From Tracie: Where Did I Put That Phone?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Where Did I Put That Phone?

It was already a frustrating day. Hot as an oven outside. Maybe even as hot as my microwave. I had been going all day and I was tired. Trying to find the right thing at the store had been difficult. Although shopping can be one of the most wonderful things in the world, it can also be the least wonderful. This was one of those times.

I had a gift card with some money left on it. It wasn't enough for the entire purchase, and I knew that. I assumed that I could use the balance on the card and then pay the difference. Apparently I went to the one store in America that won't let you do that unless you know the exact amount on the card down to the penny, which I didn't.

Cue unsuspecting clerk, "Thank you for shopping with us at Overpriced Store today. Did you find everything you need?"

Tracie, "Yes, thank you. I would like to use the balance on this gift card and pay the difference"

Clerk, "What is the balance on the card?"

Tracie, "I'm not sure of the exact amount, but just use all of it and I'll pay the difference."

Clerk, "That isn't possible. Our computer requires that I type in an exact amount. How about half. Does the card have half of the purchase amount on it?"

Tracie, "I really don't know...maybe?"

Clerk, very cheerfully and very loudly, "Okay, we will try running it with half the amount. I'm sorry that card is DECLINED. There isn't that much money on there. Would you like me to try another amount?"

At this point Thomas walks over from where he was looking at other things to find out what was happening, and why the woman was yelling declined across the store.

Tracie, teeth clenched, trying to quickly calculate how much was left on that gift card, "Thirteen. Try thirteen."

Clerk, "Okay it looks like thirteen worked. Your balance will be. Oh no, wait. Thirteen didn't work, that is also DECLINED."

I hear the people in line behind me sighing loudly. I can understand. There aren't many things more annoying than someone who takes forever to pay for their items and move out of the way. At this point I just want to get out of the store, be done with shopping forever, and go home.

Tracie, "Never mind. I don't have to use the gift card." Opening wallet, pulling out alternate form of payment, shoving the gift card back in my wallet.

Clerk, "When you have a gift card like that you can call the number on the back and see what the exact balance is."

She stands there, staring at me. I wonder if she is waiting for me to call the gift card number at that very moment.

I envision my cell phone sitting in the car.

Tracie, "I know I can call and check the balance, I just didn't know I needed to do that in order to use the card. It will be okay."

Clerk, "Well you can call the number and find out the balance. That is what I always do before I use one."

I had a fleeting moment where I thought about asking her if I could use a phone and call to check the exact balance, but the thought of standing there any longer was just too much for me. I snapped.

Tracie, "What do you want me to do, pull the imaginary phone out of my butt and use it to call the gift card number right now?"

With that, I grabbed my bag off the counter, stuffed the receipt into it, helped pick up Thomas' jaw from where it had fallen on the floor during my outburst, grabbed Katarina's hand, and flounced out of the store.

Thomas, "What did you just say to her? What was that? A phone in your butt? If that doesn't make the blog, I don't know what would."

I don't normally freak out like that, and after the initial shock, I think he kind of enjoyed my reaction. But as we were driving home, I wasn't so sure that I enjoyed it. I though about Katarina standing there while her mother yelled at the store clerk over something that really isn't that big of a deal, I realized that what I wish I had said was...

"Thank you ma'am. That is a good idea. Next time I will be sure to do that just in case." .....with a smile.

The clerk can't control how the computer operates, and certainly doesn't deserve to be yelled at for doing her job using the system that is in place.

I don't want to be that person - the one who makes other people's days awful over things that don't really matter. I want to be encouraging, kind, understanding, and bring peace and joy with me wherever I go. Especially when I have a young daughter watching every thing I do, and listening to every word I say.

This new memory of her mother yelling in the store - not one of my proudest moments.

Of course, since I am being honest here, this won't stop me from writing a strongly worded email to the company about how stupid their computer system is...and it may or may not include a reference to my butt.


  1. LOL! I love that you actually said that to her!

  2. cell phone in your butt huh?
    Hmm, any chance you can pull a blackberry out of your butt for me?
    Wash it first though...
    Cause Ew, man, I don't want ANYTHING else on there...


