The other day at the supermarket I somehow broke my brain and just completely forgot my PIN, which I have been using successfully for two years now. I think the problem is, right before I put it in, I for some reason thought "Oh my god, what's my PIN?" and once the thought entered my mind, I froze up and just completely forgot it. There are certain things - reversing in a car for example - that I totally can't do if I think about it. This, it appears, is one of those things. Anyway, I was dumb enough to try three times and then my card stopped working - temporarily, I thought, otherwise I may not have gone for that third attempt. I then tried to use it the next day - turns out it was permanent. Not permanent in the sense that you go and see the bank and they fix it, permanent as in you go and see the bank and they have to order you a brand new card. D'oh!
So far, it's all my fault. But when I went to see the bank, I got the mumbliest woman in the world who was just generally unhelpful. She started off by telling me "I shouldn't have done that" when I explained how I'd blocked my card. Um, yeah, you think? I know that now and am not planning on running back out and putting the wrong number in again. She later rolled her eyes when, after dealing with my card, I asked if I could take some money out while I was there - seeing that I wouldn't be getting a replacement card for a week. Reasonable enough, no? And she never asked me for ID despite the fact that I had obviously failed at the PIN test and she was letting me withdraw money from my account. Same thing at the supermarket - forgot my PIN, blocked my card, and then when I had to pay with a New Zealand credit card the girl didn't even try to look at the signature! Dodgy much?
But the reason I say the bank is stupid is because my original card was expiring anyway in October. The bank girl pointed this out and asked if I could wait for the replacement. Obviously, I asked when the replacement would arrive. End of October - nope, don't want to wait that long. So she orders me a new card. THAT EVENING I arrived home and my replacement card was in my letterbox. Seriously, what kind of system are they running where there's no information on file about that and apparently no-one has any clue whether replacement cards are routinely sent out at the start or end of the month in which the card expires? Weak. So I had to go back to the bank and tell them to cancel the other card. Now I'm just hoping that that works and they won't for some reason decide to cancel the new card I just got.
Oh and it took me *three days* to remember my PIN - I actually remembered it when I was on the way back to the bank for the second time. For some reason I had become convinced it started with a certain number and had been running all sorts of combinations through my mind, but a 5-digit number, starting with that number, kept popping into my mind. I kept dismissing it, since obviously it couldn't possibly be right, until it struck me that maybe my feeble mind was trying to tell me something. All I had to do was drop the first number, and voilà, I remembered my PIN. Now all I have to do is stop thinking about it again...
But wait, there's more to this story. Because I couldn't possibly have created enough inconvenience for myself up to this point... I bought a 12-30 special discount card for the trains on the internet the other day (usually it's a 12-25 card, but for the 30th anniversary of the TGV trains, they extended the age eligibility up to 30. Yay!) and hadn't got around to picking it up from the station. Up until the moment I left the bank to head over to the station, I had forgotten that you need to present the bank card you used to make your purchase in order to pick up the 12-30 card. The card that the mumbly girl had cut up in front of me the day before. Fail. So I waited for a very long time in line for a nice man to tell me that I would have to purchase a new 12-30 card and then fill out a form and I would be reimbursed the original 50 bucks from my online purchase in about 1 to 2 months. Which is not very efficient, but after all it's not the SNCF's fault that I am a PIN-forgetting numpty. I must say that I've never had anything but friendly and helpful service at Tours train station. The guy even sensed my lostness (I think) at his original suggestion that I write a letter to get my money back, and helped me fill out a claim form instead. So now I am the proud owner of a 12-30 card, and in a couple of months I'll get a bonus 50 euros coming to me. Not too bad really! And now to plan where I can go with my shiny new 12-30 card!