Tag Archives: Visa

It is on it’s way!

Through the ever useful, Contactless Intelligence newsletter, I came across a piece of coverage about Nokia’s intention to integrate NFC (Near Field Communication) into more and more of their handsets, including the new N900 – which is coming out very very soon.

Thanks to being chummy with VISA over the past couple of years, I got to play with one of the prototypes of the phone for a good 6 months in 2009. I must say, it didn’t stick immediately but I am convinced that, by 2012 – the user interface will be waaaaay more intuitive and, as that was the biggest roadblock as far as I was concerned, I expect the pick-up will be much greater.

This doesn’t mean it will be a walk in the park for Nokia, it isn’t as if NFC will be considered as big a commodity as SMS was in the 90’s – not by a long shot – but it isn’t anything a healthy publicity campaign wouldn’t solve. The moment a bunch of 20+ year olds see, believe and trust that totting up and settling debts amongst friends can be as quickly solved as a couple of buttons, beeps and a waft of their mobile – the peer-to-peer micro payment will be alive and kicking.

From my perspective, this would have been incredibly helpful over the past few years for exactly that reason. The amount of times I paid for dinner with a friend, or bought something in full that would then need to be broken up amongst a small group of friends, only to find that all they had was cash or a 3 week wait whilst they finally found a moment to log onto the online banking was utterly frustrating.

Equally, instead of using this technology to settle up on shares of a larger debt to one person, a bunch of friends (all with NFC enabled handsets) that need to split a dinner bill of £60 directly to the waiting staff could simply apply a bit of basic mental division, type in their individual totals and send the authorised amount to the waiting staff’s handset/PDQ machine!

On an utterly serious note, I would very much like to see NFC technology adopt a far more consumer friendly title (and verb), “Bamph”. As in…

“Mate, you still owe me £8 from that round last night, I’m away next week so can you just bamph me it now?”

-Or-

“Little Mikey, I’ll bamph you your pocket money… but first give your old Nan a hug!”

See? Sound awesome. Way more colloquial than NFC and one syllable shorter than PayWave!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Square Demo – iPhone cashless payment app (and accessory!)

Thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, a friend that always seems to have the very latest or very coolest news to share (@Jasonfas) inadvertently pointed me in the direction of this Youtube video by Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.

The video is a run through of a beta/prototype app and plug-in accessory for the iPhone that allows the user to create their own credit card transactions wherever they might be in the world (with signal).

Whilst, from my own cashless point of view, this is an excellent concept and will certainly radicalise how vendors and consumers go about transactions – there are a couple of big concerns at the same time…

Firstly, it is based upon card swipings. Swiping a card, as far as I am concerned, is as archaic as paying in pennies. It is unsafe and usually means signing for authorisation rather than the far more trustworthy chip and pin. The action alone is bulky and unnecessary and, worse of all, it means that the card owner has to hand over their beloved card to the vendor, allbeit temporarily. The major card manufacturers and some serious 3rd party players are leaps and bounds ahead of swiping… even the highstreet-ready paywave contactless technology seems more fitting but that is just the beginning of what is (and could be) out there.

Secondly, who is going to allow a complete stranger running a cheese stall in a marketplace to take your hard-earned money through all you know is their own personal phone? There is going to have to be an incredibly heavy brand-trust building exercise that needs to take place before these things can hit the shelves in a sustainable way. VISA, Ammex, Mastercard etc are all household names with huge swathes of brand history and huge consumer/celebrity and corporate endorsement and they are all still struggling with the public’s relentless grasp on cash. If Square think they will be able to waltz in to a market as polluted as transactions is already without a steep learning curve… well… I guess they’ll have an even steeper learning curve to battle!

So what could Square do to make their lives that little bit easier?

Work faster. The market place is already beginning to emerge with similar propositions, like Mophie for example. Even in England alone it is clear to see that battles like this rely on brand preference, MasterCard vs. VISA will continue their epic marketing and PR battle for eternity; constantly pitching themselves as the consumer’s choice. If more than one Square comes to market in a short period of time, how will they place themselves in people’s minds.

Team work. From what I have read so far, there doesn’t seem to be a corporate partner involved which is certainly heroic and, hoping it takes off, such an absence will lead to an exceptionally profitable venture for Square. But teaming up with the guys at Visa or suchlike might actually yield more in the long run that initially thought. VISA invariably has a huge resource of consumer feedback, trials, psychology and advance technologies that they are just itching to get out of the lab and onto the high street. If the minds of Kevin Rose and Jack Dorsey (another investor and coFounder of Twitter) who’s’ entire success has been built on implementing the worlds most simple user interfaces to something we all do every day anyway teamed up with the techs at VISA and brought to market a joint concept – consumer friendly and accessible and still safe, secure and cutting edge.

