The fury that I would have to settle for a Gin and Tonic rather than the more exotic beverage I had envisaged was undermined by a slightly worried sensation – to my knowledge I had spent no money that day, as such I checked with my bank to find that €230 had been extracted with a conspicuous lack of ruth in this month’s mobile phone bill.
This, I think, requires an explanation. Now, heading home after a raucous night out in Jamborie club in Placa Reial – I recommend the cheese floor, though not much else, definitely not the prices - my friend and I took a walk through Ravel to avoid the persistent advances by some of the local prostitutes, despite being followed for a period down the alley our pursuers eventually relented. We had continued only a short distance however when a unscrupulous character decided he liked the look of my belt and decided it was within his remit to begin tugging at it. Having managed to brush off this fellow we continued for about two minutes before my realisation that the phone that had been residing comfortably in my pocket was now in the hands of Fagin’s finest. Whether it was said artful dodger who had taken a shine to my belt or Fanny Hill and her accomplice (those hands get places) I am unaware, however the customer services woman on the Vodafone helpline was delighted to tell me that they had made €180 of calls in the four days between my phone being stolen and my informing Vodafone of the situation. Who on earth this hoodlum was calling I struggle to imagine but it was irrelevant, you are responsible for what calls are made on your phone until your mobile company becomes aware of the situation. So there I was, a Pied Piper whistling mournfully to the tune of €200. At the risk of sounding bitter I won’t extend this metaphor any further to involve linking the residents of Raval to the rabid rodents of the Middle Ages, appropriate though it is.
In the wake of this disastrous news I was forced to accept that it was in the main my fault. I tried to block out any argument that would exhume me of guilt, however, one kept reoccurring to me - could Vodafone not have blocked the calls themselves once it registered on their system that I was miles over their limit?
Failing that, could they not have been more understanding before handing out the crippling fines which would surely cost a huge multinational company very little? Wallowing in defeat, later that day I was cheered somewhat by people with a rather different outlook to the exigent telecommunications giants. This surprise came in the form of my discovery of a bartering economy that has sprung up across
I, at least, would have be quite happy to exchange my classes on how not to get mugged in Barcelona for anyone willing to give me the Strawberries for my Daiquri.