All right, so I’ve already carried on about my credit and debit card woes. Debit card hacked by Finns! Credit card compromised and destroyed; fresh, new, unblemished credit card sent — which I tried to activate over the phone.
No luck. My new card was as pure as Tiger Woods, having already been used in Brazil. (Brazil and Finland! That seemed massively unfair, since I’d never been to either country, where I appear to be rather well-known, already.)
“Destroy the card,” the Citibank voice at the other end of the line said. “We’ll send you another one.”
I took out my scissors and cut up the card. Dutiful, as always. Grateful, too, that Citibank was protecting my interests — even before the card was activated.
Dutiful, grateful — no, let’s make that naive and premature. Yesterday, I was paying bills. We try to go paperless — good for the earth! The right thing to do! But, also, hard to read!
So I was squinting at my online Citibank bill, thinking it seemed a bit high. By pressing my nose against the computer screen, I could make out an extra thousand-plus in charges. “Moved from previous credit card,” it said in the margin.
Having, by this time, possessed more credit cards than Imelda Marcos, I was a little curious about which card it had been transferred from. So, I called Citibank and got a perfectly nice woman on the phone who investigated for me.
The extra thousand-plus bucks? Oh, yes, transferred from the earlier, never-activated, always compromised credit card. Just a nice little charge run up by my friends (amigos? I know no Portuguese) in Brazil.
Well, the agreeable Citiwoman said, I needed to file a protest and the amount would be temporarily deducted from my balance — then investigated.
“Any other problems?” she asked.
“Nope. No credit-card fraud yet this month,” I said.
“Well, you certainly have a good attitude about this,” she said.
“Actually,” I said, “I don’t. I’m wondering why — when it was clear this amount was fraudulent from the beginning, it ended up on my bill. I could have overlooked it so easily.”
“Yes,” she said, fervently agreeing, “that’s what they count on.”
They! Oh, yes, the ambiguous, antecedent-free they. The source of all problems, the purveyors of nothing good. They! The Brazilians!
I hung up because I don’t, on the whole, enjoy chatting with corporations, no matter how mellifluous their mouthpieces and empathic their manner.
All I could think was: When your own credit-card company appears so happy and eager to scalp any exposed body part — who in the hell needs a Brazilian?
(Copyright 2010 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Read one of my favorite posts about the Prius with the McCain bumper sticker