enid has blogged before about her bank, the heavily disguised hbsc. well, there is another hbsc story - a dark story of human passions, frustration and regret. now time has passed and the wounds have begun to heal, enid feels able to revisit the past and tell the saga of the lost cash card. draw your seats closer to the fire, light your pipes and we'll begin.
our story begins on a street in kernib, molvania. it's friday evening, and enid stops at a bankomat to draw out some cash for the weekend. the machine puts up a big red shouty message on the screen, telling enid in russian, molvanian and english that there's no money in her account - but enid's just been paid and there is money in her account. enid thumps the machine's keyboard, swears at it (restricting herself to english), and heads for home. it's only when she's unlocking her front door that she remembers she didn't retrieve her card. she runs back as fast as she can, puffing like a asthmatic walrus. of course the card is gone. buggery bollocks. some molvanian is right now spending enid's hard-earned on tart's trinkets in the glittery shops of mandarin plaza.
back home, enid calls hbsc. luck, for the last time in several months, is on her side - no money is missing from the account. the bank cancels the card and enid orders a replacement. "how long will it take to get here? i've a trip to the uk in two weeks."
"if we send it by courier, it will be there in four days or so - but it will cost you an extra £10."
"never mind," enid says. "i wouldn't want you to post it anyway. only 50% of molvanian post actually arrives."
"righty-ho, i've noted that down, ms singular," replies hbsc, in a bangalore accent. "nice weather we've been having here in blighty, isn't it? quite splendid for the cricket?"
"save your cultural pretences for others, and speed that card on its way."
four days later, five, then six and still no courier from hbsc. enid calls. "that card you couriered to me?"
"oh, no, we posted it. it would have cost £10 extra to courier it."
"but i expressly told you not to post it," enid says. when angry she tends to use words like "expressly", which are not part of her everyday lexicon. (nor is "lexicon" part of her lexicon, come to that.)
"sorry, ms singular, but the card should be with you in two weeks now. bit chilly here in blighty, isn't it? still, the sun's out, which is jolly spiffing."
enid, who is prepared this time, points out that its 36 degrees in southern india, and night time to boot.
enid and her barclaycard squeak through the trip to the uk without major financial hardship. back in molvania, the two weeks come and go and enid phones hbsc again. "so, as i predicted, the letter with my card in has gone missing. i'll be in the uk again in a couple of weeks - can you deliver another card to a branch near my parents' house, so i can pick it up in person?"
"certainly ms singular, which branch?"
"i've made an instruction for that on your records. been a bit wet here in blighty lately, hasn't it? i hope the cricket's not rained off"
"i live in molvania, the place you posted the missing letter to," enid retorts. "the weather in blighty is merely of passing interest, and the cricket less so. please ensure that card arrives as promised."
three days before she flies, enid phones the bank again to check that the card has been dispatched. she is assured that it has. "there's a note here on the file that says to send it to whitstable branch."
"but was it actually sent?"
"it says to send it on the file, so it will have been sent."
"last time it said to courier it to kernib, but was it couriered?"
"let me ch-"
"that was a rhetorical question."
enid's mother and father drive her to whitstable. well, her father drives and her mother points out what he's doing wrong. they manage to park right outside the bank and enid runs inside. "oh no," says the helpful teller (who should be made head of offshore banking at once). "i'm pretty sure that we've not had any letters for collection. but wait there while i turn the bank upside down for you."
she does so. no letter containing much needed cash card.
back at her parents' place, enid calls. "that card you sent for collection to your whitstable branch..."
"we didn't send a card to whitstable-"
"-we sent it to kernib. that's the address on the account. why would we send it to whitstable?"
"is. there. perhaps. a note. in the system. to say. to send it to whitstable? did i not call you merely three days ago to confirm you'd sent it? i've just driven to whitstable expressly to pick this bloody card up, and to be quite frank i'm so angry that i'm using words that are not in my usual lexicon at all."
"oh, yes, now i scroll down a bit there is a note to that effect. sorry. still, the card will be in kernib when you get back, won't it?"
"if you couriered it, it might. did you courier it?"
a week after enid's return to molvania, by some miraculous turn of fate, her card arrives in the post. the accompanying letter mentions her new pin code, which will arrive in a separate letter. there is, of course, no separate letter.
(to be continued, probably for the rest of enid's life.)