Monday, January 15, 2007

the fabled Palestinian strawberry

Last night I couldn't sleep. I'm planning a multi-country foreign trip and I guess my brain was in overdrive, one way and another.

For some reason I was thinking about the dangers of being mugged and/or having your wallet and travel documents stolen. I was wondering whether anyone produces 'dummy' creditcards - bits of plastic you could put into your wallet with a small amount of cash and give to a mugger, who would then think it was legitimate.

Subsequent research indicates that prepaid 'pay-as-you-go' payment cards exist, such as this one from the post office, but bizarrely, whilst it should not be possible to pay out more than is on the card, the small print indicates that in a small number of un-named circumstances you might be liable for payments over the limit. Surely it would be better to have a card that cannot be used by anyone for anything. Apparently other people just use out-of-date cards (which I methodically tear up into tiny pieces) or ones that are sent to them by direct mailings (which I've stopped). Clearly there is a gap in the market.

Meanwhile, I nearly fell through the floor at my local greengrocer when I saw 'Palestinian' strawberries for sale. They were marketted under the Carmel label by an Israeli company called Agrexco. Unbeknown to me, it appears that there is quite a campaign of action against this company in progress.

Lesson being: a) it is not impossible to export from Gaza unless b) you are Palestinian and therefore as a grower c) you are taken for a ride by whichever Israeli company owns the monopoly on distribution.

And another thing I've just noticed - about the only place I cannot use my chip-and-pin card to prove my identity is the bank. How does that work then?

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