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Those pesky pin numbers will take the fun out of shopping.

The internet is such a great idea isn't it? It's a source of infinite knowledge - so they say - and, to be fair, it can make the life of a journalist a lot easier and quicker. Especially when you need to dig out the lesser-known Welsh connections of A-list celebs.

Some bright person in my life (Husb) suggested that we should exploit the internet's full potential and bank online as well. He assured me it was slick, efficient, professional and quick. So how come I'm still waiting to buy an ISA three months after I first applied?

I've just had the most extraordinary exchange with a man from Pete from a company which shall remain nameless if not blameless.

Me: 'Could you please tell me what's happening with my application?'

Him: 'Certainly Mrs Thomas, do you have your plan number?'

Me: 'Yes, here it is blah-di-blah'

Him: 'I'll just take you through security then Mrs Thomas. Full name. Address. Postcode. Mother's maiden name. First school. Waist measurement. Tongue measurement. Your last address. Your last postcode. Numbers one and four of your four-digit security passcode.'

Me: 'Three and Seven.'

Him: 'Nope Mrs Thomas.'

Me: 'Three and Three.'

Him: 'Nope Mrs Thomas. You have one lifeline left.'

Me: 'Can I phone a friend? Can you prompt me? Any clues?'

Him: 'I'm sorry I'm afraid I can't Mrs Thomas. If you don't give me the correct numbers then I'll have to send you a letter with a new code and then you'll have to ring me back once that's arrived.'

Me: 'Can't you email it?'

Him: 'I'm sorry Mrs Thomas.'

Me: 'So I've gone through all that and because I can't remember four flaming numbers I have to wait for another letter from you so that I can ring you up again and ask you where the first letter I was waiting for is? Even though I've been through all the rest of the security...?'

Him: 'I'm sorry Mrs Thomas but...'

Me: 'Stop calling me Mrs Thomas!'

These security numbers are the bane of our lives. I can just about remember the pin number for my debit card. But now I have to remember a number to log on to bank websites - you even need one to access certain websites like The Royal Mail. What's wrong with your name, for example, why doesn't that cut the mustard anymore?

Now I hear that instead of signing for our debit card purchases we'll have to type in yet another security number. That threatens to take all the fun out of shopping. Imagine, you're in Karen Millen, THOSE shoes are crying, 'buy me' and you can't get through security! We've had road rage, air rage, even trolley rage, but surely I'm not the first person in the world to suffer from cyberspace rage.' Treat me as an individual, not as a four-digit security number please. And don't call me Mrs Thomas.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 31, 2004
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