I have to admit it. I am not an overly patient man. Today tried my patience to the limit. It all began when I noticed that our local appliance and furniture shop, Harvey Norman, was offering 30 months free credit on Apple computers. I need a new computer so my interest was piqued. I have always disliked this shop for two main reasons. First the name is incredibly stupid. It sounds like the founder had a really boring name and his advertising agency suggested he reverse it to make it more appealing. Secondly, it stocks the most God-awful furniture ever to have been shipped from China in its entire history and that includes those three ton coffee tables in shit-brown wood popular in the Mao era. Today I passed such design classics as a blindingly white shiny melamine (?) coffee table for a mere $600. I took a wild guess that in two years time the same table will be on sale in a local recycling shop, complete with scuffs, scratches and sun yellowed surface for about a tenth of its purchase price. However, I digress. I made my way to the computer department.
Strangely three of the assistants in the computer department were Indian. I was intrigued by the statistical improbability of three people from the sub continent ending up in the same depressing store. I engaged one of them in idle banter about a trip I had made to India and then we got down to business.
Yes he could offer me 30 months free credit. I took out my GE Money card. Ah no, it seems my card has been superseded by a ‘GEM’ Visa card. O.K. I can live with that. Unfortunately, Getting a new card is not simply a matter of transferring my details and history to the new card. That would be far too simple. No, he had to make a totally new application. What is my name, address, DOB, phone number , cell number, e mail address, time at present address, etc. I half expected to ask what color underpants I was wearing. Had I proof of identity he enquired. Yes a drivers license. A utility bill perhaps as well? I had brought a reminder from the council to re-license my dogs. No that is no good because it’s undated. I offer a bank statement. Yes, BINGO. That’s acceptable.
“Can you give me a friends name?”
Are you serious?
I’m not opening a Facebook account.
No, he is deadly serious.
I ask why he needs this. He looks baffled. Because the form demands it. Yes, but why?. No answer. Apparently that bit of the training had been left out. I can tell he is looking around to see if help is near in case I turn violent. My tone of voice must have given me away.
I tell him this is the stupidest question on an application form I have ever heard. I assume this nugget of information is to provide the credit company with a sap whom they can beat with baseball bats until he gives them my hide away address in the event that I default on the massive amount of money they are offering me.
I decide this is the moment to make a theatrical exit. I stand up and tell the assistant in magisterial tones that he has just lost a $3000 sale on the basis of an inane question from a credit card company who, given half a chance, will hit me with usurious interest rates if I go over my credit free period by 30 seconds. What’s more they are probably responsible, in part, for the world financial melt down, rigging LIBOR and selling shonky financial derivatives.
As I march out, the effect is totally spoilt by the assistant running after me waving my Driver’s License which I have forgotten on the table.
I’m not going back there in a hurry.