My trusty bank, Watermark Credit Union, got bought by Sound Credit Union. I remember an email saying something like "we will send you a new debit card. You should use this instead of your old debit card." But you know, "should" means they won't mind if I wait a month until I'm back in the US, right?
Nope! Last night: it's Monday and my debit/ATM card is now completely unfunctional. I'm in Poland. I have 90 zloty (~ $25) cash. I owe a hostel $80 for 5 nights, and I'm leaving the next morning (Tuesday). On Wednesday I will owe a guy about $550 for fixing the scooter. (This is tricky even in the best of times, because my bank only lets me withdraw $500/day.)
All right, cosmic hand of fate, trickster god out there, let's rumble! Call up bank. (TGIM.) Can you reactivate my card for just a week? Can you overnight a replacement card to Lublin? No and no. They send me to 1-800-VISA-911, which is what it sounds like, except my new bank doesn't participate in their emergency card program. Okay okay. Western union? I guess, but then I've got to ask my family to wire me at least $630, and even that takes... a day? I can do better! Credit card cash advances. I've never used these, because they carry a 3% fee, but they let me withdraw (internet internet...) $500 and $250. Bingo. Of course I set up a PIN before I left home. My wallet is fat and I am happy.
(Except I'm still just waiting on a bike engine to arrive. I think it will be soon, but all the guys can say is "let's hope it arrives tomorrow." Kind of getting sick of waiting on this.)