Friday, July 3, 2009

Credit Card Blues

Had a free day today, so I decided to take a bus into the nearest big town, a place called High Wycombe (pronounced “wikkum”) and have a look around. The bus station in Hi Wikkum turned out to be right beside a big mall. Kathy had asked me to pick up a few things if I got the chance, so I headed for Tesco (kind of like a Zehrs store in Canada), found what I wanted, and made my way to the checkout.

Since I didn’t have much cash on me, I was hoping to be able to use a credit card to pay for my purchases. But not my PC one because they have a tendency to put a block on that card whenever I use it anywhere other than back home in Canada (unless I notify them in advance, which I didn’t this time). So I pulled out another card and handed it to the cashier.

After 3-4 tries, she said that it wouldn’t work, probably because it didn’t have a chip in it. Apparently no one uses chip-less credit cards here anymore! So I ended up pulling out my limited cash to pay the bill.

Moving on, I searched out the HMV store. A colleague told me that he’d bought some DVDs on sale there, so I thought I’d have a look. Sure enough, I found a few at a good price and proceeded to the checkout counter, determined to try my credit card again. When I asked if they took chip-less cards, the cashier said yes. So I gave it to him and he swiped it.

“It says the card’s expired,” he said. I looked at the date on it, and sure enough it was! Duh! So I pulled out another card. This one worked just fine and I was able to purchase my DVDs. I was so excited to discover I had a card that worked, and thus wouldn’t have to go to the hassle of trying to get money out of a bank machine (with all the crazy charges they stick on top of such transactions) that it crossed my mind to go on a quick spending spree before the company discovered what I was doing and blocked the card! But then I remembered who would have to pay the bill. I decided to go and catch the nearest bus back to the training centre before I did any serious damage. Unfortunately, a bookstore ambushed me on the way to the bus station...

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