I’m still really interested in how this will work in the future…  I don’t want to poo-poo the concept at all but right now I don’t believe Square is going to pave a way to a cashless society with this incarnation but I believe they will eventually as long as they listen to the old boys in the game and build on their learnings from over the years.

If anyone at Square ever reads this, I’d love to know the answer to a few questions – namely, micro-payments (which this is all it will be used for initially): who picks up the transaction fee? Especially in light of Ammex’s incredible fee for vendors? And, please tell me you’re using the technology behind the app, Bump for secure iPhone to iPhone transactions? That’d be mega.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Human Element

For anyone that reads LosingFace and doesn’t actually know me, I am not a shy person. Nor am I afraid of drawing attention intentionally or otherwise. I wear ridiculous socks, deliberately rolling up my trousers, I don’t own a ‘typical’ suit, I will occasionally refuse to whisper at inappropriate moments striking up a conversation with a stranger is an integral part of my day.

It isn’t a natural personality trait, far from it; It is part-and-parcel of being a 6foot 2inch, lanky, quasi-ginger… if it is difficult to blend into a crowd, why not try your hardest to stand out?

Quite a simple philosophy.

So with that in mind, please don’t take this lightly when I say, I have had the most embarrassing two weeks of my life.

What has made my life so mortifyingly awkward? Living without cash and relying on two cards that have both been disabled.

Two weeks ago I was in Tesco, buying my lunch as usual, and made my way to the robo-tills. After scanning my bread roll, my humus and a decadent sized chocolate bar I shoved my debit card in the PDQ machine and tapped my PIN number in.

Wrong PIN number.

Now, I thought this was odd, I have had the same PIN number since my first current account 10 years ago and, beyond that, I’ve used the same 4 numbers to buy almost everything for the last 18 months. I know my PIN number better than I do my own middle name.

I entered it again, in case I’d caught another button by mistake.

Wrong.

Last chance. I start to doubt myself. I really want my god-damned lunch. I decided to go for it again.

With the accuracy of an autistic neuron-surgeon I went for it one last time. Tapping each button with unparalleled accuracy and care. Speaking the numbers at the same time. This time I had to be right.

Wrong.

DAMN IT!

In a matter of moments I had wiped out my main tool for consumption knowing that I’d have to wait 7 working days or longer to receive my new PIN. Fuming, I resorted to taking out the credit card, usually reserved for particularly fancy purchases in which my grubby 3 year old debit card just won’t do.

I entered in the PIN and blam! – Wrong!

I decided to not chance it again, I moved robo-till and tried again, it worked. The PDQ machine was broken… it had cost me my debit card. I was so frustrated I barely wanted my chocolate treat any more, let alone my bread roll.

I trudged back to the office in a mood and scoffed my lunch whilst whinging to anyone that would listen. This was the first time in a long time I’d faced real difficulty living without cash.

“That isn’t that embarrassing!” I hear you cry. It wasn’t – it was simply setting the scene for the past fortnight – for which I will continue.

So, one card down – not the end of the world. I’m pretty good with my pennies; I can live in credit for a month and know I can immediately pay it off at the end. I decided this would be OK.

I was right for two days; I managed just fine. Better than OK actually, I’d got to use the Paywave functionality on the card almost every morning with my daily coffee on my way to work. It just doesn’t get old…!

After the two days, however, things took a turn for the worse.

I’d waltzed into Pret, like I do every morning, to buy a coffee and a croissant from the same beaming woman that serves me on every single occasion… she can unwittingly dig you out of the darkest of moods – an absolute wonder!

Anyway, without even ordering, my coffee and croissant was put in front of me, all I had to do was pay. I used my credit card and tapped in my new favourite 4 numbers.

Beep. Refused.

Fuck.

My poor coffee lady friend person looked devastated; like she was breaking the news of a loved ones death. I asked, humbly, if I could try again. She agreed.

Refused.

Double fuck.

It was too much; I was embarrassed for her more than I was myself. I conceded, made up some silly excuse and went to leave. She kindly offered me the coffee on the house and I couldn’t have been more grateful (that’s why I love Pret a Manger!)
When I got back to the office, perplexed and worried about living the rest of my month as a free loading hermit, I rang the customer service for my card. It took 3 minutes on hold and two separate attempts at inputting my card details in the phone keypad before I got to speak to anyone.

