, to children), then what’s a little case of spiteful decision making as my foreign blood deems me ‘Untrustworthy’?

So now Kaupthing is on my ever-growing ‘Shit List’ of people and institutions that have done me wrong (currently running at three volumes) and I’m looking to change my bank account. But where do I place my meagre funds? Are there ANY independent, friendly banks that don’t pay their bosses bonuses in the form of all the first-born children from the village? If there is any bank that wants my business then contact the office and I’ll send my wallet around immediately.

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