November 07, 2003

I hate banks, credit card companies, and the financial industry...

I just had this revelation the other day when I was forced to call ShittyBank, err, I mean CitiBank. You see, they splashed up a cryptic error message when I tried to login to their web site and view my credit card balance. It claimed there was an error and that I should call.

I couldn't imagine what the error was. It had worked fine just a couple days before. So I called. Remarkably, I got a human within 10 seconds. But that's about the only good thing I can say about the experience.

In Derek style, here's an abridged version of our discussion. We pick up the discussion after she got my CC number and confirmed that the various charges from Asia were, in fact, mine. That got me wondering...

Me: I'll be travelling again in a few weeks (to India). Would it help if I told you in advance this time.

CSR: Yes, it would! Could I have your departure and return dates?

Me: Sure. I'll be leaving from SFO on date, flying to Frankfurt, and then staying in Bangalore until I return on date.

CSR: Great. Will you be travelling anywhere else during that time?

Me: Nope.

CSR: Okay, I've put the information in your file. Thanks! This doesn't mean that the problem won't happen again.

Me: What?!?

CSR: This won't prevent your card from being flagged as stolen or having fraudulent charges.

Me: Wait a minute... Why did I just give you even more personal information about me than you had before?

CSR: In case our fraud department manually reviews your account.

Me: Let me guess. They don't manually review every incident, do they?

CSR: Of course not. ShittyBank is a very big company.

Me: So we're having this discussion on the off chance that someone decides to look at my file after you've decided there's a problem.

CSR: Right.

Me: What are the odds of that happening?

CSR: I don't know.

Me: Just so I'm clear. I've verified my identity to you. I am me and have my credit card in hand. You'd probably increase my credit limit right now if I asked. But you won't take my word for the fact that charges made in India are very very likely to be mine?

CSR: That's correct, Mr. Zawodny.

Me: *click*

What I failed to ask is why their fraud detection waited nearly a week to do damned thing about any of this. As I said, I had no trouble a few days ago.

What prompted me to finally relay the details of this? I happened across Nelson's complaint's about American Express and realized how all these companies universally suck.

(Nelson is one of the many cool folks I met at Foo Camp. He hails form the land of colored balls.)

Posted by jzawodn at 10:58 PM

God Uses MySQL

There was a lot of reaction to my recent post about MySQL at Sabre, most of which I don't have the time or interest to respond to. Too many people just Don't Get It and Never Will.

But I was inspired to visit the church sign generator and make the image you see with this post. I think it's amusing. :-)

Anyway, life would be so much easier if people stopped trying to think of MySQL in terms of Oracle or PostgreSQL or MSSQL or DB2 or... other database servers. It's none of them. It does many things they do not and doesn't do things they do. It satisfies different needs.

And, finally, those who want to argue that "a real database server should do ________ or ________" don't get very far with me. I don't care what you think a product should do in some abstract general terms. I care about how MySQL fits the needs of people I work with. Often it does. Sometimes it doesn't. And I have little problem figuring out the difference.

But, hey, if you feel like bitching MySQL, I won't try to stop you... But the recovering catholic in me knows that you'll probably go to hell for it.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:12 PM