by Terri Coop
I am talking about Black Friday Frenzy.
This year we decided to celebrate the holidays with a time-honored 21st century tradition – a new flat-screen TV. I did my research and discovered the optimal addition to our stable of electronics was on sale at walmart.com for 50% off, starting at midnight, on Black Friday.
::cue the evil music::
My husband is a night owl, so he was the designated clicker. So far, so good.
Until he wakes me up at two in the morning informing me his bank card had been declined . . . twenty times. Snarling, I booted up my computer, convinced he’d typed something wrong. I was going to show him how a real bargain hunter shopped.
Okay, not funny.
I decided to try Amazon to make sure it wasn’t a Wal-Mart problem.
Well, that forty-two inch bit of discounted frippery wasn’t escaping me that easily. I phoned my bank and was informed the account had been locked for identity theft.
Their justification for this conclusion? Only someone using a stolen card would be shopping at the Wal-Mart website at midnight.
Let’s just say that the discussion got rather pointed. Okay, it actually got quite loud.
The bank is supposed to automatically call when this alarm is triggered. They didn’t. Why? The poor soul on the phone told me that the file was marked “Don’t call, it’s too early.”
Let’s examine the bank’s logic. It’s not appropriate to call at midnight. However, if it’s me using my own card, I’m already awake. If it’s not me, then I guess the bank figures I’m going to need a good night’s sleep to deal with the theft of my identity. Yes, my bank was on the case. Finally, I was assured that all blocks had been lifted from the account.
Delighted and emboldened by my discounted flat-screen TV, and reassured that my bank had my back, I decided to add some accessories to the new home entertainment center. Tap. Tap. Click. Click.
Two more phone calls and I was assured, again, that I was a valued customer and the bank was looking out for my best interests. All those electronic purchases were a sure sign that some Nigerian was running wild with my bank card. It was for my own good.
Finally, Saturday rolled around. I’d scored some bargains, but it was as much cage match as shopping spree. My final holiday task was taking our guest of honor home to Missouri. Any Kansan knows that gas is cheaper on the MO side of the line, so I coasted in just shy of “E,” dropped him off, and stopped at the local gas station.
Standing in the parking lot of a gas station in Missouri, I learned that my account had been restricted to my home state. Any other charges were considered fraudulent because of the electronics purchases. However, I was informed that if I ever needed to leave the state, all I had to do was call and let them know. . .
Apparently, I’d been convicted of “Grand Shopping – Electronics” and put on parole. I now needed my bank’s permission to leave the state. It got loud . . . very loud . . .
Black Friday, it’s not for sissies!
Photo credit: b2cmarketinginsider.com