Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shopping with a J

I always knew work would need their laptop back. I had hoped that it would be after the baby was born, but I kind of knew that was wishful thinking. The timeframe is just too long. The office has expanded, and new people require the equipment. My laptop needs to be updated with some new software so that it can be reassigned and returned back into circulation.

In my absence, I've been using the laptop primarily for school. My schooling is work-related, but not as work-related as actual billable work. Billable work takes precedence. And so, my employer has contacted me and asked for return of the company laptop. It's more than fair. They've actually been really good to let me keep it for this long. It needs to be returned ASAP, as their supplier has had some delivery delays and the situation is fairly desperate. They're good to me. We'll get the laptop back to them right away.

Unfortunately, we now need to make some alternate arrangements for my own sanity. I'm on bed rest, as you all know, so I can't sit up at my primary computer. I can't imagine what I would do with no computer access for the next several months, but the only access I'm permitted consists of using the laptop while lying down. And I can't adequately prepare for my exam with no computer.

H and I discussed it, and we decided that we needed to get a personal-use laptop computer. We'll need one in the next year or so anyway. And for the time being, I desperately need it to preserve my sanity for the next few months. Fortunately, they're on sale right now.

H was outfitted with a list of requirements, straight from the accounting association's website. And after work today, H picked up J from daycare, and off they went to the store to pick out a laptop computer.

They arrived at the store before 6:00. H found a knowledgable staff member to help him. A reasonably priced, appropriately discounted, completely suitable laptop was selected quickly. Score! H and J would be home in plenty of time for dinner, and J would make his regular bedtime.

And then, it was time to pay for our new computer.

H decided to use a credit card.

And that's when the shopping expedition turned. It went something like this:


The security code on the back of a credit card is an added security feature for telephone and online purchases. But the store has a rather silly policy of requiring entry of the security code on the back of the card, even for in-person purchases. Sadly, the code is worn off of the card. So the cashier spends some time unsuccessfully trying to guess it.

After trying to ring it up seven times and receiving seven consecutive "declined" messages, he gives up.

H calls the bank to try to get the code. Runs through a million and one security questions, and eventually gets the code. The bank then advises that all of the "declined" attempts were actually put through as "preauthorized holds" by the bank, and the card is now maxed out. So now, even though H has the security code, he still can't pay for the computer. The bank advises that, unless this is remedied, there will be a hold on our account for 5 business days. That will put us past the "sale" date, will cost us a significant amount of coin, will prevent us from using the card in the interim, and is obviously completely unacceptable.

The store spends the next two plus hours trying to resolve the situation with the bank.

The bank requests a letter on the store's letterhead stating what happened. The store has no letterhead. Will a letter signed by the store manager do? The bank will check and call back. Yes. Yes that will do.

What does the letter need to say? The letter needs to list off the charges and the authorization numbers. But the store has no authorization numbers, since the transactions all showed up as "declined". Will the bank release the numbers to the store? No. The bank will not release the numbers, but requires them nonetheless. The store calls its own bank, hoping to get the authorization numbers. But the store's bank obviously has no authorization numbers, since the transactions were "declined". The store calls our bank again and begs on bended knee. Can our bank, please oh please, just release the numbers? Please? Yes. Yes they will.

The letter is drafted. The letter is faxed. The bank spends about half an hour fixing the problem. The bank calls back. The situation has been remedied. The card will work now.

The laptop is finally paid for.

Throughout this 2-hour ordeal, J behaves like an absolute angel. He drinks some orange juice. He plays with an inactivated debit machine. He plays nicely with some other children. He converses with other customers, and tells them all about his bears, and his rocks, and his racecar bed, and everything else he can think of. He almost makes up for the fact that he "hit his friends" at daycare today, and had to "spend some time thinking about what his hands are for" as a result. *Sigh!*


After the situation was resolved and the computer appropriately paid for, H loaded J back into the van and started to drive home. That's when J decided to be especially entertaining.

J: Look!

H looked back at J. And he saw that J had pulled off his boots and socks, and was now wearing his mittens on his feet - a difficult feat, considering that his mittens are attached to his coat sleeves.

They got home. J trudged right through a puddle and got his pants all wet. He came in, and H promptly removed the wet pants. J ran into the living room to see me.

J: Look! I'm naked!

J had a nice, albeit late, dinner. And he had some chocolate as a reward for being such a good boy at the store. H also bought J a Backyardigans DVD, which he will get to watch tomorrow.

But for now, it is time for J to sleep. It is well past his bedtime.

Night night, little man. Sleep well.

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