Thursday, October 10, 2013

Part II of why the United States and Canada fought over who wanted me less.

Ok, so in the thrilling conclusion to Monday’s post, we find our heroine (it’s me, you guys!) successfully in Vancouver, British Columbia. And a little something you should know about said heroine (still me) is that she woke up that morning at 3:45am in Philadelphia, where she’d been up late presenting at another meeting the night before.

So I took a cab, hopped a plane to San Francisco, ate lunch at 9:30am those people’s time (or so a receipt says (I DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING BECAUSE OF BLOCKING OUT MEMORIES THAT MAKE MY STOMACH HURT) ), and then hopped another plane to the mountain-friendly West Coast Canadian city where I kept texting friends about it being like “Back to the Future” because time was going backwards and I kept experiencing the same thing. And finally Courtney was like “I think you’re thinking of ‘Groundhog’s Day,’ stupid.” Which is why we’re friends, because I was totally thinking of “Groundhog’s Day.”

Anyway, at this point my body thought I’d been up for about 14-15 hours, even though the clock told my body it’d only been up for 11-12 hours because it’s a vicious liar. So my body was like “Let’s head to bed” and I was like “Nope, gotta go have meetings where I’ll dazzle people with my brilliance and not fall asleep talking to them with my eyes open.”

Ok. So fast forward to a few hours later when I finally got to the hotel to check in and go to sleep during daylight hours.

Hotel Clerk: “Um…I’m sorry, ma’am, but your credit card has been declined.”
Me, not even blinking at the word ‘ma’am’: “No, it works….” 

And I slid it back across the desk to her like a crazy person.

Hotel Clerk: “No, ma’am, it says that it’s been declined.”
Me: “That can’t be. I just used it!”
HC: “The only thing I can think of is that, since this is Bank of America, they’re pretty strict about international travel.”
Me: “Oh crap, Canada is another country!”

HC, staring blankly at me because most adults know that.

Me: “I totally forgot to call and tell them I was traveling internationally.”
HC: “Would you like to use another card or call your bank?”
Me: “I’d like to call my bank because this is nuts.”

So, HC dialed the number to my bank from the back of my debit card and slid the phone over to me. Meanwhile, I was furiously checking my bank app to see how much money I had.

And then I lost my mind.

Me: “See, look! I have money! I have money!”

Um….so……I was shoving my phone in her face from across the desk to show her all of my US money. Because that’s normal.

HC, nervously wanting me to quit crazy eyes’ing her: “Yes, I see that….”

Awkward silence.

BOA person: “How may I help you?”
Me: “Hi, I’m in Canada but I live in the United States and I just tried to check into my hotel and my card got declined.”
BOAP: “Did you call to let us know you were traveling abroad?”
Me: “Um, no. That’s why my card got declined.”
BOAP: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, ma’am, but unfortunately your account has been frozen.”
Me: “I understand completely. So…let’s go ahead and un-freeze that, please.”
BOAP: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we won’t be able to un-freeze the account.”
Me: “Ever???!!”
BOAP, laughing: “No, but not while you’re in Canada.”
Me: “Ok, well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And I don’t want to sleep outside tonight, so could you please just un-freeze it?”
BOAP: “I’m sorry, I don’t have that power. But I can transfer you over to the fraud department to see if they can help you.”
Me: “That makes zero sense, but ok.”


Another BOAP: “How may I help you?”
Me, explaining everything again but sleepier and more crazy.
ABOAP: “I’m sorry to hear that, I think I can help you.”
Me: “Thank you so much! What’s your name?”
ABOAP: “Um…Mike.”
Me: “Mike, you’re my new best friend.”
Mike, not knowing what to say because that's weird.

Silence and keyboard clicking.

Mike: “Ok, so before I can go ahead and unfreeze your account, I’m going to have to verify the last few transactions with you.”
Me: “Sure, no problem. Whatever you can do to so I can get into my hotel room. Because otherwise – and I’m not kidding – I will literally sleep on the lobby floor.”

And then the hotel clerk looked scared because she could totally tell I was serious. So, Mike started to go through all of the Becky-approved transactions and stopped at one.

Mike: “There’s an $80 charge here from NYSC?”
Me: “Oh yeah, that’s my gym.”
Mike: “Do you get a personal trainer with that?”
Me: “What? No, that’s just my gym membership cost.”
Mike: “Wow, New York is really expensive.”
Me, laughing: “It is…..why, what does your gym cost?”
Mike: “Twenty four dollars per month.”
Me: “WHAT? That’s crazy! Where do you live?”
Mike: “South Texas.”
Me: “Oh, that’s why.”
Mike: “I love New York, but I don’t know how anyone lives there.”
Me: “Well, I actually live in New Jersey but work in New York, even though I go to the gym in both states. And honestly, New Jersey isn’t that much cheaper than New York. I mean, I'm pretty sure New Jersey has the highest taxes in the country, and everyone would think it's New York, but they'd be wrong.”

