Still, I got home Tuesday evening and some nagging feeling compelled me to take a look. And that's how I discovered £38.53 had vamoosed the day before. Now, initially I dismissed this as the result of some of the aforementioned retail therapy, but the name of the company didn't ring any bells, and a quick Google of it revealed that I was just one of hundreds of people who've unwittingly treated some random to a cash bonus. That being the case, I grabbed my phone and called the bank.
At half 10 at night.
Now, if I worked at a bank call centre at half 10 at night let me tell you I'd be about as excitable as Lurch from The Addams Family, but the lady I was put through to was lovely and alert and sounded more like Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous. After we'd been through some security questions because I couldn't remember my security number (I have a security number?) she believed that I was me, and promptly killed my debit card there and then. And that's when I remembered that I only had two quid in my wallet. She nevertheless assured me that I could withdraw money at the bank using multiple forms of ID and a jaunty wink, and that the missing £38.53 would be refunded to my account.
I went to bed that night uncertain how to feel. I had, after all, been a victim of CRIME, and I felt this meant I should do something like cry in the shower or call a counselor. Instead I just read my book for a while and then went to bed as I was awfully sleepy.
So the next morning before heading into the office I swung by the bank in Hammersmith, where on Monday I'd actually felt like the little old lady queuing behind me at a cashpoint was standing inappropriately close and I'd actually been a bit like "dude, seriously, could you not back the hell up a bit?" The woman at the counter was really helpful, and gave me enough money to keep me in coffee for a few lunchtimes, but then ruined it a bit by deciding she wanted to talk to me about my mortgage and various other accounts I've got, and calling me Timothy, which I hate, particularly when it is pronounced "Timofee" as it was here.
I eventually escaped relatively unharmed with a pocketful of cash.
Unfortunately, it turns out that a pocketful of cash doesn't really go very far these days. I took 50 quid out, and two days later I was down to about seven, a handful of coppers, and the two chocolate coins I've got left over from Christmas in my kitchen cupboard - and no new bank card in sight.
So, a couple of days later I trudged back to the bank to withdraw some more. This visit wasn't nearly as easy. First of all I went at lunchtime, which was a horrific mistake because I had to queue with random civilians. Secondly, there was an obnoxious kid running around. On the plus side, at one point I thought 'God, I'd love it if he fell over,' and two seconds later he did, so I definitely think I'm nudging closer to developing those telekinetic powers I've always wanted.
When I did finally make it to the counter the lady - a different one to the one who called me "Timofee" - launched into the whole spiel about wanting to talk about my mortgage. I don't know why they're so obsessed with this; they keep talking about new products and boring crap like that, when clearly their system shows I'm not even halfway through a fixed-rate deal and if I broke it to take up a new offer I'd have to pay a shitload of money to them.
Oh… I *see.*
Anyway, I let my eyes glaze over and she eventually realised that I wasn't going to play along. She did, however, decide to make the whole 'withdrawing cash without a bank card' thing as torturous for me as possible by basically turning into Oprah-fucking-Winfrey and wanting to ask me every bloody question under the sun. I'm pretty sure she now knows my inside leg measurement, and in hindsight could actually be a suspect in the bank card fraud that led me to this point in the first place.
Anyway, eventually she paid up, and then to my surprise and delight I got home that evening to find a shiny new bankcard which I'm so excited about that I nearly posted a picture of it before I realised that would just lead to someone ripping me off again.
So anyway, being the victim of bank fraud is a funny old thing. I actually wasn't too annoyed that the money was taken because the bank, bless 'em, refunded it in an instant. What I really wanted to know - but doubtless never will - was who took it and how they got my details. But do you want to know the most annoying part of the whole stinkin' affair? You need an active bank card to download anything from the iTunes store, including free updates.
I had to wait TWO WHOLE DAYS before I could get the latest version of Angry Birds!
*adopts sheepish expression*
So, turns out today is the fifth anniversary of me firing up this inane little corner of the interwebs (which I did while waiting for an episode of The OC to start, if memory serves me correctly). I'd planned to buy a cake and stuff slices of it in jiffy bags for anyone who wanted some, but as you've just read I had some interesting financial problems this week. That being the case I'll just say heartfelt thanks to everyone who's read, commented, or mistakenly stumbled upon this blog while looking for online porn. You've made this an unexpectedly wonderful (and occasionally terrifyingly creepy) experience for me, and long may it continue.
(those are manly kisses, not an indication of anything porny)