The WaMu Fuck You

Trip Start Oct 23, 2006
Trip End May 08, 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, March 26, 2007

We left Greymouth in the comfort of Dierdre's homey interior. We'd gotten to know her pretty well in the past two weeks, and the trip back to Christchurch would be her big test. We were returning via the steep and twisty Arthur's Pass. Dierdre has problems in 4th gear, especially with three passengers, and even more so on steep hills. But I'm not sure we had much trouble. I slept most of the way to Christchurch, only waking when we stopped to take pictures. We seemed to make it fine.
Jon and I were scheduled to fly out at 6am the next day, so we figured we'd just hang out until the wee hours of the morning and then Buddy would drop us at the airport. When we actually arrived in Christchurch, it was still early. First thing first, I needed lunch. Buddy wanted to hit an ATM so that he could pay me back for the blackwater rafting. Long story short, Buddy's Mastercard wasn't working at any ATM we could find. Mine wouldn't work either. We were furious, frustrated, and hungry. We decided to find a restaurant that would take my Visa card again. That way we'd at least be fed and hopefully be able to think more clearly.
After lunch we tried a few ATMs again and then decided to call Washington Mutual. Buddy sat with the receiver pressed to his ear for 45 minutes waiting to get off hold. Then they kept transferring him to different departments. He watched as the dollars on his phone card ticked off steadily. Eventually he was transferred to the fraud department where they informed him his account had been cancelled. There was "suspicious activity". Buddy yelled at them for their incompetence for a while (though not long enough, in my book) and when they'd turned his account back on he handed me the phone.
My account was cancelled as well.
I should mention here that before I left on this trip I called Washington Mutual and Citibank to let them know my exact plans: what countries I was going to, how long I'd be gone, etc. They assured me that this was the best way to avoid any interruptions in service.
My "suspicious activity" was withdrawing money from an ATM in Queenstown. All I've done on that account for the last 5 f**king months is withdraw from ATMs. Why was this suddenly so strange and urgent that they needed to cancel my account? No one on the other end of the line could give me an answer. They gave a lame apology and said my account was reactivated. I could now use my card at the ATM. I hung up and walked over to a bank. No dice, still not working. But Buddy and I decided to give it an hour for the computers to all update. An hour later; two hours; three hours. Neither of our cards was working yet. We called WaMu again. Buddy listened to frustrating muzak for 45 minutes again. When he finally got through to a person and they transferred him, the connection was lost. He called again, livid. I already pitied the person who would answer before Buddy spoke. Apparently the first person we'd each spoken to had "misspoken" and our cards wouldn't be reactivated for use until the next day. Fantastic, WaMu, thanks.
We went out for dinner at a place that did take American Express, so Buddy was able to get me back. The food was quite good (Japanese/Korean) and we were finally smiling again after our stressful day. Unfortunately the day was so stressful, we were all too tired to stay up and ended the day with a nap in Dierdre. We woke and drove to the airport with time to spare (although we took a less-than-direct route). And in a matter of moments, it was good-bye Dierdre and good-bye Buddy. Walking into the international terminal was incredibly difficult. I haven't felt that homesick... ever. Seeing Buddy reminded me of everything I've been away from. And, of course, Jon would be leaving me soon too.
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