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Counting and spelling

I bought a new camera this week. I put my last one on a bench in the street and left it behind. I bought the new one with my Barclaycard from an online shop and it arrived in a couple of days without any fuss or mishap.

I only have one credit card here in Spain. The credit limit on it is pathetically low, not like the heady UK days when I had nearly twice my annual salary only a swipe away, but it does the job.

Every now and again Barclaycard block my card. I've noticed that it happens almost every time I use iTunes. The card people don't usually tell me and I find out when the card bounces at the supermarket or petrol station cash desk. This makes me feel stupid and I phone Barclaycard in a huff.

The people who work at Barclaycard customer services do not have a long working day. They like a late breakfast and an early evening meal. Their switchboard is routinely closed when I call the first time and this makes me huffier. During working hours they try to soften me up by playing tiddly pom music on an expensive rate phone call - huff turns to seething rage. The operators are usually pleasant enough though and they promise to sort the problem out. The re-activation normally takes between 24 and 48 hours. Not quite the instant and 24 hour per day service I was accustomed to in the UK.

I bought the camera on Sunday and Barclaycard rang me late on Monday morning, well after breakfast. They wanted to check that the last string of purchases were mine. They were and we parted on good terms. Today I got a text message to say that they had blocked the card again. It seems that there has been some generalised fraud against Visa cards. This time they've not just blocked the card - they've cancelled it.

I don't really have any problems with numbers and spelling in Spanish but I also know that even the most advanced of my English students can be easily unbalanced by making them dance between the pronunciation of the five vowels or having them run through a series of numbers that end in -teen and -ty but with a similar stem -16, 17, 60 and 70 for instance.

When the Barclaycard operator asked me for my ID number today I reeled it off. She didn't hear a part of it and asked me for part of the sequence, I repeated the whole sequence - confusion reigned. She asked me for my home phone number - I had no idea, I know the old one but I've never really learned the new one - I stuttered over the number - confusion reigned. We sorted it out though. She was pretty sure that my new card will be with me within the next week or so (!)

Who knows it may have a chip this time.

P.S It didn't have a chip.


  1. If you have any problem en the future with Barclays, tell me it because I have a friend who work there.
    Barclay´s a bank that I don´t like and I know many people who has had problems with them.


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