11 Mar 2017

And Then, Trepidation...

A couple of days ago we found ourselves parked up in a retail park. I do believe it was the large pound store sign that caught her eye.

After disembarking from the car, and foreseeing the future, I took a tentative peek into my wallet and found it, not surprisingly, remarkably empty so I trotted over to an ATM machine; as you do. There were two machines side by side with nary a customer in sight so I selected the one on the left. That’s the left as seen by me looking at ‘em.

My card was quickly whipped into the machines innards, PIN popped in and then it was just a matter of ‘answering’ many on-screen questions before getting down to business.

The machine went through that counting sounding operation then, always a happy sight, returned my card. Sadly, that was it. Mmm, I mused, where’s my money then? Nothing. I poked at that flap where money should pop out with no joy; it was firmly in the no poking allowed position.

What to do? There was a phone number on the machine to use in case of problems so, as I’d quite cleverly ascertained I had a problem, it seemed like a plan to give it a go and this I did with much trepidation as we all know what this will entail, right? 
“Your call is important to us and you’re number six hundred in the queue to be answered.” 
Then it’ll be off to an hour of assorted classical music. We’ve all been there so many times and heard all the classics so many times that I’m betting that, like me, you can all play any Vivaldi composition on the kazoo with confidence. However, what I’m still waiting to hear is one of Chopin’s sonatas in E-flat pat an’ shake for tambourine.

Imagine my surprise when my call was answered on the first ring when an electric voice gave me the old option menu. Imagine my surprise to hear number one was wot I wanted. I pressed one. Imagine my surprise when my press was answered immediately by a proper person and once my location was confirmed, after running into a store to get the post code, the lady said, “Okay, I’m looking at the machine now.” This made me jump! I looked behind me but I was still all on my own and by myself. Then I realised she meant on her puter.  She then, and this is scary, confirmed the exact time of the transaction, my card details, that no receipt nor on-screen balance had been requested, that the transaction had been allowed to proceed and confirmed the money had left my bank but not the machine. How spooky is that then?  Nothing she could do regarding getting the money back other than to transfer my call to my bank. Thank you, said I, thinking this must be when the music starts.

Imagine my surprise when, in a heartbeat, I found myself explaining my predicament to another proper person.

Short storey long, after successfully answering various trick questions, he assured me that after an investigation period to confirm it wasn’t me being a bad boy, the money should be back in my account within twenty four hours.

It was only later that thought I to myself, anyone could glue a cat-flap down, or indeed a cash-flap, and stick a phone number on the machine. When I phoned, how come the pickup was so quick? Where was the call queue? Where was the musical interlude? Damn! How many times do we read of the elderly being ‘tricked’ out of their money? Was I about to join those ranks? I calmed down a tad after realising the first phone lady gave me more information than I gave her. Albeit, my information. And we worry about getting our home computers hacked? I do hope all those mainframe managers ensure their copies of Windows Defender are up to date. Say what now? They don’t use Defender? Oh my!

All ended well – rephrase – all is well to date with the refund refunded well within the allotted time period. You see that ATM over there? Remember, of all the ATM machines in all the world, that one may not be your friend.

Quote;  Doug Larson.

“People are living longer than ever before, a phenomenon undoubtedly made necessary by the 30-year mortgage.”

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