Explosive plastic

I have two credit cards and two debit cards; three different networks are involved. This doesn’t mean I’m immune to this predicament, but I’d probably survive it better than some:

Millions of people have been left unable to pay for goods and services in shops, petrol stations and railway stations across Britain and Europe after an unprecedented crash in Visa’s payment system.

Shoppers and travellers were unable to use their debit and credit cards when the meltdown began at around 2.30pm on Friday across Europe.

Visa issued a statement saying it was experiencing “a service disruption,” without identifying the cause.

Major retailers confirmed that card purchases were failing, as queues built up at petrol stations, with frustrated drivers unable to pay after filling up.

As close as I’ve come to this lately was last month, when I pulled up to my usual filling station, did my usual painful exercise to get myself out of the car, and only then discovered that the card reader was inoperative. None of my cards would save me in this case. Rather than go through a second round of contortions, I pulled the Walking Appliance out of the back seat, wheeled myself into the store, and peeled off three twenties. This of course necessitated a second trip into the store to retrieve $17 or so in change, but it demonstrated pretty clearly who rules, and it’s not Visa or Mastercard or even American Express. Cash is king.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)


  1. McGehee »

    2 June 2018 · 12:15 pm

    When that’s happened to me hereabouts, I’ve had the luxury — if the whole gas station was down — of finding another gas station. Years of broken gas gauges have conditioned me not to take chances on how soon to refuel, so I generally have a margin.

    Out in the wide-open spaces, though, that won’t be so reliable. I’ll need to be willing to carry more cash.

  2. BikerDad »

    4 June 2018 · 10:26 pm

    Just did a trip road trip to SoCal and back. Took $500 cash with me, carried someplace OTHER than my wallet. I lost my wallet on one road trip, and had to borrow money from some fellow riders to get back home, so now my “Get Home Money” is separated.

    I ALWAYS try to have cash. Can’t trust the machines…..

  3. CGHill »

    4 June 2018 · 10:31 pm

    Things can and do happen. You have to be prepared.

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