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It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time!
I just got off the phone with the fun folks at the credit card company, trying to straighten out a multithousand dollar mess that happened when someone misplaced a comma.
If you have any doubt about that someone’s identity, let me give you a hint: You’ll notice I did not go into banking as a career.
Here’s the deal: A few days ago, one of the organizations I belong to offered a no-fee credit card at zero interest for the next year and change. "Good deal," I thought. "I can transfer the balance of my XYZ card into this new one and pay off the whole shebang without paying interest." It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’ve said that before. A lot.
Those red-and-silver platform shoes I bought in 1973 seemed like a good idea at the time. I had to rethink it when I fell out of them, though.
The basket-case motorcycle I acquired with the intention of restoring it? Good idea at the time. Bad idea when it came to actually putting them together. Good idea when I finally pawned it off on someone else, though.
The 1968 MGB? Great idea until I got it 10 miles down the road and discovered the leaking tires, the dying fuel pump and the I’ll-work-when-I’m-goodand-ready electrical system. Of course, all MGs had that electrical system, but still ...
OK, so you can see I’ve had some experience here. Back, then, to the bank.
I filled out the paperwork (well, actually, screenwork since I did it online) and hit the send button, unaware that I had mistyped the amount to transfer and in doing so, increased it by about 1,000 percent. This meant I had a whopping overpayment on the old account and had maxed out the new account the first day. Imagine my surprise when I took a look at my account online.
When I regained consciousness, I dialed what I thought was the 800 number on the card. Seems I mistook and 8 for a 6. More about that later.
The second try got me connected to the bank, and its automated answering system which did not include an option that sounded remotely helpful: "If you want to check your balance, press 1; if you want to ask about a charge, press 2; if you want an additional card, press 7; if you want to increase your limit, press 9; if you want to know what the weather is like in Mitchell, S.D., press *23; if you want to know what I’m having for lunch, stay on the line and I’ll tell you in a minute."
I pressed 0, which resulted in a human being answering, somewhere, and soon enough the problem was fixed. The young person on the end of the line said she envied me, having that kind of money to move around. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was just finagling a messed-up credit account with Monopoly money.
So the day turned out all right, even that misdialed 800-number phone call. An extremely friendly woman named Jasmine answered, and explained what she could do for me. Judging by what she offered, I don’t think she was a banker either. I declined. It seemed like a good idea, and that time, I think I was right.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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