I was working down in beautiful downtown Santa Ana yesterday, and my route home took me right past The Commerce. I’m weak: I stopped in to play some poker.
First stop: the ATM to take out my standard $100 buy-in. That was literally my first stop, and it was a full stop: I got no cash. Instead, I got an error message about an “Invalid Transaction”. Since taking cash out of my bank account is, in my opinion, the most valid of transactions, I immediately identified this as a problem. I tried again — because I’m human and stupid and like most people will press an already-lit elevator button or repeat an “invalid transaction” — and amazingly got the same error.
I knew that, technically, this had to be a bank problem, but realistically it was my problem. The bank still had access to my money while I did not. Ergo: my problem. I figured I knew exactly what the problem was, too.
I have two checking accounts: mine for just me, and a joint account with Beth. Each of those accounts has an ATM card; I carry the one for my personal checking account and Beth carries the joint one. But Beth lost hers recently. (And she’ll try to tell you that I lost it when she loaned it to me but this is my blog and I’m telling the story so she’s lying, okay?) So I called the bank to have that card reissued. That was the problem.
When I talked to the dumber-than-fuck customer support drone on the phone, I explained in excrutiating detail exactly what the situation was: two accounts in my name, two ATM cards, one missing, whose card was whose, which card was missing, which card needed replacing, and I was very very very very very very very very very clear about which card did not need replacing: mine.
“Replace my wife’s card,” I said several times.
“Do not replace my card, I’m holding it in my hands right now,” I said several times.
“The card that’s linked to my personal account is just fine, don’t cancel it,” I said several times.
“You’re not going to cancel my card, right?” I asked several times.
So of course the numb cunt cancelled my card.
Beth’s card — the missing card? Still active. Also: still lost. Morons.
So I was stymied at the casino ATM. The one place in the whole casino where I’m guaranteed to win, and I lose. Fuck.
So I whipped out my Visa card. Hey, I had already pulled off the freeway, found a parking space, and set foot in the casino — I wasn’t about to waste all that effort. So I whipped out my credit card to take cash on that, stuck it in the ATM machine … and realized I didn’t know the PIN.
I called the credit card customer service, who couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t do much for me. They offered to mail me a new PIN and didn’t seem to grasp the obviousness of the phrase “That’s not going to help me right now, is it?”
But all hope was not lost. I was at a casino, where they are experts at extracting cash. And sure enough, they had a procedure I could follow that would allow me to get a C-note out of my credit card — and it was only going to cost me $12 to do it! So I did all the little card-swipey button-pushy firstborn-pledgy things the credit card machine asked, and then got a message that said to go get my money from the cashier.
The cashier took my ID and my credit card and worked her magic juju on her computer and then she came back to me. Without cash.
“I need your signature on the card,” she said.
Fuck. I don’t sign my credit cards. Instead, I write “Ask for ID.” That way, in theory, any time the card is used ID has to be verified and someone who steals my card can’t use it. But that’s theory. In practice, most stores never even glance at the back of the card, let alone ask to see my ID when they do. But still: I don’t sign my cards. Period. Mine says “Ask for ID.” She had my ID. With my signature on it. Good enough.
Not good enough. She positively absolutely had to have my signature on my card to give me any cash. So I caved and signed it. And of course the pen I used was A) a fine point that will hardly write on plastic in the first place, and B) was running out of ink. So my “signature” (written over “Ask for ID” written in Sharpie) was essentially illegible.
She couldn’t accept that signature even though she watched me do it. She had to check with her supervisor. She had to join the growing list of people who were pissing me off by restricting my access to my money when I had a poker jones on.
But I remained pleasant. I kept smiling and joking. Because the whole ridiculousness of the situation was inescapable. The Fates or the Poker Gods or Bank of America was sending me a big-ass signal: No Gambling For You Tonight. So I had to laugh about it.
As I stood there waiting for the supervisor to come back and deny my request to have some of my money, I figured the whole thing for a sign and decided the supervisor would be the last word. If she said no, then the powers that be really were telling me to go home. Then the teller came back and basically said the same thing: “This is like that Jeff Foxworthy line: here’s your sign. So if she (the supervisor) says no, I think that’s your sign and you should go home.” And that clinched it that, yes, this was a sign.
Then the supervisor walked up and gave me a sign: a $100 stack of chips. I was in!
It only took me 20 minutes to lose it all.
I took it as a sign. I gave up and went home.