Have you ever been in a situation where you KNOW you have money in a certain account, yet your card is declined? It usually happens when you have a thousand people behind you, waiting for you to get done with your time consuming purchase. Admittedly, this used to happen to me a LOT when I was young. It was ALWAYS my fault because I wasn’t much of a personal account manager. Ironically, I could balance the WORST accounts for anyone else. I could squeeze blood out of a turnip for my business or anyone I worked for… I just HATED doing it for myself. Looking back, I’m sure it was an extension of my ADD addled mind or the side of my brain that said “I want to live in a dream world and pretend I’m rich”. Ahhh… denial is a state of mind, right? A beautiful place to be UNLESS there’s a crowd of people behind you and half of them go to your church! lol
I’m not young anymore! I’m 46 and I know better than to go ANYWHERE without knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, how much money is in my account. To make DOUBLE sure, I’ll call my husband just so I know if he’s done something that I need to know about which might not be showing up yet. However, this is not a FOOL PROOF method. There really IS no fool proof method.
Recently, I’ve had these embarrassing situations happen TWICE. Both times were horrifying! AND both times happened within a week of each other. Come to find out, our bank (Bank of America) decides at random (I say random because there was no rhyme or reason for their decision) to place our account in “suspension” because of “suspicious activity”. I had made some “AMAZON” purchases online, and because of this, the bank shut me down! Without notification or without explanation. Now, I appreciate their being careful but I’ve made Amazon purchases before and NONE of these purchases were over $200. Never had this happened, so why now? Even if they THINK it’s a suspicious purchase, why no phone call to explain?
This is what happened the first time. I’m taking my friends daughter to work and we have a few minutes to spare. I’m EXTREMELY tired, as usual, and I decide to take everyone (My teenage munchkin, my friends 25 y/o daughter and myself) to Panera Bread Co. to get my double shot espresso drink. I get to the drive through and tell the girls to order anything they want! I’m feeling generous and know my friends daughter was down because she had no car, was trying to save money for a car and a place to live and I want to send her off to work with a full belly. OMG! I’m feeling the embarrassment all over again! Anyway, Heather (friends daughter) says she’s NOT hungry and doesn’t want anything to drink but Julia and I ordered food and drinks. I get up to the cashier window and the lady tells me that I have an invalid card. Over $20 worth of crap and I have NO other card. I usually carry a lot of change but my purse had just been wiped out by teenage munchkin! There was no other option but to turn to poor Heather and say, “Can I please borrow the money to pay for our indulgence?”. Ironically, we had JUST been talking about how she doesn’t like her aunt to take her to work because she has to pay her $20 every other day for gas. She knows she NEEDS to give gas money but she feels like her aunt is taking her money to buy drugs and not gas. They’ve run out of gas on the way to work even after Heather gives her money! So now, this poor child has to give me over $20! The good news is that she got it back AND THEN SOME, once the “freeze” had been lifted off the account.
Why did this happen? Because of suspicious activity. The account didn’t say “declined”, it said “invalid”. When I went to the ATM to try and withdraw the money to pay Heather back, it appeared that the account never existed and my money went into the great unknown… the abyss. We (hubby and I) thought it would never happen again because he got it all straightened out with the bank. We were actually not even upset because we felt like they were being careful!
But then it happened the very next week. Last Weds, I decided to do my grocery shopping. This is an EVENT. I only go grocery shopping maybe once every 2 to three months. We have a couple of freezers that hold LOTS of meat. I have to get milk and bread more than every 2 months but for THIS kind of shopping? I do it as few times as possible. Here’s how the process works; I go through the sale adds at different supermarkets and stock up on whatever great sale items they might have, usually meat. So you see, this takes some planning.
So I get to the grocery store, spend at LEAST an hour shopping. Part of my shopping included a stop at the deli to get Kretchmar ham, special sliced, off the bone for sandwiches. I also had smoked Provolone cheese, sliced special… I tell you this to say that AS I shopped, I also ate. I was SO hungry that I couldn’t wait to get home. I just started taking ham right out of that bag and shoveling it into my mouth. That’s okay, I had the money and knew I could pay for it, right? Off to the butcher…. I have special steaks cut and have conversations about what the best cut of this or that is. I end up with a cart that’s overflowing. It took about a half an hour to ring up and bag my purchases because I wanted the ice cream put into special bags, the meat put into special bags and wrapped properly. There was only ONE girl checking and bagging. By this time, the line behind me is forming. I’m the kind of person who’ll let someone with NOT so much, go ahead of me but this girl started checking me out before anyone else came to the line. The natives are getting restless and look like they’re getting ready to SCREAM because of the time I’m taking. That’s okay, I tell myself. I deserve this time. I’m a customer too and I’m a good and friendly person. You know what happens. In the scheme of things, my total wasn’t as much as I thought. It rang to around $300 but we had the money and so much more. ONLY it was, you guessed it, an invalid card! ARGH!!!!!! What the F%^&????? I argue that there is NO way that card can be invalid. They get the manager and the manager tells me that they’ll accept cash or a check. I’m FURIOUS. Just not with them because it’s not their fault. I go for the check book and guess what? It’s not there. Hubby takes it on himself to remove it from my purse without telling me! He’s dead, I’m thinking. Okay, who carries that much cash anymore? Certainly not ME! So I tell them that I need to go home and figure out what’s going on. They look desperate because all of my food is special wrapped and remember? I ate some of it and they SAW me do it. lmao They take my phone # and tell me that they’re putting all my food in the beer cooler. WIll I PLEASE come back and get it? Well of COURSE I will! I just have to go find out for a second, what happened to my money.
Only I couldn’t come back. We called the bank and had to go through a series of questions and security checks only to find out that the FREEZE wouldn’t be lifted until the next business day. Why? Because of an Amazon purchase that totaled $179 and Bank of America decided it was suspicious AGAIN! I’m seriously switching banks. Again, no phone call AND it wasn’t even suspicious. This just happened the week before and Bank of America actually CANCELLED this AMAZON order because they felt it was suspicious so this was a REPEAT order. NOT suspicious. The bank guy told us that “Of COURSE, we’ll give you a courtesy call the next time we shut your account down”. Yeah, right. We’ve heard that before. I guess we’ll have to call the bank just to see if there’s a freeze on our account every day, before I go anywhere.
Guess what I’m doing now? Waiting for those Amazon purchases that were supposed to be here 2 weeks ago. It LOOKS like they’ve been shipped but I’m afraid that somehow, BOA got a hold of Amazon to freeze any actions from my house. lol