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Rejected Plastic Puts a Dent in Holiday Celebrations

     The waiter walked up and politely slapped the little black book encasing our tab onto the table.

     “Your card is rejected.”

     Until then, it had been a wonderful evening of delicious food and delightful company. We were celebrating our son’s birthday, our granddaughter’s birthday, and our wedding anniversary, which all fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The treat was on us. Was.

     My guy that helps me spend money gave me an “I knew this was going to happen” look as our son quietly reached for his wallet. With one voice we told him, “No, no! We’ll use our debit card.”

     Fortunately the waiter came back with a smile this time.

     I don’t know about you, but those plastic cards are getting the best of me during this holiday season. 

After losing my wallet last month and canceling all our cards and starting over with new ones, I had to deal with the new PIN for my debit card, which I promptly forgot as I stood face to face with an unforgiving ATM, begging it to accept my card.

     It didn’t. It gobbled it up.

     I was shocked. Only two tries? Those ATMs have no mercy.

     Shortly after that, our credit union rep convinced us to change our gold VISA to a platinum VISA. I didn’t activate the new platinum cards right away, because the last time I did that, our automatic charges to VISA “bounced” and after trying to fix it online for hours, I had to call Cox Cable and Verizon and explain why our payments didn’t clear and give them the new card number and all this time I could’ve been getting my Christmas cards addressed.

     So this time I was going to be smart. This time I would change the card number with Cox and Verizon before I activated the new card. Also, I would wait until the PIN arrived.

     When the PIN finally arrived in the mail, I didn’t know which card it was for: my snatched-by-the-ATM debit card or the new VISA. I called the credit union and asked.

     It was for the VISA. The rep offered to change the PIN to an easier one so I could remember it and since she was right there to do it, I said sure. After a long time she came back on the line and said it was all in the system.

     Then I asked if I would get a new PIN for my debit card in the mail. No, I’d have to go to the branch and “you’ll have to ask for a new debit card. They don’t send you one automatically.”

     Jeepers! The ATM snatches your card and doesn’t even send you a replacement? What really got me was that I was trying to make a deposit when it snatched my card. I wasn’t asking for money. I was trying to give them some.

     The rep told me to be sure to remember that the new PIN wouldn’t go into effect for two days. I told her I hadn’t activated the card anyway – we were planning to use the old one until the new PIN was in effect - but she offered to activate it for me right then and there, so I said, “Sure. Go ahead.”

     That’s why, when our beautiful new platinum VISA was slapped onto the table, totally rejected, I had no idea what had happened.

     Turns out, the rep didn’t tell me that the VISA she’d activated wasn’t really activated. The activated VISA wouldn’t be activated until the PIN was activated – two days later.

     Well, the VISA’s working now; the debit card arrived on Monday and the PIN arrived yesterday in the mail. With all my plastic rejuvenated, activated and PINNED, I’m ready to celebrate the holidays. See you out there!

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