I wanted to know why my card had been refused.

This is what the nonchalant woman on the end of the phone said.

“You’ve hit your credit limit.”

What?! How?! I hadn’t used my credit card for ages! What the hell was wrong?! Was this fraud!?!  I asked how.

“You’ve spent too much. You’ve hit your limit.”

A valuable insight. Not what I was looking for by way of an answer. I ask what my limit was, sure that it was at least £1000.

“£260.” She said.

“What?! Why is that?” I asked, increasingly frustrated.

“Because there was a late payment in April. We reduced your credit limit.”

“But I set up a direct debit in February for that card. There shouldn’t have ever been a late payment.”

“Yes, you did. I can see that. But it takes three months to process a direct debit, so it didn’t go live until May.”

“So if you could see I’d put in place a direct debit to always pay the full amount, why didn’t you think it was a bit ridiculous to then reduce my limit?”

“Policy, sir.”

Livid, I paid off the remaining £256 on my account so I could continue using it immediately. I needed to.

Naturally, an electronic payment from one computer to another takes 48 hours, naturally I had to rely on my brother to bail me out. Naturally I was pissed off.

Well, if you’d please excuse my language, what the fuck are they playing at?! When, in the name of all things holy, does it take 3 sodding months to process a simple direct debit from my current account and my only credit card?

With all this technology, with all this singing and dancing contactless transactions, at the end of the day, it is some mindless button basher that holds the entire process up.
And what now? My credit rating is fucked. All because I am trying to live without cash. To anyone else that obviously doesn’t know me, another auto-bot that will decide, without prejudice, that I am unreliable, that I can only be trusted with a £260 credit limit.

I am seriously looking into getting on the property market, it will be a struggle already even before an organisation that has benefitted from me wafting their product in an almost-full-page picture in The Telegraph for piss all has systematically declared me untrustworthy with credit.

This is, singlehandedly, the most frustrated, the angriest, and the closest to giving up I have been so far in over 18 months.

I’ve lodged a complaint, I’ve written to them, I’m even trying the backdoor route through anyone I’ve spoken to by way of affiliation over the last year and a half; hopefully this will get flagged up by their Google Alerts.

Maybe, just maybe, it won’t take them 3 months to process this. Here’s hoping.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Tea for Two

Last night I found myself in a new predicament. After months of happy cashless existence; I got in a pickle over the bill for dinner with friends. It got awkward.

After a typically slow-paced Sunday, it got to about 6pm and my two housemates and good friend decided it was time to eat. Due to the wonderfully frustrating and odd Sunday shopping laws in the UK we were unable to cook for ourselves and forced to leave the house in search of nutrition.

Never failing to impress, our only real considered choice was the local Vietnamese restaurant further up the road in Victoria Park. (It is really, really good by the way, if you are ever in the area go to Namo).

By the time we got there we were bloody ravenous and I could have quite easily found myself picking off strangers’ plates if we’d been sat closer.

Due to said hunger, we all put mid-month budgets aside and went crazy with a starter and a main course… renegade, I know.

Fortunately, an in depth and ethical debate kicked up amongst the four of us about the sustainability and conservation of sea life, especially the mass fishing of critters like prawns. That meant that, by the time the prawn crackers (18% of which is prawn by the way) arrived, two of our diners had talked themselves out of being able to eat them leaving twice as many for myself and another less moralistic co-patron.

Awesome, apparently absolutely unethical, tasty but utterly satisfying; I was looking forward to my starter.

My starter was a equally exclusive, [100%] prawn summer roll or four. Strike two but the scornful looks from across the table were no deterrent against the almighty rumble of my stomach.

One of the things I like most about Namo is how quickly one course will follow another. It is crazy-fast. The moment we had all put down our choice of eating utensils (chop sticks for some, spoons for others) down our plates were cleared only to be replaced immediately with our main courses.

Round two. Go!

Whilst no one had a problem with my ginger and lemongrass chicken with coconut rice beyond the odd combination, they all had their own food and I noshed my way through another helping of eastern-themed goodness.

An executive decision was made that dinner would be adjourned before desert and we’d pick up a couple of pots of Ben and Jerry’s on the way back to mine to be enjoyed in front of a good movie.

The bill arrived in as little time as each of our courses and, thankfully, the four-strong diner party aren’t the type to quibble over £1 here or £2 there and would rather just split the bill fairly and be done with it.

