Lydy Nickerson (lydy) wrote,
Lydy Nickerson

Be Careful What You Ask For

Sunday night was the coldest night of the year. Seventeen degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. As I was driving to work, I saw a guy panhandling on the corner. I fumbled for my wallet, and pulled out a twenty and gave it to him with the earnest extortion, "Get inside. This is killing cold." I had just bought a new wallet, of a considerably different form factor than the old one, and don't have the new carrying protocols down, yet. I didn't notice that it was missing until around seven the next morning. I checked all my pockets multiple times, emptied my purse and knit bag repeatedly. When I got to my car, I checked everywhere. I checked under the car. Nope, nope, nope. Most likely outcome was that I had not quite gotten it into my pocket, and it had fallen onto the floor of the parking garage when I got out of the car.

When I got home, I called Abbott Northwestern's lost and found line. Which cheerfully informed me that this function was now being handled by Security, and transferred me to Security, which apparently never answers their phone. Instead, there is a recording. I left an urgent message, asking for a call back either way. An hour later, I did this again. (I still have not received a response from the bastards.)

Eventually, I called my bank, and asked if I could temporarily suspend my card, until I could ascertain whether or not it was, in fact, missing. I was told that I could, and I did that thing. There was no suspicious activity on the card. I was incredibly stressed, since I was leaving for New York City Thursday morning. I called Delta Airlines, and established that I could, in fact, fly without ID, although it would be difficult and irritating, requiring the filling out of forms and other indignities. There was also $147 in cash, and I couldn't easily replace it. I made arrangements to have Patrick PayPal me some money so that I would have cab fare from JFK.

I took a sleeping pill to get to sleep. Around one-thirty in the afternoon, my phone rang, and a woman named LaDonna said that she had found my wallet on the floor of the parking garage. I was overjoyed, and we arranged for me to pick it up after work on Tuesday morning. When I retrieved my wallet, I tried to give her twenty in thanks, but she wouldn't take it. I probably didn't do it right, I never know how to do these things gracefully. I really was grateful. She allowed as how she'd take $2 for a cup of coffee, I gave her a five, and told her to buy coffee for a friend. All the money was in the wallet, as well as the cards and ID.

When I got home, I called my bank, TCF Bank, to ask them to turn the card back on. It's a Visa/debit card, and I use it instead of cash most of the time. It's incredibly convenient, the more so in a strange city. The woman on the other end of the line, named Theresa, said, "Oh, I'm so glad you found it. Where was it?" I did not understand that this question was anything other than polite conversation while she was doing things on the computer, so I answered honestly. And she said:

"The card was out of your possession. I can't reactivate it. You will need to get a new card."

There then followed a long conversation, where I got angrier and angrier, with the word fuck becoming a larger and larger percentage of the words I actually uttered, and Theresa saying, repeatedly, "I understand," and "It was out of your possession, I cannot reactivate it." At one point I yelled, "Stop saying you understand. It is not a good sentence for you. I don't need you to understand, I need you to reactivate the card." At another point, "The card is out of my possession all the fucking time! I leave it in my office for hours at a time at work, and you don't deactivate it then!" At another point, "What part of 'I work nights' are you not understanding? It is already well past my bedtime, and I have no time to replace this card!" At another point, "Oh, for fuck's sake, woman, would you please just start acting like a human being, and admit that the rules are really stupid? I get that you have to follow them, but stop acting like they make fucking sense!" Her response was, "I understand." Seriously, customer service people should stop saying that.

Why, yes, I did lose it all over the poor woman on the other end of the line who had no real choices in the matter. But I was so very angry that she had asked me a gotcha question masquerading as polite chit-chat. And I was infuriated that she kept on trying to position the rule as something of benefit to me. The wallet was returned to me by a woman who had spent several hours trying to contact my boss (he wasn't in the office that day), was unable to find me in the hospital directory (I work for a company contracted to the hospital, not the hospital itself), who eventually called 411 directory assistance to find my land-line number, returned the wallet to me with all $147 in cash, and refused to take any money for this kindness. How was this a security risk? How is this, in any way, a greater security risk than every single time I give my card to a waiter in a restaurant, and they take it OUT OF MY POSSESSION, into a back room, and do god know what with it?

One of the things that Theresa consistently assured me was that getting my card replaced would take fifteen minutes at any branch, and that I would get a new chip card, wouldn't that be nice? So, Wednesday, after work, I went to the closest branch. I was very tired, and since they don't open until nine, I had to dick around for a bit at Target waiting for them to open, but there I was and there they were, and the nice teller said, "No problem, here's a form...wait, you have a Gopher card. We can't do that, here." To which I did not say, "Are you fucking kidding me?" but she heard me, anyway.

So there ensued another uncomfortable conversation with the nice teller, who was a trainee and whose name I've lost, and the woman working with her, whose name is Mindy. Mindy was human and understanding, although she overused the sentence "I understand." It is possible I have become overly sensitive to the phrase. My account was opened when I was working at the University. It has no monthly fee, and a couple of other perks I don't remember, and possibly don't care about. However, it also has (oh joy!) a fucking Minnesota Goldie the Fucking Gopher on the card, for reasons, they can't just give me a normal debit/Visa card. In order to keep my current account, I must have a fucking gopher on my card. Which they can expedite, and will take one to two days, and come in the mail... Yeah, that's not working for me. I fly out the next day. So not working.

As I said, Mindy was actually very good. Eventually, she suggested that they generate an ATM card for me. I can't use it like a Visa card, but I can access my funds while in NYC at any ATM. And Mindy said that if was charged fees, I should come back to her and she will have them reversed, because this would not happen if they hadn't turned off the card in the first place.

So, I'm in NYC. I have an ATM card. And I am still really, really angry with Theresa from TCF. But I liked Mindy a lot. And I will be much more careful what questions I answer whenever I talk to customer service.
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