Monday, December 1, 2008

Shiny Objects Can Get You in Trouble

Last week Ross went to Nashville to visit his old friends over Thanksgiving break. Seeing as how he doesn't have a job yet, he needed some cash to take with him so I sent him to the ATM machine with my debit card last Monday night. When he came home he had cash but no card.

"The machine ate your card Mom. I don't know why."

"Could it be you took longer than 3 seconds to get the card?"

"Well... maybe..."

I went to the bank two days later (I didn't have time on Tuesday), thinking they would have my card and I would just pick it up. No can do. I had to order another one. Great. Do you know how much I use my debit card? TOO MUCH!

But I struggled through the weekend without it, using cash instead -- a foreign concept to me, and low and behold the FedEx man showed up on my doorstep this morning with a delightful package. My new debit card. It was all new and shiny although minus my crappy picture that was on my old one. Truth be told, the old one was almost expired and very worn. I had worn the signature and code on the back of the card right off. So looking at my new shiny card, I decided that this worked out well.

What can I say? I like new, shiny objects.

The card had one of those stickers that tell you to call and activate it, which I did and then listened ever so impatiently to all the wonderful offers that Bank of America had to offer. Credit protection? Fraud protection? Card insurance? Shouldn't they just automatically offer that stuff??? But finally I heard the magic words "Your card has been activated" and I grabbed my Costco list and headed out the door. Then I went back in to get the babies. Oops.

I've trained Ryan and Emma well. They like Costco because they get dinner and a show. Well, lunch in this case and the show is first. All big screen TVs and Christmas trees and outdoor lighted items are right at the front of the store so we wander around looking as Ryan gets all excited and points to the trees and shouts "Lights" or something sounding close to that. But I know what he means. As we meander towards the back Ryan starts looking around for the samples. He's 2 and he's smart. Emma's 16 months and just along for the ride. When food presents itself that's when she makes herself known to everyone. Today the samples were sparse and there seemed to be a Mexican theme. They each got part of a breakfast empanada and half of a taquito and part of a fruit juice box squeezed into a Dixie cup.

We headed for the checkout lanes and started loading my completely filled cart onto the conveyor belt. When the total appeared on the display screen I slid my new, shiny debit card into the machine, entered my PIN and saw the message.

Invalid PIN

Assuming this had to be some kind of mistake, I entered it again. And again. I looked at the cashier and told her it was a new debit card and I had just activated it that morning and I assumed they gave me the same PIN. Costco only takes debit cards, American Express (which I don't have), and cash. I didn't have enough cash on me and apparently my debit card was useless. Our appearance wasn't lost on me either. My hair was frizzy. I had no makeup on. The kids have colds and I had run out of tissues so they had snotty noses. We looked like Hillbilly White Trash and my debit card was acting the part.

"Did you use it in a ATM yet?" another worker asked. "I had to use mine in an ATM before I could use it anywhere else."

There was a ATM by the food court (I use the term loosely) and I tried twice to get some cash and was declined. At that point I called the 800 number on the back of the card. After an eternity of number entering and waiting I was finally connected to a live human being. In the meantime, I was holding wiggly Emma, standing next to the full, neatly packed cart and trying to coerce Ryan to stay in the cart all the while trying not to block the newly checked out shoppers. I was a bit conspicuous. You think I would be used to it by now.

The live person told me that my new card had a new PIN. I could either take it to the bank and change it in person or wait for them to send me the assigned PIN. She couldn't fix it on the phone. Ugh!!

I told the cashier that I had to go to the bank, which was kind of across the parking lot from Costco, to fix the PIN but I would be back as soon as I got if fixed. She told me they would hold my cart.

So out the door, into the freezing cold we went. I loaded the babies into their car seats and drove over to the bank and told them my tale of woe. The bank employee told me he could change my PIN. Thank you! He pulled up my account, told me to enter the new PIN twice and told me I was good to go.

"My debit card will work now?"

"Yep, you're set."

"Ok, I'm headed back over to Costco to pay for my stuff."

Back into the van, buckled up car seats, drove to Costco, unbuckled car seats and carried Emma and half drug Ryan back into Costco where I couldn't find the cashier who checked me out. So I told another Costco worker what happened, that my PIN was fixed and did I need to check out again? The answer was Yes.

So I moved the cart to another lane, and reloaded all the items onto the belt. They babies were somewhat happily entertained. They got suckers at the bank.

