Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bits and pieces and a small rant or two

Saw this on Danigirl's blog and you know I can't resist a quiz. Especially a science quiz.

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

I can only thank whoever loaded up the quiz with geology questions for my good showing. Go check out Dani's blog for info on tonight's total lunar eclipse!

For those of you aware that Leah's eighth birthday was on the weekend, I will be doing a birthday post, I just need a bit more time to upload the photos from her party.

And on that topic, I'd like to say something to the VISA security people, who flagged my payment of less than $200 at a CHILDREN'S INDOOR PLAYGROUND as suspect, and declined it, leaving me standing there looking like a deadbeat: seriously?? I mean, seriously!!

When I called the next day to find out what had happened (after paying for the party with my debit card) they told me that they track your 'spending pattern' and that 'unusual, larger amounts can trigger a flag'. Hello! That's what I USE my credit card for. Unusual, larger purchases. I don't use it often, I prefer to pay with debit and have the money gone from my account right away. But sometimes, not often, I want to buy something and pay for it with my next paycheque. That's WHY I HAVE A CREDIT CARD.

Sure, if a $1000 flat-screen TV purchase cropped up, or a series of purchases in Vancouver, by all means, question that. But $180 at Kids Zone in Kanata?? Come on. What's the point of paying with a credit card if my purchases are going to be second guessed by some security functionary?

The party place itself wasn't stellar either. I called them the day before to let them know that there would be an extra child attending. They told me no problem, but that there would be an extra charge and I said OK. Well, when we got there, there were 8 name tags, not 9, the table in the party room was set for 8, not 9, there were game tokens for 8, not 9. Enough food for 8, not 9. All rectified pretty quickly, but you know what, when I settled up the bill, "extra child" was front and centre on the computer, but no-one had told the line staff. You can see where their priorities lie.

I had assumed that holding a party there would be more relaxing than hosting one at home, but nope, not really. The only thing I gained was not having to clean up after the party, and that really wasn't worth the expense. The place was crowded, the food mediocre, and I had to buy the quarter slab/Fluffo icing birthday cake from them, at $28, when I could have made a better, smaller one home-made for much, much less. At least the girls had fun playing in the play structure, which is bright and colourful and there are lots of things to swing on, climb over, and slide down.

Live and learn, I guess. Last year's toboganning/pizza-making/dance party/sleepover was way better.

I don't think that we'll be doing a party there again, but we will drop in on a cold/rainy day to play.


  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Hmm. I always thought I'd appreciate that security feature, but I didn't realize that they'd decline your purchase. I thought they just "flagged" it and called you about it later, and then if it wasn't yours you could contest it.

  2. How ANNOYING. Nothing keeps the stress level down more than a credit card rejection in a room full of hyped up kids. There has to be a better of way than just a flat out rejection.

    What a drag. I'm sorry.

  3. I thought the same as Alissa. One time Mastercard called us at home AFTER we had made what they thought was a large unusual purchase. I would have been livid if they had stopped me at the store.

    Are you sure not having to clean up didn't make it worthwhile?? LOL!!!

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  5. VISA, meet Telus. Telus cut off my cell service while I was in Houston last month because I had never used the phone in the US before.
    I can't get them to resolve a simple billing issue in less than a month, but they can monitor my phone patterns?

    Glad the girls had fun, sorry you didn't. And I'm shallow - the whole cleaning up thing would have made it worthwhile.

  6. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Happy belated birthday Leah! Sounds like a Mommy learning experience. I find that SOO annoying that they were all ready to charge you for the extra child, but hey, service for that child, do they really have to feed her? Unfortunately that kind of stuff happens at too many places.

    Sara J

  7. Hmmm...when my credit card got stolen last year, they called me after the purchases had been made, but I was still able to charge stuff (I think...). I've hesitated having kids' parties in playlands like that (last year, our kids didn't even get full-blown kids' parties), but was thinking of going to one for Andrew's party in May. Now I'm rethinking it.

  8. Just to be clear, when the guy put the card through the slip printed out with "call operator" or something equally unhelpful on it. We tried again and it didn’t go through again. When I called them (the next day) they said that if I had called them at that point, and convinced them I was me, it would have been allowed through. But the place was crowded and noisy and it's a small operation so it only has one phone line and if I'm tying it up calling Visa (and no doubt being stuck in 'press one' hell for hours) it wouldn't be good. I just paid via debit to get out of there. I let them have an earful though, but I don't know how much good it'll do.

    And Susan, there are good playlands and not-so-good playlands. I would have no problem taking the girls there to play, but not for the party. It might be cheaper and just as much fun to take the boys and a couple of friends to one and let them play for a couple of hours and then take them out for pizza afterwards on their birthday. They'd still have a good time, and you wouldn't have the mess to clear up.

  9. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Hmmm, no matter how weird my spending habits, I've never been stopped. Help me before I chargex again!!

    We just booked Tristan's birthday party for the second year in a row at Starr Gymnastics. I can't say enough nice things about them and the value for the money, IMHO. You can bring your own cake, and they have a pizza place that gives them a good deal for pretty good pizza. Very reasonable and to me, totally worth it!

    For Simon's birthday this year, we just paid for a small handful of kids' admission to the indoor playground on Merivale, and by the time all the admissions and tokens for everyone and coffees for the grownups was factored in, I shoulda just paid for a party package! And, to be honest, I wasn't much impressed by the place anyway. (This critique of indoor activities brought to you by the winter that would never end!)