Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Lovely name,  wot?   If it really was her name.  I suspect not.

I usually expect the phone to ring at some point in time later in the day/evening,  with the voice of my travelling companion on the other end letting me know when she'll be home.  It's a little routine we have.
Last night was going to be a late night,  so when the call didn't come until around nine or so, that came as no surprise.  She needed some guidance getting to one of the hotels out on the Gürtel,  to drop off one of the folks who reports to her.   They had another one of their big pow-wows with controllers and their like coming in from Prague,  Serbia,  The Netherlands.  That kind of thing.
There had been twenty of them out to dinner on Monday night,  so a sizeable group.

So when the phone rang a second time, I just figured she had made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and that it would be up to me to magically sort it out for her.
Seems far fetched I know,  but this has actually happened.  Thankfully the car we presently have, has a proper navigation system,  and there are a number of addresses that we've plugged into the thing....including how to get home.
To be fair,  she weaned herself off of her GPS dependency a couple months back.

Best I mention that,  or I'm in trouble.

This time though, the voice on the other end was that of my daughter in Canada,  calling me to give me the latest news on the "Visa Card saga".   First of all,  last spring some time,  it was oh so important that we get new Visa cards,  since they were all going to have the chip  system.  So fine,  when we were home shortly thereafter,  we dutifully picked up our new cards,  and the expiry on mine at least (I guess they're both the same)  is something like 07/12.

That's July, twenty twelve,  right?

So then why oh why would they send another card to the house about a month ago,  with a dire warning that I had to activate it right away!

Such drama.

Well,  after some investigation (and frustration) on the part of my daughter,  it turns out that due to a somewhat large purchase right around Christmas time,  (like,  who doesn't have those around Christmas??)   they thought there was some sort of security risk,  and had sent me a new card.
Now,  I'd almost believe that to be true,  but this new card didn't get to the house until a month ago,  and that would have been what?  March?   Let me see.   December,  January,  Feb....   Wow,  takes two and a half months to come up with a new card?  Boy,  they're right on the ball!

Speaking of "sharp"...
I know companies that make hand forged woodworking tools in less time.

Meanwhile my daughter had been back and forth with the very smart bank people down the street from our house,  and there was some talk of sending the card here to Wienerland,   along with a bunch of other crap that amounts to so much fresh air.

Then yesterday,  just as a bit of icing on the cake,  there was a "courtesy" call from a call centre from some other very smart bank people,  with (I think)  some questions about this new card.  Only thing is,  they wouldn't answer any of the questions my daughter had for them,  since she's "not authorised".

And here we have the reason that I had to call "Munzungu".

Let me have you understand this.  If you haul one of your credit cards out from your preferred hiding place and have a gander at the back,  you'll no doubt see that there's a toll free number to call for various reasons.  Of course,  if your card is stolen,  I'm not sure what the hell good that number is going to do for you,  but when you finally get through to them on the phone,  that's one of the many choices you need to try and figure out.
Well from Austria,  those toll free numbers aren't worth a pinch of coon poop.
 It's a direct number.  Supposedly I should be able to call "collect",  but I don't see how that works.
So already by the time I get through to "Munzungu",  I'm starting to get just a tad impatient,  especially since it would seem that English is not her first language.    It doesn't help that she's probably in India,  or New Brunswick or some other God forsaken place.
Mind you,  it's entirely possible that she was sitting in the Ivory tower of the very smart banking people in Toronto,  but I wouldn't take that bet.

So...after a great deal of back and forth,  and me having her repeat a couple things,  and then having her put me on hold! we finally established that YES,  YES your card is fine.
Personally,  I always thought it was,  but there was all this doom and gloom,  and with having to buy some airline tickets in the very,  very near future,  this particular card is kind of important.
I have a couple other rarely used credit cards,  with lower credit limits,  that I keep expressly for internet use, if the occasion is such that there should be any doubt at all about the security of the transaction.  I've never had any issues,  but if I'm buying a power tool from Calgary for 800 bucks (say),  and the card's credit limit is only a thousand,  I sleep better at night.

I wouldn't want you to think that I'm the kind of person who would have any doubts when it comes to the reasurances of someone named "Munzungu",  but I went out this afternoon and bought a 10 cd set from Hintermeyer for €9,99 and,   low and behold,  the card does in fact, work just fine.

Some day I get around to telling the story of my very last conversation with a "representative"  of American Express named...

wait for it...


Maybe that's not the way it was spelled,  but that's the way it sounded.

I didn't ask.

I didn't care.

For your further entertainment,  I present window cleaning on Mariahilfer Strasse.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.