What can I say? These children may not have been born to me but they are my children.

All the items were scanned and I swiped my shiny new debit card.

Process Declined

Credit card machine say what? (Yes, there has been a Hannah Montana overload at our house.)

That couldn't be right! So I swiped it again, and again. Getting the same message. I apologized profusely to the cashier and he seemed very understanding. I "assumed the position" (took my cart to the same place at the front as before) and called the 800 number. After waiting on hold even longer than the first time I finally spoke to Human Being #2. My PIN was changed and she couldn't see what the problem was. I was put on hold and when she finally came back she told me that they had put a hold on my card for 24 hours since I had used my invalid PIN too many times. It was something they couldn't change. It was something to do with the system.

I was feeling deja vu here. What were my choices again? Oh yeah, go back to the bank.

Out the doors, into the cold, buckle up babies, drive to bank, unbuckle babies and go inside. I went to the counter and demanded politely asked for a withdrawal to pay for my intended purchase. On the way out I got the babies each another sucker. I decided it was a Two Sucker kind of day.

Surprisingly, Ryan and Emma took all this activity pretty well. But what can I say, they like suckers. We could do this all day as far as they were concerned.

Back to Costco, unbuckle, out of the van, into the cold and back to the registers. No cashier. But I did see the assistant manager who had made an appearance on the last round and I waved my hand full of cash at her. No more debit card mischief.

They had saved the receipt so I only had to pay and not be rescanned. Then out the door with our cart full of food, and a wreath as you can plainly see from the photo above. Our one hour Costco excursion had turned into a 2 hour ordeal. On the way home I looked in the rear view mirror and saw this:

Emma had fallen asleep. Notice the sucker stuck to her coat and the sticky sucker juice all over her face, as well as dried snot. Lovely. Even better was the fact that my daughter had fallen asleep after a lunch of empanda, taquito and 2 suckers. I feel a Mother of the Year Award coming soon.


Brandy said...

I've only had one mishap with my bank but it was very similar to this one.

I used my debit card (it's my LIFE, I never have cash) in a town about 30 minutes away one weekend. Surprisingly enough I didn't go anywhere else to use it until Wednesday that week. (The 4 days is important) I went to Sams with a friend and had a cart full of stuff just like you. Declined. Declined. WHAT THE?!?! So I used a different card and went outside to call.

Them mfer's cancelled my card because it was used in the other town. To protect ME. I was livid. It was a freakin' $6 purchase at Quiznos that they let go through and now I was being declined in my hometown. AND I WAS NOT NOTIFIED that they put a hold on my card. "We mailed you a letter" they said. OMG! I flipped my lid. Why the crap would you mail a letter when you can see that I use my f'in card everyday?!?! Is it too much TO CALL someone to ask if it was an authorized purchase?! I'm getting mad just thinking about it. You do not play with my money.

In other words you are totally forgiven for the 2 suckers, and I hope I'm forgiven for taking over your comments.

annie kelleher said...

oh my goodness you deserve a day at the spa for all that!!! i hope you had a chance to put your feet up and relax, mamma... you DESERVE it!!!

Shari U said...

That's the funniest story I've ever heard! I think I probably would have left the entire cart right there in the store and just gone home, but hey, for a 2 sucker day, I guess it was worth it, right? After all that, how did you have the energy to take pictures?

Denise said...

Brandy, I love you "taking over my comments." Nice to know I'm not the only one this kind of stuff happens too.

Annie, you are too funny! Day at the spa! The closest I'll get is if I can trick Jenna to scratch my feet for 10 seconds.

Denise said...

Shari, I shamefully admit that 1) I always carry my camera now and 2) about half way into my ordeal I realized I could capitalize upon my misfortune and turn it into a blog post. Isn't that what makes America great? Or was it baseball? No, I hate baseball, it has to be capitalism.

Kristin said...

What a day! And when it should have been a nice quiet day with the big kids back at school.

I am so sorry your excursion ended the way it did but it seems Emma didn't mind!!

Anonymous said...

God Bless You...what an ordeal! Your babies are absolutely beautiful and it sure looks like Emma enjoyed her lollipop ;-)

Kim said...

Oh my goodnees! You must have the patience of a saint! I would of probably told the bank off and taken all of their suckers!

Good thing you have a sense of humor! I know mine would of been left at the bank.

Hope your week goes a lot easier!

Kristi said...

Denise -

I have never commented to you before and you cannot see me but believe me......

