12 November 2012

Security by the Mail

The other day, I had to buy train tickets. I could have done it by going to a train station, or I could also go to the Internet website and purchase my tickets there. I figured it was more convenient if I just did it through the Internet, so that’s what I did.

Well, I had to do it twice, because my first attempt failed. It had something to do with payment methods. The thing is, it has again something to do with the fact that I only have an electronic cash card. Apparently, in order to use my EC card to pay for train tickets, first, I need to set up a customer account. So I did that. Then I need to save my EC card details. So I did that too. Then I needed to activate my EC card details. However, apparently, in order to activate it, I needed a security code, which I will receive through the mail.

Now that sucks.

And here I thought I would be able to buy my tickets that day. Instead, I have to wait until this mail from Deutsche Bahn comes with my activation code in it.

So I waited for 2 days, and when the code arrived, I activated it, and then I was able to buy my tickets.

Which made me think, it seems that Germany is rather obsessed with security codes and such. I guess it isn’t a bad thing, after all, we’re talking money here that is being transactioned online, over the Internet. And it is definitely a good measure to have these safety precautions before proceeding.

It’s just that I have already encountered so many things that need a security code, and every time it arrives, it comes in a very non-descript envelope, in the mail, with no label whatsoever on the outside, so you open the envelope that has no label on it, and only then will you know where the envelope came from. It’s really quite semi-paranoid, really. At least, when I was in the US, the envelopes I get have labels on them, so it is really clear from the outside who is sending them. Here, everything seems to be not labeled, and only when you open the envelope and see the letterhead will you see that the envelope comes from such and such a company.

(Birth Tunnel?, from my Central Park Series)


  1. Strange! In France, you get cheque books by mail, and come to think of it it is not very secure!

    1. Zhu,

      Haha. When it comes to security, I think Germany is doing it better; unlabeled envelopes and these other precautionary measures are unheard of when I was living in the US.