ZELLA COMPTON: How embarrassing – I had my card refused

The holiday shop shreds your nerves
The holiday shop shreds your nerves
Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I’m glowing

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On a list of all-time embarrassing things, having your card refused when you’re trying to pay for something has to be one of them, especially when it’s a significant amount.

After a disaster day when my car broke down in last week’s storms and I had to wait for an hour shivering before learning my vehicle needed emergency TLC, to then have the pain of my card turned down paying for repairs especially as I knew the money was in the account. And worse, my embarrassment was witnessed by customers I knew.

The garage tried several times and was understanding, but it’s not like I could put my goods back.

I phoned my bank to see what was up. It was then I learnt it was my fault for not using my new card which I’d been sent.

My bank had upgraded my account and, among the other gubbins in the deluge of mail offering me a shiny new life, the bank had sent a new card.

How many of us have been sent envelopes from various banks containing fake credit cards? You know the ones, little cards telling you you’re preordained to get into loads of debt with the bank.

That’s what I thought my new card had been, an advertising gimmick. And why wouldn’t I, with three more years on my expiry date on the current card?

Seemingly I should have read the paperwork and known I was being upgraded. Seemingly the marketing details said I had 28 days’ grace on my old card.

Hmm. After checking all the envelopes on the kitchen counter, reading all the bumf and direct mail, it turns out nowhere did it say I needed to use the new card within 28 days. It did say I would get a call from Barclays telling me about the change and receive a video explaining what was happening. Neither happened.

Banks are victims of their own hype, so caught up in the fact they can lend they seem to think everyone wants to borrow, or spend against thin air, or run up debt in other ways. So they send more and more marketing material and forget it usually goes straight in the bin. Except this time it hadn’t, and it proved the customer helpline was cheerfully disseminating falsehoods. Luckily for me, the garage is paid, and I’m back in action, but watch out – Barclays is up to new tricks.

AFTER A 16-YEAR ENGAGEMENT, WEDDING WENT DOWN A STORM

When you are in your late twenties and early thirties there are masses of friends’ weddings and it’s lovely.

Then the invitations drop off to an occasional cousin, before (I imagine) your children start marrying and you get a slew of invites to those.

We were therefore delighted to be invited to a friend’s wedding who’d managed the magnificent achievement of being engaged for 16 years.

No one thought it would ever happen.

However, it was lovely to know that this relationship had already lasted.

Plus, the wedding was at a vineyard, which was fab as there was plenty of booze on hand.

Never mind the thunderstorms and lightning, it all simply added to the romance of the occasion.

TOURISTS SHOULD BE GIVEN MAPS OF UNFAMILIAR SUPERMARKETS

We nipped away for a sneaky few days in Kent. You have to love a tourist town and confused self-caterers milling around supermarkets.

It’s not like your regular supermarket where there’s maybe one person aimlessly wandering. A holiday town’s supermarket is aisle-thick with frazzled parents who not only can’t find the cereal, they’ve taken all their children shopping too who are helping by adding nonsensical items to the trolley such as mountains of chocolate, while their parents have a ‘discussion’ about what to cook in a complex holiday kitchen. By complex I mean not the same as the kitchen at home.

Supermarkets should offer either maps or pre-packed weekly self-catering trolleys.

Now there’s a thought.