Call Centres

Christ on a bike I hate call centres. Spent two days on Skype banging my head against the table and talking to a never ending line of banking people none of whom could help me.

My wallet was pick-pocketed in Taganga on what was supposed to be a last night with my temporary travel family. I can even pin-point the theft to within a minute, it was between me buying four drinks and me dropping a bottle of beer, smashing it on the floor. Still enjoyed the night but after I'd cancelled the card the aftermath was just a big ol' pain in the arse.

I had a few pesos, some U.S dollars and a cash passport with a few quid on it that I'd kept separate but it wasn't enough to cover my hostel bill and onward travel which needed me to get to Cartagena in two days for a flight to Ecuador.

'So the new card can't be sent to Colombia it can only be sent to my U.K. address and takes 2 days?'
'Yes sir'
'Can I make a payment from my account to my cash passport please?'
'Not unless you have telephone banking set up'
'Can I set that up now?'
'Of course you can'
'Excellent let's do that'
'Certainly sir, It will take five days to process before you can make payments'
'Oh. Is there any way I can get hold of some cash or make a payment'
'Yes, I see you have on-line banking set up, you can use your pins entry machine to do that'
'I did bring my little machine but I need my card for that don't I?'
'Yes sir'
'So... any other ways?'
'In any Barclays branch'
'We've already established I'm in Colombia, they don't have Barclays here. So without my card there is no way of getting hold of cash or card?'
'No sir, sorry'
And then we sat on the phone in silence for about 30 seconds.
'Well thank you for your time, you've been helpful, Barclays' systems have been frustrating'

I know it's my fault, I should have known about these sorts of things before I left but I just assumed that as they must deal with this sort of thing every day I'd be fine. In the end I had to rely on Ida for a loan of 100,000 pesos and then I got my parents to Western Union transfer some cash to Quito. If it wasn't for these lovely people I'd have had to resort to making jewellery or selling my body and it would have been several months before I'd be able to buy a bus ticket through those methods.