Well, this past weekend I lost my credit card. Where? At my favorite store, Wal-Mart, but this time there was no Greeter Pom-Pom to wish me well. If you haven't read my previous Greeter Pom-Pom story, it's a must. One of my favorite posts. Anyway onto my new adventure in bargain shopping...
I was happy to be at Wal-Mart looking for some good Christmas deals. I'm not one of those political gays that wears Birckenstocks and claims, "I never shop at Wal-Mart". I can't be that liberal. From a financial point of view, liberalism is just not practical for me. Besides, you can't beat Wal-Mart's prices. So what if they don't give their employees good benefits: I get my 97 cent shaving cream that retails for $1.49 elsewhere. And what about that new Christina Aguilera CD I got for $15.81? Best Buy wanted $18.99.
Being the frugal moderate conservative that I am, I hang with a couple of people that are equally as frugal. What do they get? Wal-Mart gift cards. There's so much one can do with a Wal-Mart gift card. God, in some locales you can even go grocery shopping. Unfortunately, the North Shore doesn't allow for Super Wal-Marts. The grocery store unions must have made some sort of pact. On a Saturday morning you'll often find me cruising the soap aisle or skipping through the detergent section. Sometimes you'll even find me in Mens but never for the clothes. I'm gay. I wouldn't be caught dead in Wal-Mart duds just a good ol' pair of Hanes.
Nonetheless, on my recent shopping excursion I was proud to have less than the 18 required items to make it into Express. It's never usually express but that's material for another day. So there I stood waiting seven deep tallying up my purchases in my head. 'About $75,' I thought. As I waited, I debated whether or not to spring for the 84 cent pack of gum that I recently paid $1.25 for at the pharmacy. 'Nah, I got more at home. Why waste the money?'
I saw a couple of other tempters but refrained. As a kid I was a sucker for Archie comic books. Once in awhile I like to be reminded of my innocent past (ahem!) and read through Jughead's journeys at Riverdale High. '$1.99! Gosh, when I was a kid I paid 35 cents. Forget it!' Then there was the 99 cent water. 'Geez, that's not a bad price but I already have to go to the bathroom. If I have more...'
Finally, I was next. I find coming up to the Wal-Mart cashier is a bit like being next at your favorite Disney World ride. I get a little excited about the thought of getting such bargains. "Good afternoon Bill" I said reading his name tag while flashing him my pearly whites.
"How much do you want on these gift cards?" He asked not picking up on my warmth and enthusiasm.
I gave him the figures and proceeded to the credit card processing machine. Now normally I don't put such purchases on my credit card but this month due to some miscalculations in my budget I had no choice. Accidentally paying your biggest monthly expense on the 8th instead of the 18th will do it. Those on-line bill paying options can get you sometime. But hey they're free and each transaction saves me a 39 cent stamp. Yet I digress.
Standing at the checkout, I slide through my Platinum American Express but then got all distracted by the prompts. 'No, I don't want Spanish. Yes, Ingles... Oh yeah, I don't need to put a PIN in. I got to sign my name on this little tiny key pad? Oy!'
That was the last I remember of my $25,000 credit limit platinum American Express card.
It wasn't till I was shopping at the next bargain outlet, that I realized I had lost it. Opening up my wallet, in the spot I normally see my shining AmEx, my eyes slammed open to the dull sheen of my Boston Public Library card. 'I don't think they take that here.'
I panicked. I looked through every orifice of my Wal-mart wallet. No platinum card. Coat pockets? Nothing. Jeans? Nope. And doing the crazy things we do when we lose something, I started looking in the most unlikely of spots. My gum packet? No. Out into the car...how about the glove compartment? 'Why would I put my credit card in the glove compartment. I haven't been in my glove compartment in two weeks.'
I raced back to Wal-Mart. Sweating the entire five mile ride and fearing that someone was charging a Lexus onto my credit card, I screeched into the firelane. In through the out doors, te greeter greeted me: "Welcome to..."
"Do you have my credit card!"
"Ah no sir I don't but you might want to with..."
"Where are they?"
She pointed me in the direction.
Standing in line at the head cashier's station I listened to some lady gripe about a 25 cent coupon not being properly deducted from her purchase. 'Someone's buying their sweetheart a silver LS on my expense and you're worried about saving a quarter?' I cleared my throat.
"Can I help you sir?"
"I lost my American Express card here."
He pulled out a stack of about fifty credit cards left behind by other frugals shoppers. My eyes bulged out. 'I guess I'm not the only inept one.' He chucked through each one as I looked for my shiny platinum. Nothing.
"You need to call them and cancel." He told me.
Devastated. I called. I waited a grueling ten minutes and was finally greeted by a courteous young fellow who expressed his condolences for losing my card. "Okay sir. We've cancelled all future purchase on that card and we'll have a new one FedEx'd out to you by Tuesday."
"Oh great. Then I be able to finish my Christmas shopping. Could you just verify the last couple of transactions? I want to make sure no one bought a plasma television or a new Coach bag." You can never be too cautious.
"Sir, the last purchase I have was at Wal-Mart about an hour ago for $76.19."
"What? I only estimated 75!"