Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 30 November 2020

Contact Restrictions of a Special Sort


 


30th November --- The supermarkets silently have raised the sum you can spend with a credit card without using your PIN - (45 Euro now). Till The Plague Germany was the country of cash - the Flying Dutchman always aghast, because in the Netherlands you even pay for five bonbons with your card (Memo to myself: should avoid self-censorship by turning harmless use of "five acid drops" to even more harmless "bonbons" - fearing unwelcome associations .. the Netherlands with their free grass politic...) If you pay cash in NL and the sum is "0.36 Euro" they round up to 40 cents (the Dutch always were great merchants!)
In Germany you had to spend hours in the queue before the till because a person tried to hand over the exact sum of money - "Wait!", fumble, fumble, "I think I have it exactly fitting..." fumble, fumble, then, after felt ten minutes: "Oh no, sorry...it doesn't match!" and uttering a little (lonely) pearl of laughter hands over a 10-Euro note. Now Grim Covid educates the Germans moneywise... 

See that little wallet-safe above? I bought it for my credit cards, but didn't use it - until some weeks ago Francine and I sat at Ishin, the Japanese restaurant. The waitress took my credit card - and stopped midway: "What? I did not even put it on the cash-reader - and yet it has already deducted the sum!" 
Oh! - I became quiet...thought... I mean: I live in Berlin... to avoid a shit-storm I want to phrase it politically correct: we have a very mixed public... thimblerigger playing their criminal games on the Ku'damm, though it is legally forbidden ("C'mon", laughs permissive Berlin - "that is piffle, look at our clans which work in other dimensions, think of the recent Great Treasure-Robbery in Dresden...) 
But "Many a little makes a mickle" (or as we Germans say: "Small livestock also make dung-shit"). 
The thimbleriggers do not care about contact restriction, they search contact -"Oh, sorry!" - having this little cash reader in their pocket which can work without the contact of a card - hoho. 
From that day of satori, Enlightenment, I use my beautiful Wedgwood-blue security cardholder - you bet!

 



 

19 comments:

  1. My card was used three times in a row up to the contactless sum allowable even though the card never left my possession. Fortunately the bank refunded me, but didn't have an explanation as to how it had happened. I asked them to change the card into one that can now only be used with my pin. It feels safer now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, while I formulated my answer to you, Rosmary, Tom was quicker! So you have to scroll, sorry.

      Delete
  2. Sometimes these days I feel old when the girl at the shop reaches into my hand and takes the exact money for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though it is nice when they try to help, I can imagine your feelings. Makes me think of Virginia Ironside's hilarious novel "Yes! I can manage, Thank You!"

      Delete
  3. To be robbed three times is very distressing, dear Rosemary - so good that you look your credit card-account up regularly, otherwise one wouldn't have noticed in time.
    And using a pin all time is a secure alternative to the "safe" I use now. It is made of solid steel or whatsoever inside, and the cards jump out on touch of a button - and in the leather are two pockets to hold not so important cards, and a clip for a bank note.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Contactless had already caught on here before Covid. Of course it is now big time. I prefer it, no more loose change except that which I manage for tips and my spending is much more controlled with contactless. I am a complete convert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By 'manage for tips' I mean keep in reserve and am in charge of. (When I reread my comment I thought there could have been misunderstanding about meaning).

      Delete
    2. I am also very content with paying cashless. Of course there are little shops which still only accept cash - as the newspaper shop nearby. He told me they have to pay too much for the service of vis etc.
      But before (and sometimes even now) restaurants(!) don't accept credit cards - and that is really a problem for foreigners who do not run around with lots of rolls of banknotes.

      Delete
  5. I use contactless which is good but, I find it rather sad that people can't wait for the person in front to sort out the right money ! Patience seems to be a thing of the past ..... no-one seems to even want to pass the time of day anymore. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it depends, Jackie: I am too for patience - and friendliness , but do understand people who have only a short break at work, - and that is often the time when old people - understandably seeking contact and life - are in the middle of hectic waiters.
      My (slight) objections against contactless paying are: it is so easy! It hurts more to put bank notes on a shoptable, because you see how much it is - while a credit card might give us the feeling of not paying at all...XXXX

      Delete
  6. I have not had a problem with someone else using my card yet. Thank goodness. I also have a special wallet for my cards so those with scanners cannot get my information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Emma, I didn't have a problem either, and am glad that I was warned before... As you my 'card safe' does not let scanner information through.

      Delete
  7. I still have got some 1 and 2 eurocent pieces in my wallet from RĂ¼gen and the Harz. No good in Holland. I can't wait to spend them in the Ahrtal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, Guusje - they will be so very thankful in the Ahrtal! If you are in the right Christmas spirit you might even drop some coins onto the ground - and watch people doing Santa's Christmas Yoga from the last post :-)

      Delete
  8. The Dutch must hate me. Whenever I'm in Amsterdam (usually once a year) we pay cash for nearly everything. To get rid of the Euros before heading home

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ask Guusje from the comment above, der 50 and counting - she is Dutch! But oh, I see: she can't answer you - she is already on her way to the German Ahrtal, to bring all that cash over the border there! :-)

      Delete
    2. dear, I wanted to write, not "der". I love your pseudonym - because: Yes, we are! (counting and been seen)

      Delete
  9. In our electronic banking world, putting safeguards in place is key for each of us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Absolutely, dear Susan - sometimes I feel quite uneasy if I do something online, with the number of my credit card... seems so easy to add a "zero" to the sum....

    ReplyDelete