2007-04-13

Humiliation

I have to say that most of my humiliating moments are caused by money!

Today I had another one. International banking can be a challenge, so when I head to the grocery store, I always check my bank balance first to make sure everything is cool before I shop. I did that today, and went happily off to the grocery store. I made quick work of it, zipped through the check-out line...and my card would not authorize, even though I had enough money in there to pay for the groceries twice and then some.

That's when you get "the look". The look that says, "Gee lady, way to over-spend" or "Maybe you should put some of this stuff back." Either way, they never look as if they believe it's a problem with your card/bank. I tried a credit card next. Nope. At that point I knew there must be some issue with the connections to banks in the US. I ran over to the cash machine and tried to get cash out. Nope. At that point I know my face was red and I must have looked like I was guilty of something. She put my bill on hold while I went to try and sort it out. I was afraid to hand her my Spanish cash card (we normally only use our Spanish account to pay rent and utilities) because I had no idea if there was enough money in there to cover it. So I went to another cash machine and managed to get enough out of our Spanish account. I was very relieved to walk back and hand her the crisp new bills, but I resisted the urge to point out to her that I was not a total loser after all!

I came home and checked my balance and I still have the same amount in there as before I left, so I guess it's a temporary electronic glitch. Whenever this happens I always swear that I will always always shop with cash. But I hate to carry around cash because it's just easier to spend.

A couple of other monetary cringe-worthy moments:
  • In our old house we had a 1,000 liter gasoil tank in our garage that ran the boiler which provided us with hot water, and our hot water heat. When it was empty, they would send a tanker to fill it up. The problem was, that it would show up as a gas station purchase. Once, I had ordered 500 liters, which was well over 300 euro at the time. My cards were all denied (even though I had money) because the computer didn't believe anyone would be spending that much at a gas station. The tanker driver gave me "the look". I had to frantically rummage through the house for cash and borrow 50 euro from interns that were staying at our house!
  • A few years ago, I went back to Quito, Ecuador, for my little brother's wedding. When you leave Quito, there is a $25 airport tax that you can only pay in cash. I had forgotten about it completely, but thankfully the friends I was staying with remembered. I went to the airport with just enough cash for the tax (and not enough money in my checking account to get any more out.) When I got to the check-in desk, the airline informed me that it was obligatory for me to have my suitcases plastic-wrapped because of looting. It cost $4 per bag, and no, they weren't paying. It was 6 am, and my friends had dropped me off and left. I only had the $25 and couldn't pay either bill with a card. So I had to ask a total stranger (a very nice American man who took pity on me) to loan me the $8 that I was lacking. He was very nice and wouldn't give me his address so I could pay him back. That STILL makes me cringe when I think about it.
So what about you? Want to share an embarrassing monetary moment? :)

2 comments:

Nadine said...

Too many to mention. Okay here is one when our kids were young and we didn't have enough money for diapers, we had to roll pennies. You get strange looks when paying for diapers with rolled up pennies.

Monaca said...

One time I had payed a credit card bill online but their system was down so my payment didn't go through and I had no idea and I bought a plane ticket with the same credit card which brought me to my limit. When I went to buy gas the next day my card was denied. I had to run to the bank across the street to get cash. The guy kept looking at me like I was a deadbeat. Not fun.