I got in the line and made it to the front fairly quickly. The guy behind the bullet proof glass seemed to be Italian, which, in my mind, boded rather well. I mean, Italians aren't known for their efficiency or anything, but as long as I was being raped by the government, I may as well have my ass pinched, too, right?
So I says, "I need to buy a tv license. Can I pay for it with a credit card?"
PO dude: "No problem. Credit card or debit card. Fill out this form."
I had to leave a lot of the blanks on the form blank, because when you buy a tv license, they want to know your national health insurance number. No. I'm not. Really. Why would I kid about that? TV license. National health insurance number.
I slide the form under the bullet proof glass, along with my credit card, a snazzy little USAA Mastercard with a picture of an eagle. PO dude picks it up and says, "Is this a credit card?"
PO dude: "It's not a debit card?"
Me: "No. It's my credit card."
PO dude: "...."
Me: "It's American."
PO dude: "Do you have a debit card?"
Me: "Yes. It's American, too."
PO dude: "....!? Do you have a checking book?"
Me: "No, but if I did, it would be for an American bank. I don't have a British bank account."
Other PO employee in next booth: "Can't take an American credit card. Has to be British."
My brain: "There's no difference between an American and a British Mastercard. The monetary and banking systems are indifferent to the nationality of the bank the money comes from. They just want the money."
PO dude: "Sorry. You have to have a British debit or credit card."
Me: "You take cash, right?"
PO dude: (tone of surprise) "Oh. Yes."
Me: "It's £121, right? I'll be back in two minutes. Hold my form."
PO dude: "OK. Just come up to the front of the queue with the money."
He redeemed himself with the skipping ahead in line maneuver, so I went ahead and pinched his ass.
This evening, I'm going on an outing organized by an Australian, which guarantees a lot of drinking. We're starting in a pub called The Eagle and Child , which is where Tolkein used to hang out and get shit faced. The Australian girl is funny. She belongs to an international organization that celebrates, relives, and recreates the adventures of Trixie Belden. I thought I was the only person who had read all of the Trixie Belden mysteries! (Link to come -- working on crappy Virgin Megastore computer).
My time is almost up. On the computer, I mean. I'm not THAT depressed. Yet.2 comments so far