Mar 082003

I hate shopping.

I hate wandering around different stores, trying to find the thing I want. I know what it is I want, but tracking down which store has something vaguely close to it is time-consuming and tedious. I wind up wearing shoes until they’re falling apart because I hate shopping for shoes. People have speculated that I’m not really a female.

Online shopping is the way to go, for me. You track down what you want in five minutes without ever leaving the house, and they bring it right to your door. Most of the time it’s worth the shipping cost to avoid the aggravation of hunting in four different department store chains who all carry identical merchanidise.

(Note to any lurking spammers: this is not an invitation to send me ads for your online store—unless you want to make sure I never buy anything from it. See The Boulder Pledge.)

Last night I was trying to buy some videos with a debit card. I asked the nice fellow at the register if they took them, and he said yes—so I handed him my combination Visa/debit card. He swiped it and handed me a slip of paper to sign.

“Why do I need to sign something? I thought you could take a debit card.”

“It automatically uses whatever type of card you have.”

“I have a debit card. Did it process it as a debit card, or a credit card?”

“As a debit card. It automatically debits it from your account.”

“Yes, but does it debit it from my credit card account, or from my checking account?”

After some confusion, I figured out what the problem was (although I don’t think he did). When he said “debit card” what he meant was “check card.” He hadn’t realized it was possible to have a credit card that was also an ATM/debit card. So despite my precaution of asking if they took debit cards, I still wind up with a charge to my credit card.

Very annoying. I know there are plenty of people who like to charge everything to credit and then pay it all off at the end of the month. I am not one of those people. I have trouble conceptualizing that the money is actually spent, so I spend it again from the checking account. To avoid this problem I use the debit card as much as possible. This is my system, and it usually works quite well for me. Except when I run into cashiers who don’t realize check cards are not the only option available for things with a credit card logo on them. Not everyone wants a check card. I feel it’s a security issue to have a card that can access my checking account without a PIN. If someone manages to swipe it unknown and run up charges, I’d rather spend the next three months disputing the charges on a credit card than trying to explain to the mortgage company why the check bounced. Apparently that’s just me, since people ringing me up are frequently unable to grasp the idea that what I’m handing them is not a check card.

From now on I’m just going to buy my videos online like everything else.

 Posted by at 11:43 am

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