I AM STANDING AND APPLAUDING YOUR MOXEY!!! :-) I'd have given up immediately, gone home and had a...nap. A VERY LONG NAP!!!

Hugs -

Chinazhoumom said...

WOW - what a day!!!
May you never have to go thru that again!
carol in FL

Anonymous said...

Dude, you know I only said that because he reads my blog right?


Sandy Toes said...

I just love that sucker could not be cuter...just love it! I remember when my kids would fall asleep like that! Just so sweet!

What a beautiful blog you have!
-sandy toes

Cindy said...

Ha! Loved the sucker/Costco story! They sure made you work for that new debit card. Hugs!
(Loved the sleepy baby picture too, she's even adorable all sticky.)

Michele said...

Oh, my. I think I would have looost it! What a beautiful family you have!

Kelsey said...

I just found your blog through SITS and I love it!

Wow your Costco is surprisingly nice. Mine wouldn't have held my cart for me once let alone twice. You're pretty good with the self control, I would have flipped out at the bank!

Swirl Girl said...

The sticky lollipop baby picture is the funniest!

Clippergirl56 said...

congrats on being a saucy sitsa. I loved your play by play. It certainly helps to know that these things don't just happen to me!!! Someday, you will be able to laugh about this.

Brittany said...

Hi. I'm new. I found you through SITS. That is too hilarious. The things that just make up life as mommy's. Your children are beautiful.

Jen r. said...

Wow, what a head ache! Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit and leaving a nice comment!

Crystal said...

Wow, that's quite a excursion, Denise!

I too use my debit card way too much! I think you may have a love/hate relationship with yours for a while!

ScrappinAway said...

merry sitsmas! and you do deserve an award after that! you have a lot more patients then I!!!

Amy said...

Oh that sounds awful! but hey... at least you got a great post out of it! Hope tomorrow goes better for ya!

SuZ said...

You deserve it!!

I swung in from SITS, love the blog and congrats on being saucy!

Marshmallow Circus said...

I had to laugh at your "dinner and a show" comment. For my kids it's Sams Club. They love it and know it's inexpenive for me to get all five of them a slushie and a pizza. :)

The Johnson 5 said...

We've all had those days!! That picture of Emma is priceless :)

Margaret Miracle said...

Too Funny. You made me smile!

KDLOST said...

EEEK! But what cute little ones!!!!!


Heather said...


I admire your fortitude; I would've given up after the second time.

And to think that you even thought to take photos in the midst of it all. I am impressed.

Merry SITSmas!

The Gotch 5 said...

I am not sure I am loving this because of the story or because you had the camera to document the whole thing!!! We encountered a similar incident at Sams. Who knew there was a daily limit on a debit card??!! We did after that! Thanks for sharing.

Donna said...

Love it! In fact, I stumbled this post - hope that's okay. I found you thru SITS. Glad I stopped by.

April said...

you poooooor thing!!! the pictures are great though! i seriously think (know) i would've had a nervous breakdown.

Jessica said...

I'm totally late to the game on this one, but that had me in stitches. I'm also thinking I so would not have handled it so well. I probably would have been swearing like a sailor, would have closed my bank account and probably forgotten one of the children somewhere in my madness.

Donna said...

I am at work I think I'm supposed to be working and earning my pay check. And yet I'm reading this post and CRACKING UP...LAUGHING MY A** OFF!! That pic of Emma is priceless! Please keep it to show at a slideshow in her future....maybe when she graduates HS or gets married or something where it be a huge embarrassmwent. Is that awful that I think like that? Too funny!!

Your Costco is nice as someone else said. My ghetto Costco would have made me start from scratch.

VintageChicChick said...

I am freakin' dying laughing! This sounds like something that would have to happen to me! Except I would give up and go home to cry.

Heather said...

I just laughed so hard that Diet Coke came out of my nose! You are a saint. I swear I would have punched the bank teller in the nose on that second visit. Or better yet, I would have demanded that he/she come with me and sit in the car with the kids when I went back to Costco to finally pay for my groceries!

Honestly, I love this post. You really made my day.

Keep it up,
Heather from dragonsandelephants

P.S. Thanks for checking up on me this week. It was greatly appreciated.

Kristin said...

Hi! I'm new to blogging and when I got to the end of this post, I was dying laughing! I've turned around in my car to see that same exact sight on more than one occasion! LOL What a cutie!

Kristin from TX