Monday, October 16, 2006

Sentence First – Verdict After

I was trying to help Deacon with an online purchase from a computer store. We were using my credit card because…well, it just needed to be done this way. Anyway, the amount WAS rather larger than my usual purchasing practice, but still well within the realm of possibility. The transaction was completed and one second passed. I went to say something when my cell phone began to ring.

DEACON: Ha! It’s probably your credit card company saying, “What the…”
ALICE *running downstairs to answer it*: Ha, yourself! They can’t be that fast and anyway, why would they be calling to find out if my card was stolen. As if I were some deadbeat who could never buy a computer with my own card!

Yes, it was the company. Seconds after the purchase. It must have gone like this:

COMPANY SNOOP: HANG ON! I see activity on Alice’s card. Oh my God! It’s a computer sale!
SUPERVISOR: What! This card must have been stolen. Definitely. Alice doesn’t spend money like that. She’s not capable of it. She’s a…deadbeat…you know.
COMPANY SNOOP: Well, she does have a job now. Sort of. It doesn’t pay much, but it IS a job. And we all have been waiting a long time for her to find one.
SUPERVISOR: Yeah, I know. It’s been years.

So, I was subjected to a range of questions to verify that it really was me, Alice, on the phone and that it really was me, Alice, who had used the card. There were too many rapid-fire questions. All we needed was a rectangular table, handcuffs on my wrists, and a very bright light assaulting my eyes.

DISEMBODIED VOICE: What is your mother’s maiden name? Where did you work before you got this low paying, part-time job? How do you expect to pay bills with a part-time salary? What are the names, ranks, and serial numbers of anyone you have ever known? How much wood can a woodchuck chuck…?

I did my best. I almost confessed to the crime but, eventually, the person helping me found me not guilty and let me go free.

I am grateful, truly, that the credit card people spend hours trawling the waters of fraud. Yes, I am.

I am also astounded that they work in nanoseconds. Truly.