Wal-Mart Redux

Despite the insanity that was shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday, I discovered I had to go back there today, because someone, (me), forgot to put laundry soap and shampoo on the grocery list. As much I didn’t want to go to Wal-Mart, I really think that clean clothes and clean hair are important at Christmas, (OK, they’re important all the time, but especially as Christmas), so I gathered my courage and off I went.

I found most of what I needed to buy, (there’s always that one missing item that forces you to also stop at the grocery store, again, right?) and headed for the check-out. I was hoping that this would be a quick process, because I had three other stores, including the grocery, to stop at. I suppose that hoping for efficiency was my fatal flaw…

I only had three items, so they were rung up quickly. I swiped my card, and it was promptly declined. This ranks up there as one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to you in a busy store, especially in a busy store at Christmastime, when everyone in line behind you is also in a hurry and impatient. I didn’t have another card to use, because we just switched banks, and I haven’t activated my new debit card yet, (thanks to the fact that I somehow lost the first one, despite having never even put it in my wallet, and had to order a replacement, which I just received), so I had to abandon my purchase at the register and leave the store.

Once I was out of the hustle and bustle that it is requisite of Wal-Mart, I called the bank, because the only other time I’ve had a card declined was when a fraud alert was put on it, and it turned out someone had stolen our credit card number. I was worried that this happened again, and terrified for what that might mean for the rest of the shopping I hoped to finish without stopping at home first to get my new card. Once I got through the maze that is the automated phone system, I was connected to “Bob” who was obviously in India, who said he would be happy to help me.

I explained the situation to him, and as he checked the account, he told me that there was not transaction at Wal-Mart at all, much less one that had been declined. What? I really think he assumed I must have had a different card declined, and I was calling the wrong bank, but as I only had the one card in my wallet, I knew what I was doing. He was completely baffled, and finally said that the only thing he could think of was that there was something wrong with the machine at the store, and that I should go back in and try again.

I was dreading going back in the store, lest the same thing happen again, but I followed his advice, and with no problems, so it was clearly a problem on Wal-Mart’s end. Still, it would have been nice to avoid the embarrassment in the first place, and not have to go through the store twice, (why can’t the items I need ever be in the same general area of the Super Center?), especially since this particular shopping insanity wasn’t even my fault. Well, except, for the reason I had to go in the store in the first place. I guess the blame for that is my responsibility.

Hopefully I’ll be able to stay out of the stores until at least…let’s go with December 27. That’s the goal, anyway. That way, I can avoid any further pre-Christmas insanity!

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