In the days when banks were not allowed to branch outside of their home county, when people still liked their bank - YES, they did - and before computer processing required every account to have an account number, and thus a MICR line (Wikipedia), there were such things as counter checks.

A counter check was nothing more than a pad of blank checks with little more than the lines and the bank name. It was no big deal to go into Gaines’ store in Monterey, or Ryan’s Hardware in Walton, or McKibben’s Confectionery in Augusta, or Webb’s General Store in Williamstown, or any of the other hundreds of stores that sold retail, and ask for a counter check. Every merchant had a stacks of them; a pad for each and every bank in his customer area. The merchants could get them by going into the respective bank and asking for them. The bank would give them out. Free. No questions asked.

What happened when the merchant ran out of a particular bank's checks? No biggie. He simply grabbed some other bank's check, crossed out the name of the bank, wrote the name of the bank where the customer's money was. The check would flow thru the system and end up in the right bank to be paid. The bank processed the check as if it were normal, because the bank recognized the signature.

On the picture we've provided, note the “Paid” stamp for the correct bank.

It was normal stuff.

Be sure and try that at Walmart tomorrow.