Three cards and a £20 note found their way onto the little tray thing. (I still smirk to myself when the number of cards out number the cash in these situations!)

Without going into why, suddenly it became two cards and a £20 as one guest was picking up the tab for two. When the waiter came to settle up the bill was split by four and the first card was charged for twice that sum.

As I was in the middle of a conversation I hadn’t even realised that I’d handed the waiter a card that was recently blocked after I managed to submit my PIN ‘wrong’ three times in a row.

By the way, whilst we are on this, I didn’t. Tesco screwed up. I have no way of backing this up other than saying; I’ve had the same PIN for over 10 years.

There was a mild kafuffle and standard embarrassing remarks from the rest of my table as I made the above excuse and handed the waiter, PDQ at the ready, another card.

Still in a flap, it wasn’t until the payment had gone through that I realised he had charged me for two people’s share as well as the other cardholder. He then strolled off with the £20 only to return, red-faced and apologetic, moments later.

To him the problem could be resolved easily; I take the £20 and we are all even. Little did he know I was a far more awkward client than that! The entire situation broke down into fits of giggles and quasi-explanations from the four of us whilst the poor man stood, confused wanting to give the bloody £20 to anyone that would take it.

Finally, as one of my housemates already owes me for a night out a week or so prior, it was decided that she would take the £20 and would then transfer it and the rest of the outstanding money by Internet banking when she gets a moment.

That, by all accounts, is quite a long way round to resolve a pretty simple problem. The only thing that bugs me is that it really wouldn’t be if I used cash!

But what would have happened if we all paid by card? I have absolutely no idea if a restaurant can reimburse a card transaction there and then. Can they?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

More Numbers = More Safety / More Confusion + More Effort

When I woke up this morning, waiting in my email inbox from a dear friend and long-time-loyal to Losing Face, was a link to an article from the BBC News website. The only other text was, “Get on this quick…”

It is about the new Emue card technology, aimed at tackling the growing level of internet and phone card fraud or, as the pros refer to it, ‘Card Not Present Fraud’ (CNP for short). The Emue technology isn’t all that new, Australia has already had a trial run (complete with prop-destitute trailer) last year and Visa have been talking about it for a good 18 months, still this is its first real public break in the UK.

Reading it within minutes of waking up was more than a little tricky but, two or three attempts later, it made sense and I’m left with mixed feelings toward the proposed technology.

The card has a built in 4 digit code generator which will be needed whenever making a transaction online or over the phone, therefore eliminating [or at least reducing] the ability to thieve a card, go to an internet café and blow a couple of grand on bits and bobs from Amazon.

As a concept, that is grand; I, myself, have fallen victim to CNP fraud only this year and it is quite a horrible ordeal. Whilst your money is still ensured by your bank, the lack of an actual event makes the entire experience quite murky and uncertain. At least having your card stolen in person provides an awareness of what is happening and what might then happen!

With CNP, you might be utterly unaware of any ill behaviour until a voice at the end of a phone line casually informs you that someone has pretty much drained your entire account from the other side of the world whilst you slept soundly and unaware.

But, whilst the concept is bang on, and there is a clear and present cause for concern surrounding CNP fraud, is this the right mechanic to solve the problem?

Assuming everything works, and Visa are confident that the battery life on the card will outlive the valid dates, I am sure this really is will dramatically reduce CNP fraud following a worldwide roll out.

But, what happens when it doesn’t? Buttons that need to be pinched rather than pressed, a little LCD screen that could crack… operationally, a number of new things could go wrong that would result in needing a new card more frequently than our current system.

Personally, I’d rather have to order a new card every 6 months than have to go through the uncertainty and rigmarole of losing a load of savings to some faceless arse-hole hiding away somewhere in the world but I can’t help thinking that this creates a new set of user-facing problems whilst resolving a worldwide concern.

Isn’t there a way of securing online payments that doesn’t rely on additional, physical processes? And why does the resolution usually boil down to numbers and codes?

If a bank card is personal, the money that that card represents is personal and the purchases made with that card are personal, surely there is an opportunity to do away with adding more identity that will inevitably be copied and relying on physical ambiguity and personal recollection?

What if the online (CNP) access to my current account had nothing to do with my day to day electronic access (whether that is a card, phone, sticker – anything) and instead was simply something I had engrained in me?

If I was to purchase a CD from a website and, when settling my order, I had to submit utterly unique and personal anecdotal information plus one bank-issued serial?

