Geography Skills Suffering From A Tokyo Drift

, | Working | October 13, 2014

(I’ve somehow ended up on ‘high security’ from my credit card company. As such, even though the card I carry is meant specifically for people who travel abroad frequently, I have to call in and let them know when I’m going abroad so my card will work outside of the US. I call to tell them about an upcoming trip.)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because I will be traveling abroad soon, and I need my card to work while traveling.”

Representative: “We can certainly put a travel notation on your account, and your card will work in your destination. Where will you be traveling?”

Me: “My final destination is China, but I will be transiting through Tokyo and Hong Kong on my way there. Can you set it up so that my card will work in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and mainland China during [dates]?”

Representative: “Certainly. Please hold momentarily.” *comes back after a minute* “You’re all set for your trip.”

(A week later in Narita airport…)

Cashier At Restaurant: “I’m sorry, ma’am, your card was declined.”

(Fortunately she was nice enough to let me go to an ATM and withdraw funds from my work card to pay the bill. Upon returning home, I call my bank again…)

Me: “Yes, I called before my latest trip and specifically asked that my card be available for use in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and China. However, my card was declined in Tokyo, and the only reason I can figure is that you failed to allow use of my card in Japan. I’m not extremely upset, but I’d like to know what I can do to make sure my card works when I travel in the future.”

Representative: “Let me check the notes… Oh. Oh, Oh… I’m so, so sorry. It appears that the previous rep didn’t understand your travel information, and left a… uh… rather unsavory note about it.”

Me: “Are you joking? This card is for people who TRAVEL! What did she say in the note? I need a good laugh.”

Representative: “Before I say this, I want your permission and acknowledgement that you will not hold me responsible for coarse language.”

Me: *now chuckling* “Go ahead. I won’t be offended, and I promise you are in the clear, no matter what you say.”

Representative: “She wrote, ‘This dumb b**** made up countries called ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Hong Kong.’ Card has been activated for use in China. Fraud alert level has been increased for any other foreign use.’ It also appears from this that your card wouldn’t have worked in Hong Kong, since our system recognizes that separately from mainland China, but if she so much as started to type Hong Kong, it would have come up… Did you also have problems in Hong Kong?”

Me: “No, I didn’t try to use my card there since I was only in that airport for a few minutes before traveling on. Thanks for the laugh. Buy that ‘b****’ a map, would you?”

Representative: “We have noted your comment, and I’m sure the issue will be dealt with promptly.”

(And I now make sure to name the *country* every time I call in. Silly me for thinking that most people would know Tokyo is in Japan and that Hong Kong is a real place…or ask if they didn’t.)

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