Queueing Theory

When I was in YU, one of my math professors convinced a few of us to take a new course he was offering the next semester called queueing theory. We had a lot of fun in that class but I really didn't learn that much. One thing that I discovered though is that queueing is one of the only words in the English language that has five consecutive vowels. The Blogger spellcheck though isn't smart enough to realize that and thinks that it's spelled with only four vowels. I'll stick with my spelling. I think that what I should have learned was how to calculate the average waiting times in various scenarios. That might have helped me today when I went to the bank with my mother

Shira and I have avoided opening a bank account figuring it was more trouble than it was worth. All of our income is in dollars and we can just use our American credit card and easily change dollars to shekel when needed. A couple times we needed checks and my parents graciously wrote them for us. The only problem was for recurring payments. Some places insist on setting it up on credit cards and the recurring payments don't work on non-Israeli credit cards. We put one or two things on my grandmother's credit card but my mother really wanted us to switch it to our account. She also figured that if I had my own account then we could write checks and use the credit card for other purposes also. It is more convenient at gas stations because we're limited to 200 shekel (about half a tank) on a non-Israeli credit card at all gas stations. I have no idea why they all have that limit but they do.

So my mother kindly offered to grant me a power of attorney on an existing account that she had. We got to the bank and took ticket number 165 for the personal bankers (as opposed to the regular tellers) and they were up to 157. Here's where some knowledge of queueing theory might have helped. My mother knows that some people take over an hour and there were only three bankers so she figured she had some time. She went out to buy Yeshaya a treat and then one minute later it was 159 and then it was our time. I guess people took numbers and left or took multiple numbers and threw the extras out when they couldn't sell them. Either way, it was our turn while my mother was out so I let someone go ahead and called her. She came back and it was our turn a couple minutes later.

We told the lady what we wanted to do and (as can be expected), she said we couldn't do it since I wasn't Israeli. My mother told her that someone told her it could be done and the lady checked and it could be done. So my mother and I gave sample signatures and everything and then the lady went to order the credit card and checks. Whoops! It's the wrong type of account. She had to start the whole process over to open a new account for us. My mother had to sign her name about thirty times to get the account opened but after a total of about 90 minutes we were done. The two people who had come in after me were at the other two desks and other people had been waiting for a really long time. Now I just have to go back in "about a week" to pick up the credit card and checks. They won't mail them to us so I have to take a number next week again. I need to try and figure out the best time of day to go so that I will have a short wait.

1 comment:

Rena said...

I don't know which bank you use, but at our bank here the checks are picked up at the tellers and the cards at the bankers, so maybe it's the same at yours.