What do you mean, "The credit card doesn't work?!"
Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
50Trip End Sep 20, 2010
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Here she is with a bunch of groceries bagged up, about six people in line behind her looking anxious, the guy behind the register with this "I don't know, lah" kinda demeanor, her on the phone trying one of her last life lines to figure out why her credit card isn't going through...she's probably called her husband, who really can't do much about the situation. She finally hangs up and says, "It should work. Why doesn't it work? Try again! It should work." G*d I hate that!
Just the other day, Steve and I were at another FairPrice with transportation so I bought more then usual, of course stocking up on the heavier items, which I usually have to lug around the bags on my arms, cutting off circulation. Just as we were checking out, the person behind the register says they don't accept credit cards. I'm usually the one that does the grocery shopping...with cash. We look through what cash we had and it's only S$80, the bill is S$130.
We just so happen to be traveling light, on our way back from the Air Show, and neither of us brought our ATM cards. They do accept NETS, which is a top up card. Someone gave Steve a NETS card, which again we never use, so we ran to the nearby bank, thinking we could top up the balance with a credit card. You can!...if you have a local bank (which we do not). (For this particular credit card, we didn't know our pin number...it's not that often that you have to use a pin number with your credit card...note to self, memorize all your credit card pin numbers...so we couldn't take out cash...believe me, we tried and luckily the machine didn't eat up our card!) He told us that you can top up NETS cards at 7-11 or Cheers (convenience stores). Great!...only to find out they only accept CASH!
In the end, we had to go back to the store...yes, we thought about just leaving but we had just signed up for membership at a movie rental place and I happened to stick the paperwork in one of the grocery bags that I thought we were about to take home. So, here we are routing through our stuff, trying to sort the necessary items and tallying up the costs in our head so that we don't go over the S$80. Meanwhile there's a line of people waiting to get going with payment for their own groceries (no we did not hold up the line the entire time we were running around trying to get money). I'm there saying, "Sorry, we are new. We didn't know! We didn't know you couldn't pay with a credit card," like lines out of Seinfeld. WWeather it's ya didn't bring the cash, you have to call up your card company to authorize large payments in advance, you have to notify companies that you live overseas or are planning to travel in case of identity theft, ya don't know your pin number that you've never had to use, yadda yadda, it's embarrassing to be in that situation.
Even when we first moved here, being the accompanying wife, it's been harder to get a "job." First I had to wait to get the proper bureaucrat entitlement to work, then there's the fact that the global economy has gone down the drain and the hiring has taken a hit, there are a lot more professionals with impressive career achievements being "let go" and hunting for a job beneath their qualifications, the fact that I haven't been working in a corporate setting and I'm living here for less then a year. Ha! Perfect.
I'm against setting up our photography business here, officially. There is all that paper work for the Entre Pass application, research, marketing, only to leave it all in a few months. Instead, I've done freelance work, under the payment idea of donations (not sure how legal that is so I'm not trying to build up the business too much under that pretense) and picked up jobs dog walking. It's that thinking outside of the box skill that comes in handy sometimes... Although it's not much money, I feel like I'm doing something and contributing. (It's unbelievable how much you tie up your identity to your job...)
That leads me, all the way back to where I was starting with having just moved here and having to rely on Steve to give me money all the time (that SUCKS!). My husband is great and wants me to be happy so he encouraged me to meet people. I started going to lunches and coffees with ladies in similar situations. The money topic came up a few times and I found out that some women are actually on monthly allowances so they don't have to ask for money each time they go out. I can see how that would work for some but with my not having many expenses, we worked it out to just being given money when needed.
So on one of my lunch outings, we go to this expensive Mexican restaurant (you wouldn't believe how much we pay for Mexican food in Asia). Steve tries giving me more cash then I thought I would need so I take half. Lunch was great, we shared pitchers of margaritas and then the bill came. Wouldn't ya know I had just the perfect amount!
Problem was that this restaurant is no where near walking distance to my house, there's no train nearby and I had no idea how the bus worked or if there was a bus station nearby. I came in a taxi and that's pretty much how I'd have to go home. Did I mention it was POURING rain outside...seriously, it could have been monsoon rains! I wasn't worried though, I had my US check card. I open up my wallet and realized, no, I don't have my card. For the sake of being cute, I changed out my wallet and extracted only the necessary things (not including my card) to fit in my clutch! URG!! What to do?!
While the girls are discussing where to go next for drinks and wait out the rain, I dash off into the bathroom and try to figure out my next move. I, like the frantic women in the grocery line, call my husband. I'm whispering my concerns behind stall number 2, like a school girl afraid to get caught smoking in the girls bathroom. So pathetic on so many levels. Steve had a lot on his schedule but in two hours, he'd be able to come swoop me up (at least a 40 minute drive). DOH! I kindly accepted the offer as I plotted out what I was to do for 2-3 hours in the restaurant, all by myself...when my immediate savior comes looking for me in the bathroom...
Remember, I had just moved to Singapore and didn't know the girls that well. Well, Marianna, was an angel and she could see the distress I was in as I reluctantly opened the bathroom door. I spilled the beans and after she told me how silly I was for not explaining myself earlier, she offered to spot me and so off we went to the wine shop with the rest of the ladies. (Here's where you are thinking, why didn't I just borrow the money to get home? I felt like here Marianna was helping me out that it'd be rude to take the money and split...even though I was going to pay her back...my logic is not always there.)
I explained the situation to Steve and he was cool with everything...still even picked me up and I (he) paid Marianna back on the spot. I learned a few lessons there and gained a really sweet friend. Steve did remind me that he offered to give me more money to begin with.... There's a lot more money woe stories but I think ya get the picture...