Friday, October 28, 2011

Green Eyed Monster

Last year I remember Scott bought an advent calendar from a large London department store. It looked wonderful. He filled each window with treats and probably scoffed them all himself. I bookmarked something that would lead me to getting one sent to Australia from London for myself this year.

I followed it up a couple of weeks ago as this awful christmas nonsense is approaching. Ouch, ok, it is permanent and made of wood and looks fantastic, but at around £90, never mind postage, I don't think so.

I then slipped into a stamping foot, I'll hold my breath until I am blue in the face, tantrum mode. I want an advent calendar. I must have one. I am insanely jealous of Scott's advent calendar.

Ah, some dude in Germany makes very nice ones, although hardly to the standard of one from a large London department store. I have ordered one. It looks great and is about 1/2 a metre by a 1/4 metre, if that makes sense. It is quite cheap really at only €8 but the postage, oh the postage, €20.

It was my second online purchase for the day. This could become addictive.

The first was to a research something in R's old home town. I wanted the death details of his grandfather. Shhh, don't tell him. It is a surprise. Don't I know what the perfect gift is? Details of your dead grandfather!

As easy as it was to buy something from Germany over the net, it was extremely difficult to do so from England. Visa has something called verisign and Mastercard has something, oh, I don't know. Secure something. I used my Mastercard. I entered the last three numbers on the back of my card, but then it wanted a password. I tried the number again and the third time, I was locked out.

I rang my bank. The lass reset my secure whatever and after I hung up, I tried again and once again I was locked out after a couple of tries. I rang the bank again. I was given detailed instructions with a temporary password to get secure whatever. I was also told to use my name exactly as it was on the card. I went through the process twice and then it occurred to me that maybe I have to use all upper case and include the Mr. but too late, locked out again.

I rang the bank again and the chappie stayed on the phone while I proceeded and all was well. In the mean time I had to answer a couple of phone calls and deal with a text message. I was very asweat, if that is a word. I would estimate I typed in my credit card number twenty odd times, read it out over the phone about eight times and typed it in to the phone four times.

I then went back to the website and paid the money after following the process that I was still not sure about. I was actually surprised when it worked.

Maybe it is because I am getting old, but honestly, I have been using a computer and the internet since about 1996. I remember back to when it was easy to pay for something over the internet. Why is is so hard now? As I said, perhaps I am just getting old. At least I had the fortitude to stick at it for over an hour. In time, no doubt I will just say, screw it, I'll go without.


  1. Anonymous11:37 am

    Andrew, £90 for an advent calendar! I dont think even Fortnum & Masons would charge that much.

    I see that you just barely got a picture of Her Maj. We saw on the news here her Melbourne tram ride. They're saying it might be her last visit there. And they made a bit of a story here about your PM's non head bowing scenario.


  2. Now you know why i won't purchase anything over the internet its too complicated and wastes time, then there's every chance of your identity will be being stolen and your accounts cleaned out :-).

  3. First I was intrigued by your enthusiasm for advent calendars.
    Then I became distracted by thoughts of the hours The Other puts into genealogy, and the many discs and subscriptions and bits of paper that create so much clutter an advent calendar would disappear before Christmas even if we had one.
    Then I became involved in all the pluses and minuses of internet transactions and how money doesn't matter much - after all, the Little Baby Jesus was only born in a one star hotel.

    Nonetheless, I think I see the message buried in this post: When thinking of shopping on line, check your calendar for the right date, then pray for guidance.

  4. That credit card verification process you describe so well drives me absolutely nucking futs here! Only one of our three cards is 'accepted' by the system and if I get it wrong in three goes, the Swiss bank we use here CANCELS the CARD. Grrr!

  5. I have only three places where I shop online, each is as easy as the other and seems to be 100% safe. I've never had any trouble. but I'll never use that PayPal system. It doesn't recognise me no matter what I try.
    I used to buy those cheap advent calendars from supermarkets for the kids when they were little, with a small chocolate in each window. Then one year a neighbours child ate all the chocolates over several visits to play with my kids and then securely closed all the windows so we wouldn't notice until the day came to open one.
    We found out it was her when her parents caught her sneaking out of bed to do the same thing at her own house.

  6. Anonymous8:25 pm

    LOL Deejohn: It *was* a Fortnum and Mason advent calendar~ I bought it filled for £125. It was my sole Christmas present and it will last forever. You can buy the empty one for £95. This year I am tossing up whether to get the £45 refill pack but just imagine what goodies I could buy for that much from the supermarket!
    The German one sounds great Andrew - I love all the Christmas markets we get here, often with a German theme.

  7. Anonymous8:26 pm

    By the way - Mark got some of the goodies but yes, I did eat most of them...

  8. Dee John, I think it was actually F & M. Even with your devalued pound, it seemed an awful lot of money. The interest in HM touring the colony is surprising. We here take no notice when she tours elsewhere. Our PM did bow her head but she did not curtsy. I reckon she should have done neither, but greet her as a fellow human being, albeit an important one.

    Windsmoke, as long as you do as your bank says when making such transactions, they will wear any loss.

    FruitCake, I started down that genealogy road, but I am paused at the moment. I checked at the elec tech bank today and both transactions have proceeded, that is, they have taken my moolah.

    Kath, I know why such transactions were easier in early days. They were not very secure. Now they are, but at what price? Almost unusable.

    River, I have not had a problem with Paypal and I have used it a few times. It is connected to my saving account rather than my credit card. I knew nothing of advent calendars when I was a kid.

    Just one christmas for yourself Scott. You are not kind enough to yourself. £45 of sweets from Tescos and you could start on your advent calendar on Boxing Day. The proof will be in the pudding about the German one, but they have some lovely looking ones and a huge variety. I will post a photo and link if it is good.

  9. I bought Pilchard an Advent Truck a few years ago - you know, a kiddie wooden toy truck with 24 little drawers, all to be filled with little gifts. I had the devil's own job finding 24 non-repetitive wee things to fill it with, so much so that it's remained decorative ever since!!! And it only cost $50 or so ...

  10. That sounds pretty cool Red. Maybe I should have a truck next year.

  11. Can't wait to see pics of your advent calendar. I've been on an online shopping spree of sorts. All things I needed but I now try to find things online before I go to the shops. I can get a litre of my conditioner for the normal price for 375ml in the shops. Plus that's still buying it from an Aussie retailer, just not the greedy big stores.

  12. That is cheap Fen. You don't seem to have to buy much larger and it can be so much cheaper.

  13. I don't do online shopping but, oh, imagine how thrilled R will be when you present him with details of his dead grandmama!

  14. Jayne, just wait to see what I've gotten you for christmas.