Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'The ATM ate my card, so it's back to the old counter culture'
In The Red
Saturday 29 November 2008
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 Meanwhile, I've survived on a limited fund of cash withdrawn the old-fashioned way – at a counter, showing my passport – on the odd afternoon that I can make it to a branch before closing time.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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Consumers given power to choose a green deal
Mark Dampier: A safe harbour if the market recovery has overreached itself
'Scrap the trap': calls for change grow as banks are told to play fair with loyal savers
Bargain Hunter: Eurostar offers child fares for £1 each way to Paris, Brussels and Lille
Relaxed pensions rules: Guide to what they mean to you
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square