Monday, November 9, 2009

Not All New Experiences Are Good Ones

So, have you ever had a situation where you were afraid you'd lost your wallet? I have. Too many times to count.

Sometimes, I've put my wallet into the bag of groceries and only find it once I get home and have unpacked all the frozen peas and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups broccoli.

Sometimes, I figure out that I've never even brought it with me at all in the first place. It's sitting at home, happily perched next to my computer, waiting for me to finish balancing the checkbook.

Sometimes, I leave it at the checkout line by accident. This also happens with my groceries. It seems that trying to pay for groceries, keep an eye on my children, and leave without them licking any candy that I will have to pay for, requires just TOO many brain cells. I either forget my wallet, or the groceries, or my child.

BUT TODAY, ah yes, today was a special day. Today I shopped at Wal-Mart, and left my wallet at the counter, next to the credit-card-swipey-thingie. Of course I didn't realize this until I got to the next store to buy bubbles for Sally. She must have BUBBLES. RIGHT NOW. TO PLAY WITH. All I heard from 10:35 until 10:47 was "BUBBLES MAMA. BUBBLES. BUBBLES. I BUBBLES. SALLY BUBBLES. BUBBLES. BUBBLES!!!!!!" Thankfully I had some loose cash in the bottom of my purse so I just paid for the bubbles and went home to unload the 2 cartons of ice cream chicken breasts into the fridge.

I went through all the shopping bags - no wallet. I began to panic, thinking about all that could happen if I don't find my wallet. But then I calmed myself. I'd always found my wallet in the past. Every single time, it was simply a case of me putting it somewhere I couldn't remember. So I went back out the the minivan (a.k.a. the Silver Bullet) and searched: under the seats, next to the baby's car seat, in the crevices, in the little nooks and crannies. No luck.

SO... back to Wal-Mart I went. I immediately asked the cashier, "Did you find a wallet? I think I left mine here." By the way, I had initially checked out at 10:15 am. It was now 11:00 am. "Yes I thought so. A woman came through the line after you, and I saw a wallet that I thought was yours. But I asked her, 'Is that your wallet?' And she answered, 'Yes.' So I thought it was hers after all."


Now, I can not and would never blame that cashier. It was *I* who left my wallet. And even if she really did think the wallet was mine, not this other lady's, what was she going to do? Say, "Oh no that ISN'T your wallet! Prove it!" But, still, it sucks to be me.

Immediately I got the security people to check the surveillance cameras, and sure 'nuf, the woman not right after me, but after her, claimed my wallet as her own. By 11:09, she'd charged $125 at Bath & Body Works. By 11:25, another $100 at Famous Footwear. By 11:45, another charge at Macy's for $110, plus two charges that had been declined at Macy's for $185 and $80. Of course, I didn't find out any of this until I began calling all my credit card companies. WHAT a pain in the butt.

So, the thing that pisses me off the most about this whole situation is that the stores where the charges were made, in lightning speed, must have not checked this person's ID. I say this, because Wal-Mart told me that they have the person on video who claimed my wallet as her own. They can't release the video to me, but will be happy to give it directly to the police after I've filed a report. But, the really annoying part is this: The woman was a different race than me. There is NO way she could have passed for me. So, obviously, these stores are NOT checking ID with credit card purchases, no matter how much they lie try to convince me that they are.

Texan Papa had to take a half-day off of work to help me sort all this out. In the end, we think we've covered all our bases. We canceled all our credit cards. We closed our bank accounts and opened new ones. We called the 3 credit reporting bureaus and put a fraud alert on my social security number. But there are so many loose ends that need tying up which are a huge inconvenience. Like, now we need to get new Six Flags season passes. I need to get a new CVS card so I can keep getting my EXTRA CARE BUCKS (Booyah!). As a matter of fact, my Kroger and Tom Thumb grocery cards were in there so I guess any rewards I've earned are down the toilet too. My Sam's Club Card was in there. My library card. My social security card. My punch card for a local resale store. My medical insurance, dental insurance, and medical lab cards were all in there.

One saving grace: I took my 4-gig memory card to Target on Saturday night to print off some photos. Sally ended up pilfering through my wallet and took it out, so I got it out of her hands and tucked it away in my pocket. If she hadn't pulled my photo card out of my wallet, and I hadn't taken it from her, the card would still be in my wallet and all the non-downloaded photos on that card would have been lost forever.

