Talking Story

valorWe’re screwed. Taxis in the Caribbean are more than four times what I expected and everywhere I turn people have their hands out for a tip. I didn’t bring enough cash, which usually isn’t a problem, but our bank and credit cards won’t let us get cash from the ATMs.

Yes, I called all our financial institutions before we left and told them we’d be traveling and where. They all said no problem.

Problem. Out in the middle of the Atlantic, the AMEX and Mastercard satellites don’t want to talk to the cruise ship. While we can charge all the ship services we want, they won’t give us cash against our credit cards without first talking to the credit card companies. There’s no problem, the cruise ship assures us, we have lots of ship to shore adventures you can charge to your room or you can just stay on the ship.

Not going to happen.

My husband finally places a ship to shore call to our bank, America First Credit Union. The customer service rep tells us we can access our cash if we use our account’s Visa/debit card, the card neither of us carry, preferring the old-fashioned ATM cards we’ve had in our wallets for fifteen years.

We’re screwed.

Except my husband remembers our son must have one of the newer debit cards. It’s late and he knows our son is fast asleep five decks above him. He asks the customer service rep if our son’s account has that kind of card.

There’s an awkward pause when the rep says she can’t give out that information because my husband isn’t associated with that account.

What? my husband sputters.

She’s right. Our son’s account is in my name and his, not my husband’s.

My husband names a figure and says check your records, that’s a weekly deposit into my son’s account from mine. It’s his allowance.

There’s a muffled giggle, then rep says she still can’t tell my husband that a charge was made that morning in St.Thomas, which means our son has his Visa/debit card on him.

Cool, says my husband. Let’s up his allowance.

Small town credit unions rule.

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