Give America a little credit

1 year, 7 months and 26 days.

That’s all it took.

Just 604 measly days until some fucking fucker attempted to use my credit card.

Back in the UK I had held a credit card for over 22 years without any fraudulent activity at all and yet it seems that every American I have met has been the victim of credit card fraud.  I wonder why it happens here so often?

Very strange.

Oh, wait, my mistake, I’m talking total bollocks…it’s not strange at all.

As much as I love this country, they’re unbelievably lackadaisical about credit card security. They’re more careless than a micro-surgeon with Parkinsons; it’s ridiculous.

When I moved to America back in 2015, they were in the process of transitioning credit cards from the strip to the chip. This was for ‘added security’, and I so expected to be asked to enter my 4 digit PIN number[1] on every transaction.

Nope.

Apparently all that changed was that you now insert your card into the card reader at the front, instead of swiping it at the side.

Ooooh!

Basically, all it did was introduce Americans to another type of motion…..or ‘exercise’ as some of them call it.

And a lot of shops and stores don’t even use the chip reader because they don’t work or aren’t set up yet!

Not only are you not expected to enter your secret and secure 4 digit PIN, but more often than not you’re not even ask for a signature or proof of identity!

Petrol stations (Gas stations) vary in the way they take credit.  Some ask for a signature, some don’t; some ask for identification, most don’t. It’s a fucking minefield and thoroughly pisses me off when i’m not asked for ID.  I could be anyone!

It gets even worse at restaurants where the server takes your card away and you don’t see it for 5 minutes until they bring it back with a wad of receipts for you to sign. This, I discovered, is plenty of time for them to make a copy and charge it to some fucking clothing company in Beverly Hills to the tune of $650!

Wankers.

Back home in Blighty, the waiter or waitress (I really don’t like the term ‘server’) brings the credit card machine to your table and you enter your PIN number directly into it. The card never leaves your sight.

Not once.

Ever.

It’s such a simple thing and saves a shit-ton of paper.  Seriously, why am I given so many pieces of paper?  I always pause when trying to figure out which one i’m supposed to sign and which one i’m supposed to take home and wallpaper the house with.

And the scariest thing of all is that no-one in America seems surprised about credit card fraud; a compromised card over here is as common as rain in England…or drunken violence.

So now I had no choice but to cut up my existing card and wait for another to be delivered. Thankfully I have another credit card I can use until some bastard decides to help fund some Nigerian prince with it.

Debit cards, on the other hand, need a PIN number to be entered.

I give up.

[1] Yes, I know that PIN stands for ‘Personal Identification Number’, so saying “PIN number” is effectively saying “Personal Identification Number number”.

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A funny thing happened on the way to the airport…

Sat in the cab on the way to the airport, we stopped off at a cash machine to draw out some money to actually pay the driver.

I collected my funds, got back in the taxi and opened my wallet to put the notes in.

“Ha”, I said to my American wife as I wedged the English tenners next to the US Dollars already in there, “this money is like us”.

In a strange, romantic way it made me think of us, together in this wallet we call life.

She peered at the notes and said “What, pale?”

It’s true, we really need this holiday.

How the other side flies

One of the perks of working in the travel industry, other than cheap holidays, is the opportunity to upgrade on a flight for free. One of the great things that comes with a flight upgrade is the opportunity to get access to the special airport lounges.

Guess where I am right now.

There are a few things I’ve noticed that I’d like to share…

Firstly, I’ve noticed how I carry myself at all times when I know I’ve got an upgrade; head high, acting like I do this all the time, saying thank you instead of cheers…general full on twat behaviour.

Secondly, I feel like I’m undercover and at any moment I’ll be ‘found out’ by the actual paying poshies as a fraud and poshly thrown out. This doesn’t go away even though we know the people at the welcome desk to the lounge who are happy for us that we got free access. Somehow I still feel the eyes of the wealthy boring through my disguise to the pauper underneath.

And let me talk a little about these creatures of affluence; these money drenched drips. There’s a certain kind of style of person that you only find in special flight lounges, and possibly at posh horse racing events. They tend to wear clothing ne’er seen in high street shops, but rather at boutiques named after other priggish pricks with equally pompous names like ‘Whittingtons’, ‘Bletherington Smythe’ or ‘Turtle Kuntz’.

Here are some examples:

Women
– Big fur hats, not unlike those worn by Russian Kossaks, or the guards at Buckingham Palace. It resembles a large sticky doughnut that’s been rolled in King Kong’s pubic hair.
– A poncho/pashmina/tablecloth made of Balinese silk woven by free range gibbons fed on unicorn meat and fairy urine. As a result it costs more than my entire holiday and makes them look like a walking table.
– Huge sunglasses, and I mean ‘make you look like a wasp’ big! They usually have a massive D&G logo on the side, presumably to strengthen the frames to keep their massive fat heads from hitting the edges of doorways.
– Multiple scarves, usually made of satin, with designs ranging from anchors and ropes, to zebras and various animal prints…or are they the actual animals? Probably.
– Hair from 80’s porn.

Men
– Jumper over a shirt

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Oh, and leather pads on the elbows of whatever they’re wearing.

There’s just not enough denim going on.

Still, as I was once told, even the queen has to poo from time to time and it reminds me that these people are, after all, just people like you and me (except with helicopters, swimming pools and under stairs staff on hand to wipe their bums). This became a harsh reality when I used the toilet and had that unnerving sensation of the seat still being warm from the last bum to have graced this porcelain throne.

(Shudder)

I must admit I was tempted to stand up and look in the toilet to see if they really did shit money, but then I realised they’d probably flushed it away, or bought duty free with it.

I wonder who wiped them today?

Hmm…

Anyway, all of this, and I mean every little bit if it, is tolerable because after all….I don’t turn right when I get on board the plane today 😉