What’s In Your Wallet?

August 11, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
  It feels good to once again have some things paid off.  After the Abbott-and-Costello-style comedy that was the loan process, I finally got some things done.  The title company cut a slough of checks.  Three different ones took care of past due real estate property taxes on the two houses plus the personal property tax on my cars.
  One more check cut–the only one I haven’t done yet–is the sales tax on my car.  I have to get it re-inspected first, then I’m all good.  I got a check at the last minute to pay off a past due sewer bill–about six hundred dollars worth.  There was, of course, the check to pay my son’s tuition…and then the big one, paying off the old home equity loan.  I feel like that one doesn’t really count, because that is the major portion of my new improved mortgage, so I don’t feel that it is "paid off" in any real sense.
  One good thing that came out of it was paying off my one credit card.  I swear to all that is unholy, credit cards are the bane of my existence.  I have battled with this behemoth for the better part of three years, and I’ve only had the fuckin thing for four years.
  Those logical of you in the audience will point to the evidence and say that it is largely (or completely) my fault.  Well, those logical of you can kiss my ass.  I understand how the game is played now.  And it is a game.  Having a credit card is like going to the casino for free, but paying a fee every time you play a hand, or switch tables, or cash in chips.  Or look at a hot waitress.
  Oh, and all the games are rigged so that you always lose.  Even if you win, you end up paying.
  Back in the mid nineties, I had a whole heapin helpin of credit card problems.  Credit counseling first, then a home equity loan to consolidate them, and many years later I vowed I would never eat turnips again.  But then in 2004 (or 05; I do not remember so well) I was going to get a different job as a satellite dish installer. 
  Think of how fun it would be to have me falling off your roof.
  Part of the deal, however, was that I needed to have and hence pay for my own tools.  They had a list.  I had a few things…
  So I painfully applied for a credit card.  But I didn’t take that job–at just the right time there was an opening at the bank, so I came here.  But I still had the card.  It was fine, at first.  It was the part of the relationship where you just like having them around and appreciate all that they do for you, and never give a second thought to how they are always around, watching you, stalking you, and your friends and family have mysteriously disappeared, and honey, why is there blood on the carpet?
  Through no fault of my own (I swear to God, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) I got into a teensy bit of trouble with the card.  I got behind ever so briefly.  But then I was caught up.  Let me tell you the ugly reality of credit cards:  I refied my loan and managed to put about a thousand dollars down on the card–half the balance.  That was a year and a half ago.  Now, this month, what is my balance?  About the same.  Paying about twice the minimum payment I managed to knock the balance down about 150 dollars over the course of a fucking year and a half.
  Almost without thinking, I including paying off the card as part of the wish list for my loan cash-out.  Since it was one of the few things I could get a receipt for and proof of, it was approved.  The new balance was 907 and some change, and the due date was August 11th.  I mailed the thing last week, about the 4th or 5th, I think.
  Attached to my monitor at work–besides all of the fortunes from Chinese food that I save and tape there–is a sticky note that says "Monday–Cap One Showdown."  Monday is the 10th, and I wanted to make sure they get their payment in time.  If not, I’m going to do the minimum payment online just in time, and then make them send me a refund.
  Monday I checked my account in the morning and then in the afternoon.  Still no payment posted.  Carp.  The minimum was 26 bones, so I paid it online.  Or at least I thought I did.  I ran through it so fast and I think I got to the confirmation page but I wasn’t paying attention.  Hell, was I even on the right website?  I could have been paying my cable bill.  I don’t even *have* cable.
  This morning, I checked my account again–I still had time to redo the minimum payment if it didn’t stick and the other payment hadn’t posted yet.  But I looked, and they were both posted.  The 900-plus bones plus the 26 clams.  But when I look at my balance, it *shows* 26 smackers.  Late fee?  Newly accrued interest?  What the hell?  Luckily, it’s a long process to call and talk to a human in India, so while I’m in the middle of that process, I notice and understand that the 26  dollar balance is actually in parentheses, which is a negative balance.  If this was a checking account, that would be a bad thing.  But since this is a credit card, a negative balance is a *good* thing.  A negative balance means *they* owe *me*.  Ha!  In your face!
  But since I was getting them on the phone, I continued through the process of canceling the card.  I had to find the instructions online, because through the phone options it’s not exactly clear.  What the recording should say, as soon as it picks up, is this:
  "Welcome to Capital One.  For English, press 1.  If you’ve finally come to your senses and would like to escape our financial clutches and make us release your neck from our jaws, press 2."
  Instead, the directions are something like this:
 
We’re sorry to hear that you want to close your account. Before you do that, consider whether closing your account is the right financial decision for you, your family, or your business.
~~There was alot of crap in here that I kind of ignored~~
Blah blah benefits, blah blah blah rewards, blah blah blow job. 
Still Want to Close Your Account?
If you wish to close your account, please call 1-800-955-7070 and use the following directions for prompt service:
1. Enter your account information when it’s requested.
2. Press the star key (*) at any time to reach the Main Menu.
3. At Main Menu, press 5 to reach the Account Actions menu.
4. At Account Actions, press 5 to reach the Other Options menu.
5. At Other Options, press 4 to Close Your Account. 

  So, they make it fairly simple.  It’s not like it’s hidden in multiple layers of phone options or anything like that.  I cancel, and the recorded voice informs me that they will send me a refund check within two business cycles–call it 60 days.  I ordered something for my daughter from the internet last week, by the way.  I ordered it after midnight on Wednesday night–effectively Thursday morning.  By Friday, it was at my house.  How long does it take for an automated system to cut an electronically printed check and mechanically send it out with the rest of the mail?  Answer:  60 days, apparently.
  I go and tell Bunny what I did, excited.  She tells me I should not have, that I should call them back and see if I can un-cancel it.  I need a card, I need revolving credit on my credit report.  Fuck me.  It would be better to have that card, which I’ve had since 05, rather than a new card.
  "I don’t wanna," I say, stomping my feet.
  She calmly explains the reasons why, and says I should have talked to her first while she washes my mouth out with soap for using bad language.  "Being a grown up is bullshit," I said.
  "How do you think *I* feel?  I have to babysit you."
  I went back to my desk, wondering how crow is served in India.  I call back and talk to a fine gentlemen named "Patrick."  I doubt his real name has that few syllables.
  He read from the apology script that once a sucker wised up and closed his account, closed was closed.  However, he would be more than happy to put a fresh meat hook in my skin.
  "Not on your fucking life," I said.
  "I understand and apologize sir, but–"
  "You know, I’m going to need a card.  I want my old one.  If you can’t give me my old one, I will go somewhere else for new one.  Not with you."
  "I understand and apologize sir, but–"
  "Time and time again I have come to Cap One trying to get some sort of help, and you have turned me down every single time.  At least I know now that you do not care at all about customer service.  I am so glad to be completely done with you."
  "I under–"  Click.  I was done.
  I still had the card out, having typed the card number into my phone several times for verification.  I reached for my scissors, because scissors are for closure.

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  1. I think I talked to Patrick about my cable bill. There must be a lot of Patricks over there.


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