GOG: Getting satisfaction from the credit card companies: Priceless

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn


Credit cards are a tool of the devil. Apart from buying things on the line (which strikes me as a particularly bad idea anyway) they serve no useful purpose whatsoever other than to borrow money at usurious rates of interest. They are the adult equivalent of the “I want it now!” tantrum. Whenever I use my credit card I feel like a greedy spoilt child who has spent all its pocket money but still demands an ice cream.

Credit cards are particularly irksome when they go wrong, as mine did this week. There is nothing more embarrassing than having a pimply teenaged sales clerk say in a voice loud enough to attract the sneers of every other shopper: “Your credit card was DECLINED!”

As soon as I got home, I called the credit card company. As usual I was rewarded with a “self-serve” menu which involves pushing a lot of buttons because you’re not really important enough for them to want to talk to you. After some trial and error I reached “press 1 seven times and turn to the East to talk to a Customer Service Representative”.

I was then subjected to twenty-five minutes of the most annoying 30-second muzak loop they could torture me with before being connected to someone in New Delhi. Modern times being what they are, having to point out to someone who hasn’t finished his ESL night-school classes that you are unable to communicate with him immediately makes one feel like a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Being elderly, I can overcome this difficulty by pretending to be deaf and asking the Customer Service Representative to talk very slowly.

I needn’t have bothered. Before he would tell me anything about why my credit privileges had been revoked, he had to “verify my identity” by asking a lot of stupid questions like “what is your inside leg measurement?” Since he couldn’t understand me any better than I could understand him, this did not go at all well. When I told him my Mother’s maiden name he replied “I’m sorry, that is not correct.”

“Of course it is” I replied, “I know my Mother a lot better than you do!”

“That is not the answer we have on file,” he said.

“Then the file must be wrong,” I suggested

“That is not possible,” he said.

I asked to speak with a supervisor, at which point my new friend revealed himself a script-reading robot who had somehow become stuck on “that is not possible.” Eventually I had no option but to hang up.

The next time I am required to set up these wretched “security questions” I shall make the answer to every one of them “bugger off.”

“What is the town where you were born?”


“What is the name of your favourite pet?”


This will not only be easy to remember and it will be immensely satisfying. I shall be trying this tactic very soon, now that I need a new credit card.

— The Grumpy Old Git is on borrowed time as well as borrowed money


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