...in the ass. I like the fact that I have a debit card company that is up on keeping my money safe. I really really do. But have any of you had the experience of buying lunch...or should I say trying to.
I do a lot of business on ebay, selling mostly. I accept paypal as it is quick and easy. Because of how much I sell, I have a pretty nice balance on my card, and I use it most of the time, which eliminates the need to carry cash. You all know how it is. So, I walked next door to the party store where I intended to buy a soda and a couple of hot dogs. You know, kind of a low income and penny pincher sort of lunch for the Tuesday before I get my next biweekly paycheck. The gentlemen, who has a rather odd shaped head, turns to me and says "it's declined."
"It says 'declined.'"
"That's impossible. Try it again.
*Sigh* "Shit. How bout one more time, please?"
I walked out leaving the dogs and soda on the counter, feeling like an ass for not even being able to pay for food I'd handled. They'd have to throw it away. Next time they'll probably make me run the card before picking out my items.
So I drive to a nearby gas station when my manager told me he'd had the same trouble a week or two ago, but that it was only that store that it seemed to happen at. Was denied at the gas station too, so the first thing this paranoid mind of mine kept thinking, as I'm waiting to get ahold of paypal's customer service, was "what if this is like in one of those movies where the guy 'they' are after isn't really who they think he is, and they freeze his accounts and run him through several high speed car get aways, rape his family, burn down his house, and throws him in prison until he is lying on his death bed and then rush in at the last minute to declare him innocent?"
So I'm on hold for more than the remainder of my break. I go through all nine levels of hell. I speak to an Indian and then a very nice (and understandable) American who was much more sympathetic of my frustrated laments. She sent me to debit card tech support (who knew?)
"Hi, my name is Karen. Can I get your phone number?"
"I have an account number, why can't I just give you that?"
"We need your phone number for security reasons."
I give it to her.
"Thank you sir. What's your email address?"
I give it to her.
"Well, sir, it looks like your account has been suspended for security reasons. Let me go over a couple of recent purchases."
And then it hit me. I had been to Walmart the night before and made three one hundred dollar cash withdrawls, which, because they don't let you take out more than one hundred at a time, required three small purchases in rapid succession. I explained this to her before she even mentioned any of them in detail, which confirmed that it was me.
"Well, I have reset your account. You should be able to make purchases now."
I go over to the first store I'd tried for lunch. I was going to offer to pay for the food they had thrown away, but saw that it was still sitting right where I'd left it, collecting parasites and peoples sneezes for well over a half an hour. So I offered to pay for them, if the damn card would finally work. He ran the card, the machine took its precious time, kept us all in suspense, and finally gave its almighty approval. I thanked the men for their patience and understanding, bought a celebratory soda for my boss, and enjoyed eating my cold, parasite infested, and, surely, snot caked hot dogs as I recounted the experience to you all.
I like the fact that they are looking out for me and my money, but it's just kind of a pain. I could have been stranded in the middle of nowhere. I could have needed a tow. I might have been buying gas. I could have been paying a hooker. What if it wasn't just lunch? It really all helps to make the point I've been working up toward. You see, this illustrates just how imperfect this wicked system is. Would you like the chance to be part of a world that not only has security failures, but no need for security systems at all? Allow me to share a scripture with you that will show you how sure a promise that is...
Just kidding about that last part. Thanks for reading.