Jan 10, 2007, 11:27 PM
Post #1 of 6
So yesterday we are at Chedraui, using the laundromat so that we can get the stuff back that day - procrastination means no clean clothes around here. I go in to use the bathroom and on the way out see the ATM machine and think 'oh, I can just get some cash here and not have to stop at the bank on the way to pick the dogs up at the vet' or something else stupid like that. Normally I go to a certain bank in Playa where 1 of the 3 ATMs is a swipe and not an insert.
Anyway, I stuck my card in and the screen came up saying the card could not be read and then it went back to the opening advertisement. Boom! No Card! I have gotten really lax here, I can't believe I did this. I know that machines eat cards with some frequency in Mexico but it has never happened to ME in all this time. Now I have backups, at least Mimi still has her cards, but after losing the use of my Visa a few weeks ago thanks to CostCo this is a bigger irritant. The only other good part was that I hadn't put in my pin# and the card is not also a credit card so I figured I didn't have to call and cancel it immediately. I did peer around in the machine and didn't see a sleeve or anything else that might have been put there to trap it and no one was standing there waiting and trying to be helpful as scammers do.
It was not a good day anyway, torrential downpours made the drive to Playa a nightmare, flooded streets that I thought would drown our little pickup, having to sit in a laundromat in the land of other-people-do-my-laundry, no internet that morning because the LNB on the dish was full of water...it wasn't a good day in paradise. So, with very little hope, I left Mimi with the laundry (that was the best part) and went off to the closest Bancomer for what I assumed would be a fruitless exercise of my spanish.
Of course, there was a line to see the people at desks. Interestingly, there was also a sign in sheet which made the line work more to my liking. While waiting, I asked one of the guards standing around if there was someone in particular that I should talk to about this. She was sympathetic but discouraging but she did go over and interrupt a woman sitting at a desk and ask her about it. The answer was about what I expected; no way to get it back, call your bank in the US and cancel it, it's a different company that handles the cajero even though it says Bancomer on the side of it, I don't have the phone number for the company, etc. I was about to give up and leave but the guard said for me to wait and talk to the woman.
I was so bummed out that I did stick around and only about a half hour later it was my turn. I explained it all again to her and added that I wouldn't be back in the US until April and that it would be very difficult for me without the card. She said she would make a call, she actually found the number and from what I could hear of her side she had to do some convincing and some proving of who she was and then she told them it was too late today but tomorrow would be fine. It was late, they had already locked the doors to the bank while I was waiting and I was her last person before she could go home. She told me to come back tomorrow at 9am with my passport. I thanked her profusely although to tell the truth I still didn't really believe that I would get my card back.
Well, I arrived this morning around 9:30 and signed in again and waited. What a job they have, there seems to always be a long line of people waiting for them and very little down time. When I got to her, I gave her my passport and she pulled my beloved ATM card out of a pocket on her purse. She photocopied the card and my passport and had me write a note on the bottom that I had received the card and sign it. Wow! I was getting my card back! I was so amazed and sooo grateful, I wanted to give her a hug but the desk saved her. She told me with the classic side to side finger action to NEVER use a cajero at a store again but only at a bank that was open. She also said this was the only time she could do this for me, good god I sure hope I'm not tempted to end up there again for the same thing! Still, it was a miracle! The sun came out, the rain stopped, it got slightly warmer...paradise is paradise again.
Actually, I decided that this was my good karma for taking the time to go to Cancun and tell the manager of CostCo about my credit card number being lifted there.
So, a reminder for others like me who "know" these things but get lax about it because it hasn't happened. Also, a big kudo to Bancomer for hiring a woman with the grace to be nice while spending her whole day with impatient people in a line staring at her.
Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán