Saturday, September 20, 2008

Amusing Tidbits

One of the grocery stores we frequent has an interesting feature: they have a guard at the door who marks your receipt as you're leaving (just like Sam's Club) and then opens the door for you. I guess he's also watching for shoplifters. One of the funniest things to happen with this guard is the day he bagged my groceries for me, then as I walked the 3 feet to the door, had to mark my receipt! I nearly laughed out loud and had to run to the car so I could have a good chuckle.

The first year we came to Roatan, the largest grocery store on the island had an armed guard at its entrance, which made us a bit nervous. Merlin assured us that the crime rate was very low, not to be worried. Perhaps so; all those armed guards we've seen here and there should deter crime. This store no longer employs an armed guard or even a receipt checker.

The banks all have 2 or even 3 armed security guards at their entrances, each with a pistol and a pump 12, and if you look especially suspicious they will first "wand" you, like at the airport! They might also deny you entrance. They don't like the banks to get too crowded either and if there are a lot of people inside waiting in the long, slow lines, one of the guards will move through the crowd, giving everyone "the look". They really get worried if a couple of people get too close to the office door and will disperse them. At some banks the guards will only allow a very few customers inside at a time, although that seems to be more on the mainland than here. The banks on Roatan are also payment centers for a variety of utility bills, car licensing, etc., which accounts for the slow moving lines. They are beginning to use computers more and more, but much is handwritten and entered. There are a few ATMs popping up but these seem to be for credit card cash advancements rather than withdrawals from a bank account and they are usually out of order. And no one does any check writing. The bank even has different lines for single transaction or multiple transactions, as well as the previously mentioned line for older people (60+) and pregnant women.

There had never been a bank robbery on Roatan until just recently. Actually, the robbery occured outside the bank when the pickup truck making the money pickup (or delivery, forget which) was robbed. Yup, that's right. A pickup truck. No armored cars here.

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