Saturday, March 22, 2014

How I stole a stick of gum

The nightmare that is a "quick" grocery run around here: I was getting used to using my (U.S.) Visa debit card for purchases at the new shopping mall. I don't usually withdraw cash because I get charged a commission, and Andrei isn't always around for cash emergencies, so it's nice to be able to use my card. Even with cash withdrawal, there can be problems like bills too big to use in public transportation.

So I got my groceries, got everything scanned, and then entered my PIN when prompted. It's always a nerve-wracking moment because my card doesn't "work" in every store. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. In this particular store it had never failed, and I've been going there at least 1-2x per week. So I asked the cashier to try it again. Nope. It was "not connecting" with my bank. My card had JUST worked in this store a few days ago. So I stood my ground as another employee came over for back up. I asked them what the problem could be in this case. They pleaded ignorance. "It's just not connecting. Might be the Internet connection." Ummm, okay. There was a line behind me.

I gestured at the ATM about 10 meters away and asked if I could just go withdraw some cash quickly.

"Doesn't work."

"Where's the nearest ATM?"

 "Something something. No, that one's out of order. Something something."

"Across the street?"

"No, right here in the shopping center." I handed over my unpaid-for groceries and took off in search of cash.

The group of ATMs were all out of order. I went up and down the escalator twice and asked an employee at another store. Wild goose chase. There was no working ATM in the building. Coincidentally, no ATMs were working at the same time that my card was "not connecting." Hmmm....

The ATM the cashier had mentioned was across the street, I determined finally.

I ran across the street, got the cash, ran back to the store, and had to wait in line and then scan all the prices again. As I waited in line I heard the cashier saying "cash only" to the other customers. Then she thanked me for waiting and mentioned that none of the card readers were current working.

On my way up the escalator again, I remembered the stick of gum in my coat pocket. When they check you out, they hand you things like gum or cough drops right away to put in your purse. When I was checking out the first time, the cashier had handed it to me and I'd put it in my pocket. It had been there all that time and hadn't been rescanned, so I didn't pay for it. I headed back down the escalator to go tell the cashier. As I was riding, I thought about the line and about Andrei needing to leave for work and about what it would take to get back into the store with my purchases. I went back up the escalator again and left for home.

So what do I do with this stolen stick of gum?


  1. Hm....give it to the poor?

    Remembering the way Russians tend to get peeved at "out of the ordinary" situations, I feel that attempting to pay for it next time you are there, might not go over so well.

  2. It would have to have been immediate or nothing, I think. Although it did cross my mind to just sneak it back onto the rack the next time I'm there, LOL.

  3. Would have had to have been? Hmmm....

  4. This post made me laugh..poor you! It's hassle enough getting the shopping done without this kind of added stress! Not sure what I would was their fault but it still might keep me up at night until I resolved it, lol.

    Oh, saw your comment on my blog - I'm so close but no baby yet! Joshua came right on the due date so I will be very surprised if the 30th comes and goes and there is no baby appearing...and extremely impatient :)

    1. I have to admit, I haven't thought about it much. If I were babyless and in my own country I might do something but I'd better not experiment here.

  5. Also, do you use facebook? I set up a page for my blog and it would be nice to connect on there, unless you like to keep your account private.

    1. Okay, I "liked" your page so I guess you can find me there!


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