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I was awakened by a phone call a couple weeks ago asking my husband if I’d used my credit card to buy a $500 watch to be shipped to California. My husband replied that I was sleeping, so probably not. I then had to allow my credit card company to shut down my account. We only carry two major credit cards so I was down to one.

That afternoon I had to put a big educational purchase on a credit card that I don’t use that often. To give them the number, I pulled my wallet out of my purse. It was a busy day because I needed to buy LOTS of groceries to get ready for the boys’ annual family birthday party. So I had my cart piled high and was checking out when I discovered that I had no wallet in my purse. I sheepishly asked if I could run home and get my wallet and come back. (Honestly, I wasn’t that sheepish. I’ve done this so many times, I’ve gotten pretty jaded).

I was delighted to discover that my checkout lane was wide open when I returned with my wallet so I popped in and slid my card through the handy dandy reader only to have it be declined. Then I tried it again with the same result. I was freaking out at this point that the crook who had my first card also had my second. I looked up my account on my phone and could see that all was well. I went over to customer service and had them verify that the problem wasn’t multiple charges of the same amount (as they showed up on my account). I could hear my groceries melting while they discussed this. After verifying that I hadn’t been charged, they rang me up for the groceries for one penny less and I got the lovely DECLINED message again. The only thing worse than seeing the word DECLINED on the card reader is seeing the look at the cashier’s face when she sees it, too.

I called the credit card company from the store and got the automated message telling me to verify my charges. I did that. Then I tried getting cash from the ATM machine. Many times. No go. So I called the company back to hear that they had unusually high call volume. I told the customer service people at the store that I was going home to get my checkbook. They said, “Uh-huh.”

I finally spoke to a human being while I was in the car driving home who assured me that I could pay for my groceries with the card. I said, “I’m sure I could, but I honestly couldn’t bear the humiliation of it not working AGAIN. So I’ll write a check.” When I got home, my 8yo wanted to know why I kept coming home with no groceries. I took him along with me, only because I thought he made me look more respectable.

When I arrived at the store, my groceries were in the cooler which was a good thing, only I had to wait for someone to retrieve them. Why, you ask, didn’t I just blow it off? Well, because I’d spent an hour shopping for those groceries and I was having a party the next day. It was then or never. So I wrote my check and handed them my driver’s license since I knew they’d want it bagged my groceries, and went home.

My husband said, “What took you so long?”

This post was inspired by my friend Gregg’s post and my friend, Barbie’s, nagging and many thanks to Lisa Newton for her photo.

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