Monday, July 25, 2005

A large vein in my forehead...

I'm having a simply wonderful day dealing with corporate and government bureaucrats around the world. Luckily I've been primed for it, as I'm reading Rob Grant's "Incompetnce".
The UK DVLA (Vehicle Licensing) and its partner VOSA will not register or test a vehicle without it having 6 months insurance in advance ... but finding an insurance company to insure an unregistered vehicle...hmmm.
One of my US banks will not allow foreign customers to alter their mailing address without mailing in a written form - but their form has no provision for a non-US address or phone-number. The same bank will happily take instructions over the web to buy unwisely chosen stocks. I am changing the address because so many UK institutions will not accept a VISA card with a non-UK address. Welcome tourists one and all - just remember to carry all your money as CASH!!
Of course you ARE all aware that since May 30, the VISA and MASTERCARD cartel jointly upped their fee for withdrawing money or using a credit card in a foreign currency to 2.5% per transaction, and that's before your bank creams something off the top - up to another 2%. The old fee was ~1% but because computer technology has brought the marginal cost of changing money down to near zero, that's an excellent reason to boost your net profit by another 150% ... right??? And just to rub it in, because MASTERCARD owns the CIRRUS network that connects ATMs, just withdrawing cash from the ATM incurs the same charge. Many companies now add 2-3% fee if you use a credit card (because they haven't figured in the cost of the alternate ie manually managing cash or cheques), so you may end up paying up to 7.5% commission every time you get out the plastic.
So, since my throbbing forehead vein can now be seen from the space, it's a good time to point out Google Moon to those who haven't seen it. Make sure, you zoom in real close to see the lunar surface!

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