I am claiming the Goose of the Week Award for the second time in my life.
I went to Hobart the weekend before last for a wedding. We arrived a the airport in Hobart at about 9pm on the Friday night. After a rather long day, we were anxious to get to our hotel and possibly catch up with friends who live in Sydney and Brisbane. So we got our bags and headed for the taxi.
The taxi driver was a youngish man of about 30 years old or so and seemed pleasant enough. We went into Hobart and arrived at our hotel at about 9.30 or so. I paid the driver cash and in my hurry to get the bags out of the boot, I dropped my wallet onto the floor or the back seat and didn’t notice it going. I noticed it when I got into the hotel about 2 minutes later. The taxi was nowhere to be seen when I rushed out of the building.
In a panic, I ran to the nearest taxi rank and he wasn’t there, I then ran to another one in Salamander Place, about 300 metres away and yep, plenty of cabs but not the one I had used. One helpful driver advised me to call the police which I did but he said he didn’t have much hope that the wallet would be returned. He was really sympathetic and I was impressed. The hotel was fantastic. It rang the three cab companies and they put out bulletins for the cab to return the wallet. I offered a reward of course. I rang the companies myself over the next two hours. Goodbye wallet, $350 in cash and my cards.
Later that night I cancelled all the credit cards and arranged new ones. Fortunately my major card and driver’s licence was in another place so I was OK. My GOTW award is in the mail. It is my second.
My first came when I was in Beijing being the shopping trolley for my wife who was there on business. I decided to pay for a holiday for myself and join her on her day off. Same story. Got into a cab and in my rush dropped the wallet on the floor. But … I rang the cab company and my hotel who did likewise. By the time I got back to the hotel, about 40 minutes, the cab was outside my hotel waiting to give me back the wallet. The driver said that a passenger had given him the wallet and he had called his base to see if I had contacted them and since I had indeed done so, he was returning my wallet to me. The cash was gone of course, but the cards were fine. And I got my first GOTW award.
Contrast the two incidents. Civilised Australia and goodbye wallet. Beijing, with teeming millions of cabs and wallet returned. Food for thought!
Of course I have no-one to blame except myself for both incidents but really … I expected better from my own country.
Now, as a consequence I had to replace some cards. Again, different responses. I went to the St George phone line and they said Ok, card cancelled, we’ll have a new one for you in about a week at your local branch. And indeed it was there for me. I went to the Beyond Bank on my return and they said a replacement card would take about 10 days cos there was a public holiday in the middle. OK says I, fair enough.
I rang the HSBC Visa and they cancelled the card and arranged for one to be posted tome in about 7 working days. Again, fair enough. Young John wandered into Medibank Private with his tale of woe and they arranged for another card to be sent in about the same time as the HSBC mob.
Then, off to the Medicare office that is part of the Human Services shopfront in Woden. A crowd greeted me and I took a seat. In the time I sat there some people had been born, lived their lives and died! Appalling. One doesn’t appreciate incompetency enough until exposed to it. Eventually, a nice lady saw me and in five minutes gave me a paper card and told me it would take about 30 days to get a new card! Yep! 30 days.
Now, I’ve been supporting the public sector for decades against the invasion of the private sector. I have resisted attempts to privatize the social security system. But if this nonsense prevails, it is no wonder people are keen to try another model.
Anyway, I have my two GOTW awards, am feeling a bit better now after my panic attacks and am just waiting for the Medicare card and hoping I don’t kark it before it comes …
Lesson for young (and old) players in travel. Keep your wallets and purses where you can see them at all times. The Goose of The Week award is available.