And then Mike sort of half-acknowledged all of that because I gave him way too much information while small talking about a gym.

Super-long story short, my funds got unfrozen, I didn’t sleep on the lobby sofa, and I made my way to my room. Of course, since I didn’t leave the people at the front desk terrified enough, as I got into the elevator and pushed the button for my floor, the doors just stood open while I maniacally pushed “4! 4! 4!” and finally – completely unhinged – yelled into the lobby “The elevator is broken!”

And then the nice doorman reminded me that I had to use my hotel key to access the elevator floors and I was like “Oh yeah, that nice hotel clerk told me that 30 seconds ago.”


So I got up to my room and called CB to tell him the whole story.

CB, laughing: “Seriously, this is why people don’t want to travel with you.”
Me: “I know!”


Me: “Also…I might drop our baby.”
CB: “What?”
Me: “Well, today has taught me a very valuable lesson.”
CB: “And what’s that?”
Me: “I really don't do well on very little sleep. I had crazy eyes with the hotel clerk, I showed her my money, I yelled into the abyss about an elevator, and now I’m sitting on my hotel room floor in the fetal position because climbing into bed is too much work. So, I’m nervous that when we have a baby and it’s up all night selfishly crying, I’ll accidentally drop it when I get too tired.”
CB, not even fazed by this: “Yeah, I’ll just make sure you only hold our baby when you’re sitting on a couch or something.”
Me: “See? This is why we work. Our baby thanks you.”

And then I may or may not have fallen asleep while talking to him.

Of course, 13 hours later, I awoke to a text message from my cell phone company to let me know that I’d been charged $300 for my data plan since I didn’t tell THEM, either, that I was traveling internationally.


And so then I called my cell phone company, told them I was a dumb-dumb, they agreed, reversed the charges, and then I laid in bed thinking about how expensive it was to see mountains and visit a Tim Hortons.

But at the end of the day, at least you can never call Traveling with Becky dull, right?

So, who’s in for my trip next month?

Happy Thursday, you guys!


  1. Oh my god, that totally sucks! Because Vancouver is awesome, and you are only allowed to have good experiences! Go to Vera's Burger Shack and get poutine (or anywhere else) and then maybe you will love the fact that you had to go through all these crazy bullshit to fall asleep. Glad you got your account unfrozen!

    1. Thanks!!! Next time I'm there I'll definitely check that out!

  2. That was a very thrilling conclusion to the story. It was gripping and suspenseful and I was rooting for you the whole time. Canada really thinks they are a separate country from us?

  3. It's possible we're living parallel lives. I had a similar experience, in Scotland not Canada, but thr idea is the same. I wrote a blog post about it if you're interested. I'm lame and don't know how to copy and paste a link on my phone, but if you go to, it's the 3rd entry from the top, called ”A Simple Shopping Trip? Not If I'm Involved.” It makes me happy that other people do things like this!

    1. Hahahaha definitely going to read it! Thanks!

  4. OMG you're not the only person. Although when we went to Europe I DID call ahead and get them to send me an international credit card that would work abroad without fees. The fraud department wanted to verify since John and I have a new address and nothing of mine goes there yet. So he asks 2 easy questions then asks me what kind of car I've owned. I had 1 car when I was like 20. And he asks two are the same car but different years...and I went back and forth like 8 times explaining to the guy how I'm really not sure because "I'm not a car person but I really need this credit card since we're leaving next week so can you give me a bonus question or something so I can pass?".

    I passed :) maybe we should travel together.

    1. We should DEFINITELY travel together. I love that you asked for a bonus question. :-)

  5. So, I had the exact opposite issue when I traveled to Alaska. I remembered to call the credit card company and tell them I would be traveling to Alaska, and the woman on the phone informed me that there would be a $3 charge every time I used the card. Why? It is a standard fee for all international charges. Umm...last time I checked, Alaska is part of the United States! And then she kept right on talking and tried to pretend like she didn't just try to tell me that Alaska is a different country.

    Also, no one ever wants to travel with me, either. I am an aviation mechanic and whenever I fly, my plane always has mechanical issues. Every. Single. Time. Also, I have a habit of talking to the crew members about whatever the current issue is, and apparently hearing the details about the mechanical malfunction causes other passengers to panic.

    1. Hahaha maybe we can travel together "internationally" around North America!