Banks and Traffic Are Ruining My Life

If you took all the anger in me right now and concentrated it, you could build a small nuclear bomb.

I need to let off some real steam.

First: traffic.

For awhile now, whenever I drive down Haram St. in Cairo in the morning the traffic is all blocked for a couple of kilometers back. Every single time it turns out to be due to a bottleneck caused by the traffic police themselves.

This morning I had a small errand to run. The traffic was horrible as usual. I kept telling myself that I bet it is the traffic police who were holding up the traffic. Luckily, my errand was in Haram St itself. I simply parked my car on the side of the road and walked to where I needed to get. The place I needed to go to was exactly where the bottleneck was. And what was causing it? THE FUCKING TRAFFIC POLICE!

This is what I saw: 

At least 10 traffic officers of various ranks were standing about in the middle of the road. One low ranking traffic officer was standing on the side walk waving cars through. All the others were standing in the middle of the street doing NOTHING. There was also a huge police tow truck standing on the side of the road DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There were microbuses that were letting off passengers nearby right in the middle of the road. There were cars parked two lanes deep. IT WAS RIDICULOUS. I was so angry that I went up to one of the officers and complained. I told him that the bottleneck they were creating was causing a huge holdup in traffic two kilometers back. He told me they were just doing their job. I said what job is that? Look at these ten guys standing here in the middle of the road doing nothing but watch traffic go by. He said we’re here to check drivers’ licenses. I told him, let’s say I believe you (I saw no evidence of this). Why is it that you checking drivers’ licenses needs to be done in a way that holds up traffic?? The officer just said, we’re sorry ma’am. We’re just doing our job. FUCK THEM.

Since when is it the job of traffic officers to HOLD up traffic? This makes me so angry! And it happens every day. Every single day!!

The other thing that makes me extremely angry. I got a call from one of the banks I have an account in, the CIB. They tell me that when I made a purchase of 11,000 EGP (I bought a new laptop) I overdrew on my account. Apparently I owe the bank more than 7000 EGP. Now I need someone to explain this to me. Fifteen minutes before I made this purchase I did a balance inquiry from a nearby ATM machine. The machine told me I had 11,640 EGP in my account. Based on this information, I made a purchase worth 11,000 EGP. The purchase went through. Note that this is a debit card I’m using. Now consider me completely ignorant in banking systems. But how on earth does the bank’s system make a mistake twice: once by telling me how much money I have in my account and a second time by withdrawing more money than I actually have in that account? I deal with three other banks and whenever I make a purchase that is more than the amount in the account the machine simply refuses to let the purchase go through. Isn’t this how it’s supposed to work?? The bank tells me that sometimes it takes the system a few days to catch up with previous purchases. WHAT THE FUCK??

I then go ask for a bank statement from the nearby CIB branch. They show me the transactions for the month of August. There’s a transaction in there that I don’t remember. It’s from somewhere called IBS. I have no idea what it is. It’s a huge transaction for more than 7000 EGP. You’d think I’d remember spending that much money. Well I don’t. So I ask the bank to try to find out what this is. It will take up to 45 days for them to get back to me. 45 FUCKING DAYS! Why?? I then ask them to tell me how much my account had in it at the beginning of the month of August. All they’ve given me is how much money I’ve spent. They tell me they can only give me this information when the bank’s statements come out EVERY THREE FUCKING MONTHS! Why are they not issuing monthly bank statements?? I go online to try to log in to the online account and it keeps telling me the system is down.

Someone explain to me how things like this happen. I’m going to assume that what they are telling me is true. I’m assuming that I made a purchase of more than 7000 EGP that I don’t remember. I make my financial decisions based on the information the bank tells me. The bank told me I had 11,600 EGP in my account. I made a purchase of 11,000 based on this information. How can they justify that it is normal for the system to take some time to catch up? How can they justify that it’s normal that a purchase be made from my debit card for more than the amount actually in the account?? Someone explain this to me because I’M FUCKING ANGRY!


  1. I deal with CIB too, I don’t like it but this is company policy. And I’ve faced similar stupid mistakes. I did one thing and it worked for me TWICE:

    Fax an angry letter, preferrally in Arabic, to the office of the CEO. You can easily get his fax from CIB web site. Threaten to leave the bank and urge your friend to do so, and ask for a written apology. Leave your number in the letter. They will call you back and will get the problem fixed in a few days, not 45 days.

    In the meantime, if I were you and I still had the paper slip that said I had enough credit from the ATM, I would take this to the economical court and the consumer’s rights agency. I would file a case and I tell you that your chances to win are quite good. At least you will piss them off and make them beg you. And YES these things do work in Egypt, it is just that the lack of consumer’s rights culture makes most of us think that what is gone is gone.

    Go in both paths if you can and I guarantee this will at least relief your anger. Good luck.

  2. Yes, agree with Ossama. In Egypt, you have to fight in order to get your right!. I know that you are a good fighter and also smart. So, you just need to be more patient and to fight for your rights.

  3. Banking services in Egypt SUCKS big time .. They are Morons .. I know them very closely … I feel your pain honey *sigh*

  4. This is an explanation i got from a branch manager of a French bank here in Suez … I copied his reply to me ..
    واضح العمليه اللي ب ٧٠٠٠ دي حاجه معموله من الإنترنت لازم تقدم شكوي عليها لو مضروبه الفلوس هترجعلها وبعدين شكلها عمليه قديمه وكانت لسه متخصمتش علي الكارد علشان كده لما عملت استعلام لقت الرصيد حداشر ألف وشويه لكن لما العمليتين اتخصموا الحساب كشف !!
    That makes sense a bit .. I think..

    1. but i don’t think that debit cards work online, at least in HSBC, they informed me that only credit cards works online but they cannot expose the entire account of the customer to the internet by activating debit cards online.

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