Oh, one more thing that's a silver lining: I literally had about 17 cents in there. See? Sometimes it pays to not carry a big wad of cash, like Dave Ramsey says. Because, Visa loves me and wants to comfort me in my time of distress with the guarantee that I won't be responsible for fraudulent charges.

I have to put in one more little dig. When I filed a police report, the officer told me that they'd have to file it as a "lost wallet," not stolen, because I'd left my wallet on the counter all by myself. I was like, WHAT. THE. HELL. I told her, "But my credit and debit cards were STOLEN. They were used FRAUDULENTLY. So, maybe my wallet was lost but the contents were stolen!" All she could offer was, "Yeah... I know. I'm going to put on here that you want to prosecute. I'm going to put on here that Wal-Mart has the suspect on video. But I can't guarantee when or if your case will be dealt with. I don't know who will get this case and what their caseload will be. If it's really busy, it might not be dealt with at all." AW, HEY-ELL NO. I *AM* going to fight city hall on that one.

So, now I'm thinking of getting one of these.
chain wallet picture from

Or these.
fanny pack photo from

Maybe it wouldn't be too bad if I pimped it out with some rhinestones???


A Lil Enchanted said...

Oh No!!! And just when you were thinking about using cash instead of your credit cards. I guess that's one upside to using the cards. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I lost my purse right after Steffie was born... stupid me sat it down beside the car to put her in her seat and drove off and left it. I never got it back but thankfully none of my cards were used. It's such a hassle to deal with losing your important documents.

I hope they deal with your case quickly... they prosecute these all the time here... and even put the videos on the local news!

I hope tomorrow is a better day for you. I left you an award over on my blog... hope it cheers you up a lil :)

A Lil Enchanted,

J said...

Ugh, I am so sorry - I have had similar theft happen & it is no fun!!

The most dangerous is the social security card. Years back, I put mine & my husbands in our safe at home so they couldn't be stolen. In all that time, there has never been an instance where we've needed the actual card for anything. It turns out that most things that would require the card will let you know ahead of time, and the rest of the time you only need the number, which we have memorized, so we never need the actual card. You might consider leaving the card at home in the future...just in case?

Missy said...

Ick! What a pain in the behind for you.
I cannot believe the nerve of some people.

I never sign the back of my credit cards anymore. I always write on there "see ID" so that the cashiers are then forced to ask me for my ID.

I hope you are able to get it all straightened out.

Mama B said...

Thank goodness you weren't carrying cash! We had someone swipe my husband bank card somehow from a gas pump, it totally sucks, I know how your feeling! Hopefully you can get everything settled swiftly!

Karen said...

Oh no! I hope that woman gets in big trouble for messin' with Texan Mama.

Anna See said...

Oh No! I hate that you are going through this. What a huge pain, especially right before the baby's due. I am so sorry....

Jennifer said...

You would look totally sexy with one of those.

I really just don't get people. I work for a company that operates group homes for the metally retarded. This morning one of the directors came in and said a bunch of the grocercies are missing, which means an employee stole them. But we have no way of determining which one it was at this point. People really suck.

Also, I hardly ever take my wallet out of my purse. I just take whichever card I need out and keep it in my pocket. At least that way if I lose it or whatever it is only the one card.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

That totally SUCKS! I cannot believe someone did that---it just kills me there are people that way.
You can't really blame the cashier at Wal-Mart. I would have done the same thing--that naive thought that 'why one earth would she say it was her wallet when it wasn't?' Guess I need to drop that train of thought :(
You should get all the money back and maybe you could see if Six Flags will help you out. I'd go after her too!
I would be most worried about the SS card. I don't carry mine for fear of someone using it. I am glad you got a watch on it! Hopefully she is too dumb to steal an identity! (And I bet she was ugly too!!!!)
On forgetting groceries--my mom did that at least once a month while I was growing up--serious ADD ;)

Karly said...

Dude that would suck! I can't believe the police might not go after that lady! That's nuts!

And, uh, do you not carry a purse? Because, rather than a chain hanging from your belt loop, I'd recommend a purse.

Foursons said...

Wow- sounds like good times you have had there! I left my wallet in the cart once and thankfully I noticed before I backed out of the parking lot. I ran to the cart return and thank goodness it was still there!

Someone Being Me said...

I read this post an hour ago and I am still angry. What kind of person claims someone else's wallet and then goes on an immediate shopping spree on it? I bet this wasn't her first time. Ugh. I hope karma bites her in the butt.