Where do you cash checks? (bank vaults)

Hi my friends, I’m looking for a particular word I have been trying to make out listening to one of my audio tapes. It was recorded decades ago by Napoleon Hill.

The word I’m looking for appears in the section where Hill is talking about the story of a man who turned two sharpened pencils into a 12 million dollar fortune. Here is what he says:

“… our story begins in the New York City bank where the founder of General Motors, William C. Durant went one Saturday afternoon to cash a check. He arrived a few mintues too late - the doors had been closed but he hammered on the door until a bank clerk opened it and told him that while the doors had been closed the […s?] had not been …”

I have listened to this piece very often and I need your assistance to find the missing word. Thanks in advance.

TOEIC listening, talks: Company official informs employees about job cuts[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten

Can’t you hear anything more than the “s” at the end? :cry: Approximate number of syllables?

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few possibilities:

  • (teller) windows
  • (cash) drawers
  • (cash) accounts
  • books


Hi Amy,

It’s one syllable and to me it sounds like ‘polls’, ‘falls’, ‘walls’. Maybe, it’s stalls?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

Then I think it might very well be “drawers”.

Some people (like me :lol: ) say “drawer” with a very distinct “r” sound. Other people I know say this word as if it were spelled “draw” (with no “r” sound at all).


Hi Amy,

What about stalls. Whould that work too? I mean, in those banks they had stalls, didn’t they?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

Hmmm… I don’t know… I don’t ever remember hearing “bank stalls” used. Is the “L” sound clear to you? For me “drawers” would seem pretty logical.

Maybe Jamie will be able to give you better imput as to the likelihood of “stalls”.


Thanks Amy, I’ll try and listen again and maybe in the meanime Alan, Jamie or Linda will share their ideas on this too…[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

One more thought…

What about the word “vaults” ?


Yes vaults would definitely work, I mean, it does sound like vaults. Would that also make sense in context given?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Yes, I think it might be OK. I mean, I’m not a bank expert, but I think of a bank as usually having only one vault. But who knows… maybe there were several. After all, we’re talking New York… :lol:



I’ll plump for vaults. I wouldn’t think it matters that vaults is in the plural.


I agree that it’s probably vaults. My dad was a banker, and as a kid I was sometimes in the bank before it opened and after it closed. If the vaults are still open, then they can still get some cash out. Drawers doesn’t make any sense, because a manager or teller can just take a key and open one at any time. Stalls doesn’t make sense, because anybody can open a stall anytime. Besides, we call those stalls windows here, and in Canada they call them wickets. However, once the vaults have been closed, that bank is REALLY closed. You need at least two guys to open each one, and there’s a slightly complex procedure to unlocking them. It’s a major operation. Also, big downtown banks have more than one vault.

Hi Amy, Alan and Jamie, many thanks for all your explanations. You see, I have listened to those tapes for a couple of years now I know some of the paragraphs by heart. But then there are also some words and expressions I haven’t been able to make out. To be honest, without your support I probably wouldn’t have come up with vaults myself no matter how often I would have listened to the tape again.


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Hi, just wanted to tell you that I listened to the tape again yesterday and now that we have said the missing word would be vaults I could clearly make it out! To be honest, it’s quite interesting how language works: When a word is new to you or you would not expect it to appear in a certain context, you can listen to a sentence several time and it might be a challenge to make out the sound pattern. However, as soon as you know the word you can clearly hear it.

Maybe that’s because your subconscious mind already anticipates that word?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

That’s exactly what I think.

I’ve had students challenge me many times over the years, saying things such as “That can’t be right. I’ve never heard anyone say that.”

I usually tell them that, in fact, they probably have heard someone say it, but because it was unknown to them, they couldn’t really “hear” it, or they heard it incorrectly.

Some of these students tell me later “Hey, you were right! Now that I know that, I hear it all the time.” :lol: