Friday, September 23, 2011


This last week has been defective. I would like to return it. Full-refund. Oh, okay, I'll take store credit if that's the best you can do.

Last Wednesday some charming whosit got a hold of my debit card number and blew $400 on some website that I'd never heard of. So I had to cancel the card and order a new one. Not having a debit card is like not having an arm. So yeah, you've got a prosthetic one to replace it (the temporary ATM card that, as it turns out, has a paltry $60/day withdrawal limit on it) but sometimes you're just too lazy to attach the faux limb. Which leaves you genuinely debilitated (read: having to write a check here and there).

I had to write one of these archaic checks yesterday morning at The UPS Store when my company AmEx was declined. I wasn't late with any expense reporting, so the only way to explain the rejection was that damn retail limit. So hear this: my company puts a monthly "retail" expenses limit on my card. $500. Which should be fine because the only retail expenditures I have are sending stuff, copying things, and buying office supplies. I do not spend $500 each month on copy paper. Instead I spend a bundle on lunches for doctors offices. Not retail. So how could I have reached my limit?

Oh, I'd call it stupid misclassification. Each establishment at which I swipe the AmEx has a designation--hotel, retail, air, restaurant. And sometimes, due to the way that the businesses classify themselves to the IRS, a non-retail location will show up as retail and foul up my $500 limit. It happened with my storage unit. (A storage unit rental fee? Retail? Really?) And I learned yesterday that it has also happened with Einstein's. Those bagel dummies claim to be a retail location. (Strike One.) Not only did I hit that $500 sweet spot, but I am actually over it by $700. How $700 worth of Einstein's catering orders got through the retail barricade I do not know. 

So until I talk with our corporate office and see about getting my retail limit raised I am going to encounter some declined charges. Or I will have to use another restaurant.

Which, unfortunately, might be a good idea. I use Einstein's at least once a week for doctors' offices lunches. The food is healthy and tasty, they deliver, and they have easy online ordering. They are exactly what I like in handling my frequent food capers. But, and I'm sure this was due to simple, common human error, Einstein's triple-charged me for an order, and it's been hell trying to get that fixed. Since I didn't notice the problem until a few months after it happened the issue was beyond my local store and had to work with their corporate accounting office.  

I called the accounting department in Denver once a week for a month. I left messages that were very clear and very polite with my needs my name and my phone, and they simply wouldn't call me back. So yesterday I went the other route and had AmEx file a dispute. (And it should be said that this encounter reinforced my belief that AmEx customer service for corporate clients is the best service ever--they even speak fluent English!) However, before I contacted AmEx I called Einstein's accounting one last time and left a really stupid message that went something like this.
Hi, this is Megan Romo in Reno, Nevada, and this is my fifth time leaving you guys a message about some erroneous charges on my card. I have not received a call back and this is getting ridiculous. Why won't you people do your jobs and just call me back to get this resolved? I'd appreciate a call back this time around. My phone number is 123.456.7890. Once again, this is Megan Romo, in Reno, Nevada, calling about an errant charge and my phone number is 123.456.7890. I sure do hope to hear from you soon. Bye. 
No, wait--not "Bye!" The extra charges on my card total over $400, so I really need this fixed. It's a corporate card but I'm liable. With this extra unpaid $400 my card is going to soon be overdue and will start declining purchases that are necessary for my job. So you really need to fix this. Good-bye for real now.
Strike Two. 

As is evidenced by my hefty Einstein's charges, I do lunches a lot. I can work a lunch successfully in my sleep. But yesterday's lunch was special. It was with a clinic for which that I've been going way, way over-and-above. (This may sound a little hard to believe, but the office sees low-to-no income patients, some of them homeless, and I really think we can do better to help them if I toss in a little extra leg work.) And for yesterday's meal I was bringing an out-of-town educator with whom the doctor had requested a meeting. I bailed on another scheduled lunch to accommodate this one. Of all the lunches I've done in the last year, I was most excited about yesterday's.

