Sitting in traffic

A couple of weeks ago, when I tried to buy tickets for Priscilla through Artscape’s Dial-A-Seat, I was peeved when told I could not pay with my debit card. As I don’t possess a credit card (I don’t do credit) I had to borrow the use of one and reimburse the owner with cash.

As both cards are accepted at supermarkets, restaurants, shops and ATMs, it puzzles me why my debit card is rejected for tickets. To my mind, it should be as acceptable as a credit card because the supplier gets the cash without delay. However, Google puts a different spin on things.

The fundamental difference between the two cards is where the money comes from. A debit card takes it from the holder’s banking account and a credit card from the holder’s line of credit. Contrary to what I thought, the merchant may have to wait a few days for the debit card transaction to come through and if I (or you) happen to be overdrawn, or never had enough money to cover the tickets in the first place, it could mean he’s out of pocket.

All of which makes financial sense.

Some retailers prefer a credit card for car rentals or purchases online, and it is definitely a safer option for travellers than carrying cash or using a cheque book, which is so last century. Another bonus is that it offers additional insurance on purchases and makes it easier to ask for a refund or a return.

Even so, I don’t want a credit card. If you keep an eye on your balance, you won’t come to grief with your debit card. Best of all, it won’t allow you to get into escalating debt.

Under siege

For some months, Langebaan – where we spent the Workers’ Day and May Day holidays labouring away at our cottage – has been like a town under siege. No access in. No access out. Now no access in the middle.

It started last year when entry from the R27 was closed for major road works. This forced motorists to take a long long road a-winding around the back of the town to reach their homes and businesses. Simultaneously the centre of the town was dug up to eliminate the old koffieklip surface and the multiple four-way stops which caused major traffic jams during holiday seasons.
Work on each intersection involved a different detour to access side roads leading one knew not quite where, but it was also interesting discovering new shops, restaurants and even a substantial retirement complex.

Now the building of roundabouts has hit the busiest centre of Langebaan and there’s chaos. What with road closures, detours, dug-up roads and pavements, visitors don’t know how to reach the Spar, library, pharmacy, bottle store or where to park. It’s a right old mess, but when completed, it will be a huge, but costly, improvement, as some of the shopkeepers 
suffered quite heavily when 
their customers could not reach them.

The future of the pines

In that Supreme CourtWestern Cape High Court case in March between Parkscape vs SANParks and MTO Forestry, Parkscape achieved a comprehensive win, with costs, in its Western Cape High Court case against SANParks and MTO Forestry in March. The judgementjudgment handed down by Judge Patrick Gamble meant that SANParks would legally have to engage with Parkscape over the future of the pines in Lower Tokai instead of ignoring them.

The group was delighted they were “able to uphold the needs and wants of the 2 500 people whom they represented”. But now that optimism looks distinctly bleak as SANParks has appealed and appears to have chosen confrontation over negotiation.
In their appeal papers, they want the remaining pines to be harvested immediately “to maximize the chances of restoring the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos Species in the area”.

In the worst scenario, the case may go from the Appeal Court to the Constitutional Court gobbling up months – even years— and bags of money. Negotiating a settlement between Parkscape, the people and the pines, could be a less painful alternative. Sometimes by giving a little, you get more than you expect. Try it SANParks. You never know, you might win some friends!

Long fingers

When I popped into the pharmacy the other day for a box of glucosamine capsules, I was surprised to find only several empty boxes. Beneath the shelf was a note advising customers to ask an assistant at the counter.

There I learnt that these capsules are one of 10 products that are similarly displayed in empty containers because they are far too popular with shoplifters. Glucosamine is recommended to keep your fingers flexible, not to make you light-fingered!

Sitting in traffic

Why is it called “Rush Hour” when traffic moves at its slowest?

fionachisholm@iafrica.com