Consider the odds

This summer, our bank was purchased by a credit card company (cue annoying commercial of vikings obliterating flat screens and clubbing their food). And about 2 months ago, our new bank issued new debit cards.

Using my time-honored filing system, I promptly buried the cards beneath a stack of pizza coupons, bills, magazines and medical forms. I unearthed them two nights ago and only yesterday, called to activate them.

Now, what do you think the chances would be that Martin would be shopping — at the same moment –that I activated his new card? Martin, the cargo pants-clad homebody, who barely ventures down the drive. What are the odds that he’d be swiping his old card at the very moment I rendered it obsolete?

Pretty good, actually.

Just as I keyed in his personal info and peeled off the activation sticker, Martin was at the grocery store…already feeling a bit felonious after flashing his ID to buy decongestant at the pharmacy counter… when he swiped his card a second time at check-out.

Instantly, an error message appeared — some kind of acronym that tells the grocery store clerk “Warning! Criminal in your midst!” At least that’s the look he flashed Martin, who stood there blankly holding his ATM card. When Martin swiped it again and the machine reguritated another failure message, the clerk mumbled something about the manager, backed away slowly, then bolted from his post.

The shopper behind Martin — of redneck persuasion — also assumed the worst. But at least he was helpful. “You still got yer card,” he said. “Just go…git outta here.”

Martin dug out an alternate credit card and discovered that it expired last month. (Oh yea, I later confirmed. I forgot that new card came a couple weeks ago. It’s somewhere on my desk…)  Thankfully, Martin had one other credit card that he hadn’t yet canceled.

So happy news, the kids got dinner after all.

And I was in the doghouse. But after profuse apologies and a cocktail, all was forgiven.

…until the next time that Martin tries to pay with a check. When we were running low on checks, I ordered more online and accidentally took his name off of them.