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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Duty-Free Confusion

Anyone who has ever traveled abroad knows about the wonders of “Duty-Free” purchases.  Whether in airports, or on the plane, you can buy bibelots to bring home, supposedly at a discount.  Yet my unscientific research sometimes says otherwise.

I mark the page for a dog’s “Thundershirt” which reduces anxiety in canines frightened by loud noises, such as fireworks, barking, and thunderstorms.  The next turned-back page features an “Eco-Friendly, Green Slim Projector” for business presentations, boasting a 6,000 hour lamp warranty.  These are helpful products, ones that I could imagine myself owning, particularly when I’m bored at 30,000 feet up in the air.  The stainless steel wallet sounds smart, too, particularly in these days of Radio Frequency Identification capture (otherwise known as ID theft that can capture your personal info right through your wallet!).

“Hello,” the Asian voice greeted my husband on his cellphone.  “Do we have your authorization to charge some duty-free items to your credit card?”

“What duty-free items?” he asked, immediately alerted.  He knew his wife had her own plastic should she feel the need for any purchases.

“Cigarettes,” the voice said.

“Cigarettes-!” he coughed at the very thought.  “We don’t smoke!”

Turns out it was a clearing-house from China seeking to place the order for $175.  He did not approve it, but called his bank that had issued the card.

“Well, you can cancel the card,” the fraud department suggested.

“That’s a headache.  I have many automatic payments coming from this card,” he explained.  “Is it possible to just place a hold on one order-?” Benedetto wondered.

“Not really.  If your card has been compromised, then they will simply use it again.”

Checking in with his bank, sure enough the $175 was charged anyway.  The Asian lady might have been part of the scam, herself.  He ended up cancelling the card and starting his plastic life all over again.

Back in the Duty-Free magazine, I imagined cat-owners pouring over the potty-training systems, if not the “Neater Feeders” for pet bowls that can often be kicked underfoot.  There was the “Weed Whacking Golf Driver” for those who find themselves in the rough too often to count.  Hot and Cold Wraps abounded for those suffering muscle pain, systems for learning musical instruments or foreign languages were also in abundance, along with anything to purify the air or water around you.  All I could surmise was that those who travel a lot are achy, breaky germaphobes, bent on self-improvement.

Duty-Free might be fine for the few scarves or perfumes still in stock on the onboard rolling carts, but in general, shopping on terra firma gives me more selection and often, better prices.  Particularly when it comes to $175 cigarettes from China.



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    Ug, it’s going ’round. Husband’s corporate AmEx card was hacked somehow and used in Georgia. AmEx caught it but wouldn’t tell him how they suspected it wasn’t him as he travels all over. Must have been large amount snagged.

    What a pain.

    • avatar admin says:

      I know, they say this new way can “read” through your wallet, that’s why they recommend the new type of wallets… or wrapping your credit card, passport, etc… in aluminum foil! Apparently all of our personal info is stored on chips that can now be read by ID thieves. Great…

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