Thought I’d drop by the Little Café Near Home yestereve for a bit of writing. It’s a good place for that. Of course, it’s only polite that I enjoy a beverage while I’m there. Beverages cost money. Specifically, cash. My reserves were a little low, but as I hopped off the tram I was surrounded by ATM’s. The closest belonged to a shiny German (perhaps Austrian? Maybe Swiss) bank with a friendly yellow sign. It’s been a good friend on many other occasions, so I ambled into the foyer of the otherwise dark and silent building and inserted my card.
After contemplating just how much money to withdraw and punching a few buttons, I waited. Then the screen flashed:
“Unauthorized use. Card retained.”
I stood there for a moment while it sunk in I would be getting neither money nor my card back.
No LIttle Café then, but a trip back to the homestead and an international long distance call to my bank. The first thing Linda told me, before I even explained the situation completely, was that one of the major networks that carries transaction information was down. Once I explained my problem she started digging into my account info, then put me on hold for fifteen minutes or so.
Finally she came back on. “We tried everything, and we can’t figure out why they kept your card. We’ll work on it again when the network is back up.”
Probably the problem was caused by the network failure – the authorization was lost somewhere in the ether and the fraud detectors went off at the bank. Today I will go down there and ask for my card back. That should be interesting. In the meantime I have another card, but I’m afraid to use it.