Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'The ATM ate my card, so it's back to the old counter culture'

In The Red

Organisation and self-discipline are two things I lack, pretty much in equal measure. Because of the lack of the former, I have managed to lose my bank card – a development which, rather miraculously, seems to have helped with the latter.

Last week, the cash machine swallowed my debit card. Initially, of course, I assumed that it was all someone else's fault – that some criminal gang had managed to hack into my account and taken what money I had (not much, admittedly: this would have been the least ambitious gang of all time). The bank must have closed my account in response to its sudden emptying and neglected to tell me about it. Or perhaps the bank suspected some illegal act on my part, and was clamping down in case I fled to assume an alternative life as a bartender in Morocco.

Needless to say, this wasn't the case. In fact, the card-swallowing incident was but the final leg of a much farther-reaching chain of disorganisation on my part. On heading off to university six years ago, I had left my parents' address as mine, collecting my bank statements at the end of each term and shoving them (often unopened) into a bulging folder marked "misc". This continued after I graduated, for the year that I lived with my folks in north London. Then, finally – and this is where it all starts to go really wrong – I moved out of home, but forgot to register this with the bank.

So the statements kept arriving at my parents' house, and they started forwarding them on to me. The first few arrived, and then they slowly trickled off until I barely received any post at all, ever. Not that I noticed.

It turns out that my postman had got fed up with decoding my mum's scrawl and had started simply returning the statements to the bank's headquarters. Four months later, they assumed I'd moved, or died, or something, and confiscated my card. Not an illogical move, but one that – stranded as I was, with empty Oyster card, in Canary Wharf Tube station – did little to soothe my temper.

We figured something out – the HSBC call-centre and me – and arranged for a new card to be posted to my new address. Meanwhile, I've survived on a limited fund of cash withdrawn the old-fashioned way – at a counter, showing my passport – on the odd afternoon that I can make it to a branch before closing time.

And you know what? It's done wonders for my spending. I used to wander the supermarket, picking up any old thing, but with only £20 in my wallet I knew I couldn't do that. So I just bought less, spent less and – who knows? – possibly lost a few pounds along the way.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

    Helpdesk Analyst

    £23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

    Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

    £27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London