Monday, December 17, 2007

Denied (Happy Holidays)

I hate crowds, especially when I’m shopping, so it’s no wonder that my anxiety level has risen in preparation for the holidays. I know my limits, so I refuse to go anywhere other than the gym (which is dead) on weekend days. I know I can’t handle the people; the wandering children, the people who ram you with their baby strollers, the women who don’t give a shit what you’re looking at and plant themselves right in front of you and what you were looking at because they’re rich and think they’re better than you. I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type this – the muscles in my shoulders and neck tensing up…

I’ve tried to remain calm this holiday season. I know getting all worked up only hurts me, so I’m trying to be nice to people and let the annoying encounters go. But it’s hard.

Last week I went into Best Buy to get a set of presents for my boyfriend, J. I was lucky in that one of the three items I needed was actually in stock – it was the last one in Maryland, and I was ecstatic. I waited in line, got up to the register, paid, and was denied. It was my bank card, and I had been using it earlier in the day. I knew my balance was fine, which then threw me into a blind panic that someone got my card info and drained my account.

I left the store and called my bank from the parking lot. According to them everything was fine. They gave me a number to call – the number for the credit-processing service Best Buy uses to confirm all payments. These people were obviously not in America. It took them 10 minutes to get the correct spelling of my last name (GEBHARDT) with us going back and forth to confirm each letter and then the name in its entirety. I think we did this no less than 5 times. Forty-five minutes later they confirm everything is fine – why don’t I go back in and have the cashier try and process it again?

I go back in, several employees staring my down like “you ain’t got no money,” and I tell them what the bank and their processing company said. We try it again, and again it’s denied. They’re on the phone with their processing company, I’m on the phone with their processing company and then my bank. Everyone on all ends assures us that everything is “fine” and should be going through. Again, denied. Again on the phone. Again. Again. I walk out of Best Buy (Target is next door) to see if they have what I need – they have everything but that one component that is at the Best Buy store I just left and nowhere else in Maryland. I talk to my bank.

“I know this is an inconvenience, Ms. Gebhardt, but there is a bank branch within a mile of the Best Buy you are at. You could just go and get cash.”


As I enter the Best Buy for the 3rd time that evening, all employee eyes are on me. Cashiers are whispering to each other, the manager won’t look at me. I’m an outcast. I wanted to scream at them at the top of my lungs, “Do you want my fucking money or not, assholes?!” Instead, I got in line. The cashier snickers as he called me to his open register. I looked him in the eye.

“I have cash.”

“Ok,” he said as he giggled.

I made sure to write his name down: KEGAN. That little shit. Don’t you want my fucking money?! Don’t you?! Then shut your fucking face. Alas, I didn’t say these things to him either. I sucked it up, thanked him, and wished him a “nice day.”

I somehow felt I needed to explain to everyone the situation – that I actually had money and that this was all a big mistake. I needed them to understand me. I needed them to not think of me as a crazed idiot. Being “denied” hurt. I was embarrassed.

Perhaps it’s just retail karma. I use to work retail in high school and college, and I was a cunt at Christmas – a real asshole, and sometimes for no reason other than that I had heard the same lame Christmas song one too many times playing overhead.

Luckily, I’m almost done my holiday shopping. Deep breaths. Relaxing mantras. I will not hurt anyone this holiday season, I will not hurt anyone this holiday season, I will not hurt anyone this holiday season.


jen said...

I'm currently "enjoying" working part time (seasonal) retail. I try to be as nice as possible to everyone, because I personally love shopping, especially when it's for other people, and I want to make sure everyone else that's shopping has a good time as well. Unfortunately it's those few people that hate it, are having a bad day, or are just plain bitches that make us normally happy retailers into the intolerant cunts we can occasionally be. At least it's almost over...

Anonymous said...

This is why I buy everything off the internet. Or in November. Otherwise, the incidence of holiday mall homicide would increase greatly.