Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wallenstein's Day

In DK's absence, a daily dose of cynicism from someone who can't be arsed with this skiing lark. Or, indeed, this flower giving anonymous card sending silliness. My sister makes money out of it, I just glower at people.

Anyway, from Rho:
Roses are white
Violets are white
Overexposed photos
Really do bite
And, of course, the Pub Philosopher gives us the origins of the silly day:
Not many people know that Valentine's day is a relatively recent invention. It was thought up at the turn of the last century by a Jewish card manufacturer in New York called Solomon Wallenstein (the W being pronounced as a V as in the German). He found that card sales were very slow between Christmas and Easter. In the nineteenth century, infant mortality rates were much higher in winter and so fewer people had birthdays in January and February. Consequently the sale of greeting cards dropped in the winter months.

Wallenstein's innovative solution to this problem was to create a celebration for lovers in the middle of February. He knew that most celebrations were based on medieval religious holidays so he dug out a long forgotten saint and created a story around him. Having a sense of humour, he chose a saint whose name sounded similar to his own - St.Valentine. With some help from his journalist friends, the re-discovery of this ancient tradition was publicised and marketed. Wallenstein made a fortune from selling his cards across America and a new tradition was born.
Well, sort of.

Oh yeah, and what a great day for the bastard banks to mess up paying by card. For some reason, they've let me keep my debit card. But, it's due for renewal in November. You know what that means, right? It was issued before chip and pin bollocks. So, as of today, every poorly trained fuckwit behind a counter is going to try and refuse my purchase because I need to type in a non-existent PIN. I've already had them try a few times already, stupid arses.

For the record; from now on, if you have a Chip and PIN card, and the shop has equipment to take it, the banks are not obliged to honour transactions that you've signed, which means shops can refuse to take your card if you won't use your PIN. If you've got an old card, or a new Chip and Signature card which is issed for those who can't use PIN numbers, like some classes of disabled people, then expect an argument or 5.

If there was any money in the account, I'd look forward to it. As there isn't, I await payday with interest, wonder how many managers I can have called to the cash desk in one trawl down Torquay high st?


Katy Newton said...

Funnily enough, I read that and thought to myself, "That sounds more like a shadowy-Jews-running-the-media conspiracy theory than a genuine historical fact. I shall investigate further."

MatGB said...

Which is pretty much why it amused me, he managed to push so many buttons and then I got to the next paragraph and went "oh. Sneaky..."

Anonymous said...

And people continue to fall for it, year after year!

Mr Eugenides said...

The bank issued me with an old-style debit card late last year, for some reason, instead of a shiny new chip-and-PIN effort. So now I can look forward to arguing with braindead jobsworth school leavers just because they screwed up.

Then again, I don't have any money, either, so it makes few odds. Hey, maybe that's why the bank screwed me.

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