diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 25, 2005

Terminal loss

It's an act of faith placing your bank card into a cashpoint machine. You might scrutinise the machine's metal front for evidence of potential tampering, just for a split second, but generally there's no reason why your card shouldn't be completely entrusted to the mechanised interior. You push your small plastic rectangle into the little slot, watch it disappear, do your business and then expect your card to come back. I've been using cashpoints for twenty years (because they're bloody convenient and they save queueing inside the bank for hours) and nothing's gone wrong yet. Until yesterday, that is.

There's a pair of cashpoints on the landing halfway down the escalators at Cutty Sark DLR station. It's always struck me as a strange place for a financial facility, suspended in some artificial transport netherworld, but at least it's usually quiet. It was very quiet yesterday afternoon so I decided to stop off and withdraw some money. I didn't really need some, I could have survived a few more days on the cash content of my wallet, but the convenience of the opportunity attracted me. Drat. And I could have chosen the cashpoint on the right rather than the cashpoint on the left because they were both available, but I didn't. Double drat.

I didn't mean to ask for a balance enquiry on my account, I just pressed the wrong button. Never mind, I thought, I'll just go through the motions, wait a bit and then request a withdrawal. Alas no. It was at this point that the cashpoint's internal computer rebooted. I was no longer being presented with procedural options, just a screenful of technical processing commands - rather like watching a late 20th century PC spluttering back into life after some random internal glitch. The rebooting continued, very very slowly, with more techie gibberish followed by complete and utter blankness. Damn. I stood helplessly watching the empty slot from which it was becoming increasingly evident my card was never going to return. A succession of other travellers used the cashpoint to my right, successfully each time, probably wondering why on earth I was hanging around quite so suspiciously by their side. And finally the stark green words Temporarily Out Of Service flashed up on my screen, and my monetary bereavement was complete.

This is presumably where you expect me to tell you of my continued tale of woe. How I checked my online bank statement and discovered several mammoth withdrawals from a high street I've never visited. How I rang my bank's service centre and spent fifteen munutes struggling to explain to an illiterate foreigner that my card had mysteriously vanished. Or how I'm going to be left destitute for weeks before my replacement card arrives. But no. A human being with a friendly Scottish accent answered my call a split-second after I pressed the button for 'stolen or lost cards'. My replacement card and PIN number should be arriving separately in the post within the week. And if I need any money in the meantime all I have to do is pop into any Abbey branch with photo ID and a bank statement and they'll pay up. Not all UK customer service is yet crap. Hurrah! Although I do have this nagging doubt that as many as three important letters have disappeared on their way to my letterbox over the past few weeks, so I'll not start feeling too optimistic until my new card arrives. And damn, I used to know my 16-digit card number off by heart - now I'll need to learn a new one...


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream