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Your Card Is Up

, , , | Right | July 25, 2021

I work at a bus station, and a lot of the job is selling reusable bus fare cards. They’re RFID cards with a small chip at one end — roughly the same place as a credit card — and a very thin wire antenna around the edge of the card. They have a thirty-day warranty in case of faults, but this is void if the card is damaged, including being bent or having a hole punched into it (to connect to a lanyard). This is explained when the card is bought AND in paperwork you get with it. We would also offer cardholder keychains for sale to help protect the cards, but most people just keep them in their wallets.

A family comes in: a father, mother, and son, about twelve-ish. The father flicks the card onto the counter.

Father: “He needs a replacement; it’s stopped working.”

I pick up the card and don’t even need to look closely to see that it’s buckled and bent. I test it, and yes, it’s definitely broken.

Me: “Okay, I’ll just need you to fill out this form, and it’s $10 for a replacement.”

Father: “Why $10?!”

Me: “That’s how much they cost.”

Father: “He’s only had it a week!”

Me: “Okay, it’s very bent. Where has he been keeping it?”

Father: “Just in his pocket.”

This wouldn’t account for the damage, but I go with it. Honestly, it probably went through the dryer.

Me: “Okay, we do recommend keeping it in a cardholder or wallet so it won’t get damaged. This is quite badly bent, so that’s why it’s not working.”

Father: “He’s a kid; he doesn’t have a wallet!”

Me: “We do have cardholders for $2, sir.”

Father: “So we have to pay for that and a faulty card? That’s pretty bad service! Is the next card going to be faulty, too?”

Me: “If the next card is faulty, we have a thirty-day warranty and will issue a new one for free, so long as it’s not damaged. However, this card has been damaged, so you will need to pay for the replacement.”

Father: “We weren’t told that.”

Me: “You would have been told when you bought the card, and it’s in the terms and conditions that you signed.”

Father: “Well, nobody reads those!”

As much as I know that’s true, that’s not our fault. I don’t have much else I can say at this point, so I just give him a neutral look.

Father: “Well, that’s ridiculous!”

Me: *In the flattest, most expressionless voice I can muster* “I don’t make the rules, sir.”

He just stares, somewhat taken aback. Behind him, his wife snorts and, giggling, pokes him in the shoulder. When he looks at her, she’s giving him the most “I’m so sick of your bollocks” look I’ve ever seen.

Mother: “Just pay her, [Father]!”