So I show up to the location fifteen minutes before the staff's lunch break and I make for the conference room. Where the food had not yet arrived. Not uncommon--I give my restaurants a pretty wide window for deliveries. But, just in case, I called to check on my order's status. 

I was put on hold and then the manager came on the line, Uh, Megan, we don't have an order for you today.

So not only was the food not there, it wasn't coming. 

Strike Three? 

They offered to throw stuff together and rush it over, but even then it wouldn't be on time. So I had a lunch appointment with an office of 25 that I'd been working with a lot, a guest from out of town to do some inservices, and no food. (I kid you not, I thought of bombarding the vending machines and buying candy and chips and sodas for everyone. I can just see myself feeding rumpled dollar after rumpled dollar into the girthy machines for an hour in order to procure enough snack food.) That is a pit-in-your-gut feeling that no one should have to feel. I did not have a solution to the problem. Even pizza wouldn't arrive in time. 

The staff graciously let me reschedule for the next time the educator would be in town, and they didn't blame me because they could tell that I had a family of mice dashing through my veins and eating at my heart. I was doing damage enough without their condemnation. 

(Apparently, nearby construction had cut the restaurant's power and more orders than mine were lost. It was a freak thing and, because I am actually not all that smart (this isn't their last strike) it won't inhibit me from continuing to use Einstein's. I'm actually more forgiving than you might think.)

Considering the debit card thing and the corporate card thing and the triple charge thing, this week has been a bad one for money. And it gets worse. Tuesday was another $850 day for my doggie. She had to have a little mass removed from her nose, the annual dental, a tooth extraction, blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong, the little deary is worth every penny, but I have come to believe that though very attractive, my pup must come from a long line of inbreeders. Each dog breed has its drawbacks, but Soph's issues go well beyond the typical Yorkie problems. (Well of course! The well-known law of Megan (everything takes longer and costs more) applies to her canine as well.) 

Oh, and to pay that $850 dollars? Yeah, I had to write a check. 

Adding insult to a rather injurious previous seven days, today's Bikram class sucked. Yes, yes, I will take responsibility for that one, seeing as I consumed essentially nothing but candy today and I'm one that really does require responsible nutrition to have a successful hot class. But I soldiered on through the sweatfest, wheezing and feeling so dizzy that it was funny. Don't faint don't faint don't faint don't faint . . . 

When I came home after class I didn't walk the dog so much as I shuffled her. With my eyes half closed. But not so closed that I couldn't see that it was time to make use of the single plastic bag in my pocket to gather her little ecological contribution. And not so closed that I couldn't see her stop again to deposit some more. But wait! I only have the one bag! [A predictable never-fail--if I bring one bag, she goes twice. If I bring two bags she doesn't go at all.] Am I supposed to open the stinky thing and somehow gather the rest of this mess? Of course. So I did, and I finished our walk with the dog equivalent of a very full dirty diaper in my sweatshirt pocket. Where the hell is a garbage can when you need one?

Now, I would like to be transparent in saying that though this week was quite shitty (literally; see above for proof), it was also productive, pleasant at times, and the perpetual hits somehow didn't send me into a despondent fit of depression. Even though I also have the blessing of untimely female whoremones wreaking their practiced havoc. 

I shall credit a little white pill labeled Wellbutrin XL.  Three cheers for better living through chemistry. 


My25Cents said...

Argh! Those stinkin' MCC (Merchant Category Classification) Codes!

I had to write a check two months ago and--no lie-- I had to ask for help because for the life of me I couldn't remember what was required of me. I'm blaming it on the little "family of mice dashing through my veins and eating at my heart" when I discovered my Visa was nowhere to be found. Did I mention there were 6 people in line behind me?

Three cheers for prescriptions!

Rabid said...

Oh my. I'm so sorry about your week. However, I am thrilled to death by this:

"I had a family of mice dashing through my veins and eating at my heart."

You are brilliant, friend. Brilliant.

Jessica said...

We really did have parallel weeks. Straight down to the whoremones.

Here's hoping next week is better for the both of us.