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I hate it when it happens. I'm in the checkout line, my groceries are bagged, the clerk tells me to insert my credit card into the machine and we wait, and we wait. The line behind me is getting longer, the clerk is tapping her pen waiting for the "approved" response, but instead "DEADBEAT" flashes across the screen. Well, that not really what the message says, but that's what I feel like it says.
"This card is declined, do you have another one I could try?"
"No, really," I tell the clerk, "there is money on my card. Believe me--I pay it off every month. The credit card company has obviously made a mistake. They even sent me letter last week wanting to increase my credit line. There's plenty of money. Really there is."
But I can tell from the look on her face, she's not impressed. Reality sets in and I retreat a bit, "I bet that's what everyone says to you, don't they?" She nods.
By now everyone in line and within 10 feet of me has taken a shopping respite, quite entertained by my pleas of innocence. I must say I did deliver a stellar performance, ratcheting each line up a notch. (Somehow I think that volume increases believability.)
My purchase is voided and I'm led away to the service desk so I can contact my credit card company. Twenty minutes later--ten minutes of that time on hold--I'm proven innocent. All charges are dropped. But by this time the original "jurors" have all left the store, even the cashier went home for the day, so there are no witnesses to hear my innocent verdict.
It was a bit of let down, because I was really looking forward to making an official announcement to somebody, so maybe that's why I'm writing about it today. Do you mind listening?
"See, I was telling the truth. There was plenty of money available on my card."
Ah, that felt good...thanks for listening.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* ICE, by Anna Kavan, is this month's Penguin Classics book. Enjoy a great Classics book and enter-to-win a Penguin tote bag. Click here to start reading.