So I was online the other day trying to book some tickets to the States. For some reason involving security or something I was having a hard time actually making a purchase. I kept getting a message saying that I'm not authorized to use my own credit cards...yes, cardS plural, I tried three with the same unsuccessful results. I skyped my mom, we tried with her card. Apparently the lack of security clearance for one's own freakin credit cards runs in our family. Her card didn't work either.
Screw it, I thought, I want to talk to a person. I went to the Swiss Air "contact us" page which gave a list world-wide of places I could call for help. In retrospect, I should have called Switzerland a)because it was Swiss-frickin-Air and b) because, as a people, the Swiss are the most organized and problem-solving-ist people I've come across. Actually they are a close second behind the Germans, but the Swiss are more polite. Yeah yeah, I know. I shouldn't stereo-type whole cultures of people. But wait before you pass judgement on my judgements. Listen to what happened when I first called the USA and then Italia.
calling the USA:
recording "Thank you for calling Swiss Air. You are eligible for 2 100 dollar vouchers now just for taking our 3 minute survey. To retrieve your gift vouchers now press one to be connected to our shipping department. Press one now to collect your vouchers. I said, press one now."
"to redeem your free gifts press one to be connected with our shipping department now. Press one now. If you would like to speak with a representative, stay on the line."
pause I stayed on the line.
"congratulations! you've just won a 2-day cruise in the Bahama's for 2! Just press 2 now to redeem your prise and to book additional days for your 2-day Bahama's cruise. Press 2 now."
"press 2 now for your free cruise! I said, press 2 now. If you require assistance with anything else or would like a customer representative call 1-800-6474836773839847839373793937."
So I called Italy:
real person speaking italian "Hello, thank you for calling Swiss Air, this is Luigi, how may I help you?"
me-- blah blah blah "won't accept my credit card"
Luigi-- "hmmmm. yes. I don't know why that would be. Did you enter the address correctly?"
me-- "yes. 3 times. different cards. The cards all have US addresses."
Liugi-- "oh well, that's the problem. it probably doesn't accept cards with US addresses."
me, feeling shocked and more than slightly dumbfounded -- "Swiss Air online doesn't accept US credit cards?"
Luigi -- "well, sure, but if you are trying to use it from Italy, probably not."
me -- "probably not? Luigi, could you ask someone, what the problem might be, or how I could solve it?"
Luigi -- "sure, one moment.......ok, I found out the easiest thing for you to do is go to the post office and get a prepaid credit card for the amount of the tickets and then buy them with that."
me, feeling embarrassed for what I'm about to ask -- "I have an idea, what if my parents buy the tickets for me from the States. Would that work?"
Luigi -- "hmmm? let me go ask.......ok, um, no. that wouldn't work. Not from the US."
me-- "so you're saying that people can buy other people plane tickets just not people who are in the US?"
Luigi -- "yes."
me-- "well, Luigi, thanks. You've been very helpful."
Who wants to do some stereotyping now?