The bank serial could be different from my actual account number thus reducing the online/offline data cross over, the personal information or passwords could be three tiers deep, and all of which would never need to be written down or stored because it is all already deeply engrained in my personal memory. Hell, one of the references could be a favorite quote or sentence from a favorite book or film or song!

As an example, below are four variables that could, literally be anything. Even the people that know me inside out wouldn’t know what to write if there weren’t any prompts next to the input boxes.

  • Account Reference: 12345678
  • Personal ID #1: “I heard that!”
  • Personal ID #2: “I’ll love you forever, if I ever love at all.”
  • Personal ID #3: Sunbeam S7 Deluxe

Written like this, it is more like playing Jeopardy than a secure way of buying something from the comfort of your home but if, when registering for CNP authenticated transactions with your bank in the first instance, the user was given a choice of 10, maybe even 20 prompting questions in which they choose 3, the answers could be anything as long as they mean something to that one unique user.

No need for pressing extra buttons on a card, or another random 4 digit pin, just memories.

Unfortunately, whilst this is all well and good [albeit utterly unfounded and non-academic opinion] but I have had the great fortune in meeting some of the industry’s leading innovators and developers – I’m positive, anything they are putting forward to trial is the most logical and appropriate solution for a worldwide market… In short, I hope I get to play with an Emue card sometime soon!

I’d still like to pay for things whilst remembering some of the most funny and monumental moments from my own personal history though. If I’m shelling out savings for yet another steep electricity bill; I’d rather do it with a smile on my face.

1 Comment

Filed under cashless

How Hard Can It Be? Pt.4

I didn’t have a chance to write anything yesterday because… I couldn’t really be bothered. I was really tired by the time I got home.

True to my word, I decided to go out last night and I am really glad I did. After work I went to the gym (knowing that that wouldn’t cost me a penny) and then went to meet two friends for a drink, although I actually met them to chat and observe them drinking. Much to my surprise I managed to resist the urge to give in and buy a sumptuous drink. I won’t say it wasn’t difficult – it really, really was – but I gradually realised that I was there for the conversation and as much as the barman might glare and fume with unimpressed, pursed expressions for a few hours, it wasn’t the end of the world and I had a lovely time.

Simple!

Again, today I benefited from my company’s breakfast – two Shredded Wheat and a dash of sugar. Ian Botham would be proud! And then, at lunchtime I popped over to VISA to meet some of the guys and talk about all things cashless/contact less… a pleasant way to spend what turned out to be my first lunch break in weeks! Before I knew it was 8pm and I was getting chucked out of work and I was on my bike cycling home, fortunately between rain clouds and more than happy pootling through the back streets and the park back home knowing that Lethal Weapon 4 was waiting for me with open action-movie arms.

Whilst I do miss all the impulsive purchases, things like coffee and socks for example, I’ve been jotting down the number of times my  cravings get to a point that I would usually cave in… obviously not necessarily sock cravings. I think I have already saved at least £30 on just ‘things’ already. In comparison to the money I earn a week, that is quite a substantial amount of money!

Tomorrow is another day and again I am going out tomorrow night, this time I am jumping into completely unknown territory and am going to something called Twestival. I have no idea what Twestival actually is, nor do I know what to expect or the type of people that will also be attending Twestival. All I do know is that the entire event has taken over my Twistori screensaver and that has pissed me off quite a lot.

I am also quickly beginning to resent any word, real or made up, that starts T-w-.

I will update tomorrow about what the delights of the aforementioned event entailed and whether it hindered my money free week at all.

Leave a comment

Filed under How Hard Can It Be?

News Flash! (…It is in there somewhere.)

I was hanging out with friends yesterday afternoon, soaking up a bit of the very rare winter sun and taking in the sights of a very busy Bricklane. It was all very pleasant, despite the stolen bikes at extortionate prices, the ever more blatant contraband tobacco ring and the growing number of DVD rippers… they all add to the street’s unquestionable charm in a strange way – especially when you can’t trade with them in the first place.

It had been a few hours into the jaunt before I was dragged into Beyond Retro, a giant emporium of colourful clothes that the world’s most eccentric almost certainly died in and now provide endless joy and cause for sequinned admiration throughout Shoreditch and Dalston.

Suddenly finding myself dawdling around the chromatic rack upon rack of second and third [and quite possibly 4th] hand youth club T-Shirts whilst my female co-jaunters suddenly became frenzied shoppers; trying on anything and everything they may or may not have liked the look at.

