Monday, November 24, 2008

Pending in Purgatory

I'm angry. Hot steaming mad. Furious sounds more like it. You know the cartoons wher they depict steam coming out of someone's ears when they are angry?? Picture me with fire. I heard a saying in a movie once "Don't mess with my man or my money". And since I'm currently officially unattached the source of my ire is messing with my ducats.

I attended a dinner with some friends and associates on Saturday. I arrived at the restaurant late (what's new?! LOL). As I approached the restaurant I thought hmmm, maybe I should duck into the bank and take some money out. I looked at my watch and saw that I was later than I expected to be and abandoned the notion of stopping at the ATM. Of course in hindsight that was my Palin mistake. You betcha I shoulda took my ass to the ATM. (*shooting pistols and winking. hahahahahaha I doubt this will ever NOT be funny! hahahaha)

So after good food and a great drink (the Caribbean Cooler instantly made me think of sandy beaches, clear water to match the clear skies, limited clothing...ahhhh I need a vacation.), the bill came. This is when the proverbial shit began to hit the fan. I hate dining with large groups unless I know the folks at the table. If these are my peeps, then typically we split the bill evenly. We don't get into the pettiness of "you had 2 drinks and I had 1." W
e enjoyed each other's company and that's what matters. Now if I don't know everyone at the table, then I believe that the tax and tip should be evenly divided. Once that portion is taken care of, I believe in the "pay for what you ate" manner of taking care of the bill.

Someone how my girl Double G (no those aren't her initials) and I are left to take care of the bill. People are passing money our way and we're just deducting it from the total. So you know we got screwed, right??? I had a salad, an appetizer, and 2 drinks of the alcohol variety (those Caribbean Coolers - man I was ready to slap my passport down on the table after 2...hahahahaha). My total was 37 prior to tax and tip. When we tallied up every one's money, the bill was short. Those who were still there began ponying up more to contribute but we were still shorter than Gary Coleman at an amusement park. I didn't feel like fighting with people over what amounted to a few dollars so Double G and I decided to cover it. I was already done at that point and resolved never to eat with these fools again unless I have a separate check.

I hand the waiter my card with CLEAR instructions "put $60 on this card; the rest of the bill is in cash". (ummm yeah you see how I went from $37 to $60, right??? riiiiiiight!). A few moments later, the waiter hands me 2 sets of receipts.

"Oh ma'am, I'm so sorry. I accidentally charge your card for something else. But I voided it and it won't appear on your card. Here's the receipt for the $60"

I look at the first receipt and my modest 2 figure bill had now jumped to a date night, I better be getting laid WITH copious amounts of foreplay, a full body massage, ample cuddle time annnnd a cheese omelet breakfast in the morning after this dinner 3 figure amount.

I slipped out a "What the fuck?" and reached for the waiter.
"Oh miss, please don't worry. I voided it right away. It won't appear on your card. See I wrote Void on the receipt. See?"
"Ummmm, I'ma need to see a manager. "

After speaking to the manager, I was assured this matter was resolved. I continued to have a conversation with some very interesting women and left the matter alone. I checked my account later that evening and the charge was still pending but I figured it would fall off after midnight. I checked my account again on Sunday and the charge was still listed as "Pending" I finally called my bank and spoke to a rep in Customer Service. I figured she would say something along the lines of "Well, ma'am it's Sunday. You will see the reversal of the charge by tomorrow morning. "
HA! If only the bank worked the way my overly active imagination did.

"Ms. Butterfly, there is nothing we can do while the charge is still listed as pending. I can't even see if there is a credit for this charge or not because of it's Pending status. It takes 3 to 4 business days to clear."

What?????? I tried not to get mad at her because its not her fault. But I couldn't contain my passionate discourse. "So you mean to tell me that my money is in banking purgatory because some fucking idiot at the restaurant made a mistake. I never authorized that amount of money to come out of my account. Why should I pay for his mistake??? And what do you mean you don't see a credit??? Shit what about my bills???!!!"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or hit somebody. Since there was no one to hit and didn't feel much like laughing or crying, I paced. If the weather were nicer I would have gone for a very long walk in my neighborhood but the cold weather would have upset me more so I paced in my ghetto heat having living room (no I am not complaining just stating the facts). I thought about the shopping I planned to do this week - first for this damn baby shower (yes I know that the few references I've made about this event are always punctuated by the word "damn", but you would too if you knew all the bullshit I've been through) and then the after Turkey Day shopping for self (oops I mean presents for others. riiiiiiiiiight!LOL) . This wouldn't be a problem if this were my credit card. The credit would appear on my next billing statement. But I have a problem using my credit card to pay for something that will be in a sewer long before I get the bill. And I've grown to become less dependant on credit cards. Whew that was a hard habit to shake. LOL

I begrudgingly transferred money from savings (which I vowed not to touch). But that's not the point. The point is why do I have to pay for someone else's mistake??? Why do I log onto my bank's website and see fire when I see pending next to the 2 charges from this restaurant??At this point, not even those Caribbean Coolers would cool my jets.

So what have I learned???
1. Listen to your intuition. I should have just gone to the bank. I was already late; another 3 minutes wasn't going to kill anyone.
2. Use cash at restaurants. In this age of plastic, this just proves that paper is better for the economy and my stress level.
3. Be thankful. I'm grateful that I was able to cover the money sitting in bank purgatory. In this time of economic uncertainty, I really shouldn't complain but shit - it's my money. LOL
4. Learn the recipe for the Caribbean Cooler. I must have this drink again. But I'm afraid of walking back into that restaurant any time soon. I might wanna slap somebody. And I'm too fine to do time. ;)


rashad said...

While my card didn't end up being charged, I went thru a scenario like this 5 years ago during a birthday dinner I had. The bill was about $90 short, and I ended up paying out of my pocket, despite the fact that it was MY birthday. From now on in group scenarios, I bring cash and I ask for a separate check. Fuck all that bullshit...

Miss. Lady said...

This has happened to me more than once. I always ask the rep to send me the paper work to dispute the charge so I can fax it over as soon as the charge bills out to my checking account.

They usually reverse the charges with in 24-48 hours. If a credit so happens to come through then they will just take it out of my account. Of course this all happened when I was banking with the credit union, not quite sure how things go if you are banking with a large commercial institution.

Did they give you an actual void slip from the machine? Or a credit slip? If not then they did not void it.

Jazzbrew said...

What Rashad said. If I go anywhere with a bunch of people I want my own bill and/or I've got cash. I've been burned in the manner that you've described way too many times.

Oh - and the problem with pending charges and your money being in purgatory... that has also happened too many times to count. Once to the tune of $350 which screwed up ALL my bills. That was one of those tantrum/flip the hell out events that I discussed in my blog. *isht* was definitely getting tossed around on that one.

"but we were still shorter than Gary Coleman at an amusement park."


makeba said...

Child....I was going to blog about this very same scenario the other day and then I said, why? It will only just make me mad. So reading your blog post bought back those annoying feelings. lol

My new conclusion, I ain't going out with familiar folk, new folk, stranger folk, any folk no mo! I am tired of this we split by the group, we split as an individual junk cause in the end I always feel like I am getting jerked some kind of way. Screw group eating gatherings. lol