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.