    I'm glad you blogged about the good for nothing ring up clerk...I bet I can guess which store you were at...
    Does it begin with a W?

  3. Wow You really said that?? I am with Thomas on tis one my jaw would have hit the floor too lol.. Maybe you can apologize to the clerk..

  4. ROFL, girl, I have never been here before, but if his is a good example of you I will be back more often!

  5. Oh I LOVE that you said that to her! I am not sure I would have but oh, how I would have wanted to had I the courage to :-)

  6. Oh that is too funny! I have had similar situations with gift cards & those rebate cards our cell phone company sends out. I have learned to just not use them unless my purchase is more than the full amount of the card.
    I'd be willing to bet the people behind you in line had a good laugh after you left!

  7. omg thats hilarious!!! I wouldnt feel too bad about it ive said and done worse sometimes its just not possible to think than speak esp when shopping but i myself loath shopping ;)

  8. You did it! You got over the "I-wish-I-would-have-said-its" and actually did it!

    I think the next step is to make t-shirts :->

  9. While you are at it, can I have a Droid pulled out for me?! LOL
    You lasted so much longer than me. As soon as she asked me if I knew the balance I would have stuck it to my forehead and pretended to be in a trance. I would have said, sorry the card is not talking right now. LOL

  10. But it was really funny!
    I think it's ok for our kids to see that moms have 'moments' too. We're only human!

  11. Okay, I know you shouldn't have said it, but that is the greatest mental image ever...and besides, it can still be a teachable moment for Katarina :)

  12. If I was behind you in line, I would have cheered you on for saying that...

    how ridiculous was that clerk??? And what store doesnt let you use the balance of a gift card & pay the difference? How do they not KNOW what amount is left on it? That's insane! I probably woulda blown a lot earlier & a lot worse!

  13. you are seriously kidding me.

    I have to know what Overpriced Store is so I don't shop there. I think this is the most ridiculous gift card system ever. And I'm so glad you said that to her. GO YOU!

  14. That drives me nuts. I hate the gift cards you know receive as rebates. UGH!!! I have one that probably has 28 cents left on it. I've had issues before, so I now look up the amount, write it down on a tiny little sticky note and put it on the stupid card. PITA!

    Nice to meet you anyway, I stopped by from WIMTS and I will now be following you! :)

  15. From Diana A.
    Perhaps if the clerk hadn't said it three times, you might have made it. However, I can hear you saying that. LOL The only thing you could have done after that is to say to Katarina, well this is how you DON'T handle someone being unhelpful, but after all mommy IS human.

    LOVE IT!!! LOL

  16. Well, Maybe not the BEST response... but it made me laugh anyway!!!!

  17. I actually laughed out loud at this. Thank you for bringing me such joy at 3.00am
    'overpriced store'
    'phone in the butt'


  18. I find it hilarious! The clerk probably didn't at the time, but I'm sure she will have a story to put on her blog now.

  19. Tracie,
    This is a really funny story but I love it even more that wish you had handled it differently! Live and learn girl! Live and learn! And Katarina will realize that such behavior is the exception rather than the rule! I wouldn't worry about it too much! I think it's good for kids to know that we still screw up once in a while! :)

  20. I applaud your honesty here. We all have moments wherein it just gets to be too much. I have been on both sides of this. I have been the clerk who has to explain the unexplainable but I have also been the person wanting to strangle the "system". Don't be so hard on yourself, you're human.

    I love that you opened up in this way. It's one of the things I love about your blog. Speaking of loving your blog, there is an award for you at my place


    P.S. Husbands are wonderful fodder for the blog. WONDERFUL fodder!

  21. It certainly made for a funny post which let's face it, is all that matters, right?

  22. Well, she didn't have to give you stupid advice about calling before you use a gift card. I have NEVER had to that before either, so why would you even expect that to happen? And at least you only said "butt" cuz that's much nicer than the word I would have used. The system isn't her fault, but how she reacts to customers is.