Wednesday, June 28, 2006

FRAUD: THE UNIVERSE TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING

For the second time in as many months, I lost my ATM card at THE SAME ATM branch of my bank. I think it's because at this branch's particular machines, I don't SWIPE the card; the machine actually EATS it, and then I forget to take it after the machine ever so politely (and silently) spits it back out. Or: I'm losing my mind.

Last time this happened I realized later that day, when I checked my wallet, that I'd lost the card. I called my bank in a panic to cancel the card, and found out that no one had tried to charge anything with it. Phew! Close call!

THIS time, however, I had NO IDEA I'd lost the card until my bank called very early in the morning to report "suspicious activity". It was only when I checked my wallet and saw that the card was gone did I realize that, yup, I'd left it at that bad-luck ATM and someone had taken it. And USED it!

What was the "suspicious activity" that made my bank think "Oh! This CAN'T be Megan making all these charges! It's just NOT LIKE HER!"?

I believe it was popcorn, candy, and slushies.

When I spoke--drenched in the anxious, early morning sweat that comes with waking up to bad news--to the Bank's Lost-or-Stolen Fraud Guy on the phone, he gave me a rundown of recent purchases.

First, my card went to the movies. Which makes sense, because the ATM where I lost it is basically across the street from a giant UA Theater. There, my card was used to buy about $60 worth of tickets and gift passes. This is something I would NEVER do, but the charges were authorized.

So where did the activity become "suspicious"? The concession stand. See, if you know me, you know that I NEVER BUY CONCESSIONS at the movies. They're so GROSSLY overpriced! I prefer to sneak in my own candy and drinks; I carry a bag the size of a bag-lady's anyway; generally, it's for gym clothes and my computer, but, on occasion, it is a cover for my personal stash of movie junk food. I mean, who REALLY pays $4.00 for a fountain soda or $3.75 for Reese's Pieces? BESIDES billionaires and dummies?!

But actually, yesterday, "me" DID pay those prices! "Me" and my card spent about FIFTY DOLLARS on concessions! FIFTY DOLLARS! Oh, my bank KNOWS me! It knows me GOOD! 'Cause that's the point where it started to go, "Hold on now...This looks like FRAUD!"

I love that my bank knows that I have NEVER spent, and NEVER WOULD spend, $50 on movie snacks. Just a glance at my recent statements would tell you all you need to know about me: I love monthly metro-cards, Trader Joe's, St. Mark's Bookshop, Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, the Kiehls-Sephora bifecta, and the occasional dinner out. At the movies, I spend the $10.75 on the ticket and THAT'S IT. If it's movie night, then maybe there'll be a charge at a Duane Reade or CVS, for the cost of some candy and a soda. But I am basically a creature of habit, and my habits don't include Doing It Up at the concession stand.

But maybe they should.

Because after I'd stopped having a coronary over my lost card by confirming its cancellation and learning that my bank would cover the fraudulant charges (which, so far, are at about $300 including TWO monthly metro-cards and a Macy's shopping spree), I thought about whoever had used it.

And I realized that whatever little damage was done, someone out there had had an AWESOME afternoon/evening! Maybe this person took their friends to the movies and was like, "Hey, let's get some slushies and popcorn and candy. Let's go ALL THE WAY! Want some $5 nachos?! Hell yeah! Get 'em!" At some point last night, while I was doing my thing, unaware that my card was gone, some strangers sat in an air-conditioned theater, watching a movie (hopefully with a B story involving karmic consequences) accompanied by an abundance of tasty treats! I bet they got a slushy, something I deny myself the pleasure of enjoying because of its cost. So I think I'll start buying overpriced slushies. They are DELICIOUS! I like to mix the blue color and the red color (let's be honest, those aren't FLAVORS you're drinking; they're just COLORS). Yeah: yummy treats, no matter the cost. It's one thing to be thrifty: quite another to cheap out on good time experiences.

Some pleasures are just worth the price. Even if it's someone else's pleasure. And I don't have to pay.

1 Comments:

Blogger garin said...

Hey Megan.. you might ask your bank if they carry the bank cards that will show your picture on them..they cost a little more but they are worth it(about the same price as 3 movie soda's and a bag of Sugar Lumps)!! plus you can pick your picture for the card..I was torn between a picture of Jack Nicholson in "the shinning" you know that whole "herrrrrrrrree's Johnny"photo or the photo of Maurice J. Camel I went with the sure thing..I went with Maurice J. Camel!

1:58 PM  

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