Friday, April 15, 2011

My chance of making it big and how I blew it...

For the commute I have a "Pasmo" card, one of those "smart card tickets" which is charged with a certain amount of money and also includes a commuter pass for my regular route. For the regular route to and from work I renew it periodically, but if I go somewhere else the money I have stored on the card automatically takes care of the payment. In addition, I have an auto-charge system in it tied to my credit card, so when the amount goes low it automatically fills it up with a certain amount again. I think that these type of smart card tickets are getting quite common now in most countries, although I only have detailed knowledge about the ones in Japan...

So yeah, with that exciting background taken care of, the real tale can begin. Earlier in the week the card just flat went out and died on me during my commute. To have it fixed or exchanged, I took it the ticketing office of the Metro Subway, explain my problem and asked them to issue me a new one. At first the lady clerk didn't seem particularly surprised as I assume this type of problem is bound to happen from time to time. She asked me some standard questions, put the card in her machine and started pressing some buttons while I stood around waiting for it to be fixed.

After a few minutes of button pressing and her expression started to get more confused and throwing a few "I'm sorry, please wait a little longer" at me, she called her manager who also started to look at her screen and pressed a bunch of buttons. During this they had a conversation in hushed voices and I overheard the manager saying "no, that amount of money can't be possible!?" and saw him note down at least ten figures on a piece of paper while looking at the screen. Another clerk joined in the button pressing, screen staring and the hushed conversation and after a few more "please wait a little longer" the manager came out of the office to tell me that they had to "check something with their head office, could you please wait for 5 more minutes?". Being in now immediate hurry I said "ok" and stood around waiting a bit longer while the manager disappeared into another room behind the office to make some phone calls.

After another five minutes or so he comes back out with a nervous smile saying "we're really sorry but there seem to be some problem with this and it might take a day or two to fix" then, with some nervous ticks and drops of sweat trickling down his forehead "you wouldn't remember the amount of money you had on the card, would you?".

I answered without thinking: "Well, probably around 3,000 yen or so I'm pretty sure", which seemed to bring him immense relief as he scurried back into the office.

Two seconds later I realized that I had gotten a once in a lifetime opportunity and blew it... What I should have done was to answer, with a stone face: "I should have at least a few billion yen on it, why!? It's nothing odd about it, I'm just really really filthy rich and like to keep all my money on my Pasmo card! Now just fix it, I'm in a hurry!!!".

A chance like this just comes once and I failed to grasp it... Well, I guess it'll be public schools for Baby Sunshine!

14 comments:

Chris said...

Well..
at least you can cite the exact moment when you totally blew your child's entire future.

Baby Sunshine's Future

Born:
With Joy and Happiness the moment her existence was known

Died:
The moment Daddy and every great thing he has ever done was returned to him in a moment that he totally blew.


Anyway....
I have looked at the panda's eyes 3 times and it makes me more uncomfortable everytime.

My condolences to the Kid ;)

Eva said...

ARGH! You really blew it! I would have said at least 3万!

Blue Shoe said...

Ah, the golden ticket...gone.

Hanta said...

Your honestly and clean soul is worth all the yen in karma heaven.

I'd have said 一万円 myself

aimlesswanderer said...

That pesky instinctive honesty, it gets in the way at times.

Fernando said...

HAHAHA,....could have gone out of there to the nearest bar..."Next train is on me people!"

SenorFandango said...

Hi long time reader here. I present the Keisei panda incarnate, and its freaking out the kiddywinks:

http://www.japanprobe.com/2011/01/16/japans-creepiest-panda/

Mr. Salaryman said...

Chris - Yep, this was my one and only shot at something big, a ticket out of this mess and life of permanently renting the top floor of Honolulu's fanciest hotel with an army of Swedosh nanny's, tutors and general trainers taking care of stuff for us... Well, I just have to settle and accept I guess...

Eva and Hanta - Well, for this occassion I think it was the option between going for an outrageous figure close to the 10 digit figure they got on their screen or nothing at all, it was my chance and now it's gone...

Blue Shoe - Yep, and never ever coming back...

Aimless - Yeah, why do I have that gut reaction to be honest, I should have a gut reaction of outrageous lies more often, would make life more interesting

Fernando - Or I could have just bought a train for myself or even the whole Tokyo Metro system!

SenorF - Welcome here and always nice to hear from new/old readers! That panda is quite creepy indeed

Anonymous said...

Well, now you just have to hope that when the next credit card bill comes, you won't see a 3 billion yen invoice from them...

Sam Pugeda said...

Well even if you tried going for a bigger number, if what you guessed is no where near the figure they were seeing, they would be really suspicious of you. Honesty is the best route! It sets a better example for Baby Sunshine :)

McLucky said...

Awesome story, it made my wife and I laugh quite hard. Reminds me of paying a year's worth of back health insurance payments and the shiyakusho person asked me how many monthly payments I would like to split it into. I said 1,000. This was followed by a long period of silence. If the shiyakusho person thought that a staring contest would solve this they were wrong. After some negotiation we agreed that I would just pay it then since I was holding the money in my hand.

A said...

Assuming you had said something like 1000万, is it even possible to discharge these cards?
Well, I guess an infinite amount of free train rides is not that bad, but... :P

Mr. Salaryman said...

Anonymous - Yeah, exactly, that was one of the thoughts that struck me, could've been quite annoying indeed!

Sam - Yep, the figure seemed to be quite unreasonably high, even those people might realize that I probably don't have more than the total Japan GDP on my Pasmo...

McLucky - Thank you, glad you enjoyed it and yeah, if that guy asked he should have just arranged for 1,000 separate payments (10 yen each?)!

A - No, don't think so, it would be a lot of train rides and buying gum and cheap stuff at the kiosks that take the card until I die!

srovenu said...

Funny story, and that creepy panda reminded me of saying: don't be racist, be panda - black, white, and Asian...

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