Almost an hour had past and I had run out of faded vinyl team-slogans to read, wacky trousers to look bemused at and broken tin clockwork toys to feel cumbersome amongst. It was time to leave and the ‘I’m bored, get me out of here’, face came out in vengeance.

As quickly as the upturned smile was presented, we were ready to leave and in the queue to pay for a single, solitary jumper (an hour for one freaking jumper between five of us?!?).

I was waiting patiently by the door with the rest of the empty handed Sunday shoppers when a muffled yell of horror came from our final, remaining compadre. She was unable to pay for said jumper as she had lost her wallet. She was pissed off and panicking. I was just pissed off.

After the realisation that it wasn’t in any of her pockets or her bag after numerous and unnecessary double, triple, quadruple checks, the group therapy began; a chorus of “Well, where did you last have it?” Followed by, “I don’t fucking know, it must have been stolen, it isn’t where I put it. Fuck.”

I don’t think we were helping. All I could think about was how shit it is to lose everything like that. I’ve never lost my entire wallet at once, I’ve lost the majority of it over time but I have never been incapacitated entirely in one foul swoop. If it hadn’t had been hours in the waiting, I would definitely have felt sorry for her.

Fortunately she had her passport still but that was literally it. Everything else was gone, her bank cards, her cash, her ID, her driving licence, personal pictures of friends and family from home, the works.

OK, I did feel sorry for her. Especially for the unenviable task of telling her parents back in France what had happened; no matter your age, parents cannot help not helping – they will be angry at the victim, they will suggest redundant suggestions on how to prevent what has already happened or they will tell you that another sibling would be less likely to have found themselves in such a predicament.

After a few more minutes of unproductive but justified flapping, we deduced that the last time she used the wallet was in Pret-a-Manger on Bishopsgate, despite being hours earlier and subsequently spending the time in between meandering around an absolutely jam-packed market renowned for opportunistic pick-pockets with a handbag that has a broken clasp, Pret seemed like a pretty logical place to look first to me.

Nope.

Wrong.

We should talk about it more and then probably go and get some food somewhere to talk about it further… an orthodox plan, but I was willing to see it through if it meant not causing a fuss amongst people I didn’t really know.

Unable to console, unable to help by actually looking, being almost strangers; even a pat on the back seemed inappropriate. I called a big fat bullshit on the situation and made my apologies to leave. After all, I really did want to go to the gym – I didn’t even need to make up an excuse.

I said my goodbyes, politely wished for the best out-loud and left the hustle and bustle of Sunday UpMarket for the yummy-mummy-chaos of Spitalfields across the road and beyond.

Suddenly, on my way to the gym, I realised I was right outside the fore-mentioned Pret on Bishopsgate and thought it was the least I could to ask inside if anyone had handed it in.

Like the proactive, Samaritan I sometimes claim to be, I waited in line for an opportunity to strike up a conversation about a women’s purse that wasn’t mine, that could like anything because I hadn’t ever seen it, and a name on the inside that I only half-knew with someone that only really wants to know whether I want a mocha or a cappuccino.

It was then that I noticed the inspiration and the original point of this post; Pret have installed Paywave! Whoop Whoop! Another fancy chain of coffee shops has become a little bit more accessible to me… there is now another chain of coffee shops I can no longer walk past and still think it isn’t easy as it used to be to buy a hot drink I don’t need.

Ecstatic about my discovery but concerned about the new low my excitement is triggered by, I reach the counter. Refraining from giving the new payment method a whirl, I ask about the non-descript lady’s wallet – I even make an oblong shape with my thumbs and index fingers to illustrate it’s potential form.

The service assistant looked puzzled at first, then his eyes lit up as if he knew the exact wallet I was talking about, my hopes were lifted from the gutter and…

“No, someone probably stole it. You should ring the police. People steal things like that.” He replied – still with the look of realisation on his face.

I was puzzled by his expressions but not surprised. I didn’t expect him to have found the wallet, let alone with its contents still in place. I said thank you, he asked me if I wanted coffee, I gave in and said yes just so I could play with the contactless system, the coffee came, the Paywave machines weren’t online yet, I had to pay on my scabby debit without showing off, and then I left with a luke-warm, overpriced coffee that I really didn’t want.

But at least I left with my wallet, my identity and my cards still in tact and in my pocket. If that had happened to me I would have lost my only way of paying for anything, my Oyster card, my ID and almost as importantly; my ‘go to the loo for free’ card when playing Ring-of-Fire drinking game!

Crap coffee aside, my Sunday was a lot better than my friend’s.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized