Saturday, February 12, 2005

I should never be allowed to handle money again

Yesterday morning I got the kids up and off to school. Since I don't watch Chandler on Fridays, I decided I was going to just hang out in my pj's, reading and maybe taking a nap. Sis and I had tossed around the possibility of going to Joplin the day before, but didn't really think it'd happen. I had just settled into my chair at 7:45 with a Louis Grizzard book when the phone rang. It was Sis saying she could go to Joplin. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to go, but man did that chair feel good... so I dragged myself up and slugged down the hall to take a shower. Kady didn't want her hair fixed, didn't want earrings in, didn't want to wear what I laid out, so we were later getting out the door than I had intended, but we made it. I picked up Sis, TotTwo and her babysittin' baby and off we headed to Miami to get cash before we headed to the Joplin.

At the bank, I wrote a check for cash, handed it to the teller who said, "Do you know what the balance is in your account?" My heart did a little flip flop and I said, "It'd better be somewhere around $600." She shook her head and said, "No...it's in the negative." With strength comparable to what it takes to not take the last Oreo in the package, I kept the tears at bay while I told her that my husband was supposed to have made a night deposit before he went to work that morning, somewhere around 6:30am. Nope. She offered to let me use my overdraft protection and go ahead and get the cash, but I declined since I knew that that overdraft protection thing was nearly worn out on my account as of late.

Here's the story:
At the end of January I made a cash deposit of $600 for our truck payment. I didn't fill out a deposit slip because I didn't have any, but seeing as how I know all the tellers and babysit for one of the managers or whatever she is, I am like Norm from Cheers when I walk in. (Okay, I'm sure that everyone that banks at that oh so friendly bank feel that way - the girls make a huge effort to make you feel loved as you give them your money) Anyway, she just said she'd look me up by my SSN. Well, I have 2 accounts there. One is my old Pampered Chef account and hasn't been used in nearly 3 years and has a balance of $4.88. The other is our regular household account that we use too much. Guess where she put the $600. Yep, the wrong one.

NOW...had I been a good customer, responsible adult, I:
1.Would have filled out a deposit slip myself
2.Would have checked my receipt when she handed it to me.
3.Would have opened the freaking bank statement when I got it, thus allowing me to find this mistake a full week earlier than I did.

But people, we all know that I'm a dipshit and these things didn't happen.

What happens is that I get a notice in the mail of an overdraft. I grab the checkbook, everything's in order, the only thing I can figure is that a deposit was made just shortly after a check came through and that made it overdraw. I figured okay, no big, pay the $17.43 and go on. The next day - two more overdrafts. I called the automated phone line thing that could also qualify as pilates and cardio for your fingers and OH MY GOSH that $600 was not there!!!

Now, in my mind I knew I'd made the deposit. I never go in the lobby, usually I hit the drivethru, but that day I had $600 in twenties and Paul was with me, so I went inside. I visited with the teller a bit, looked at a whole roll of pictures of her new baby, etc. I KNEW I'd made that deposit. I tore my van apart looking for a receipt, which again is a testament to my irresponsibility, that was nowhere to be found. I dug through my trashcan which made me gag. I was crying. I was sweating. I was cussing. It was not pretty. So when Jill came to pick up Chandler and found her babysitter in a state of obvious mental duress, she asked what was wrong. Immediately she knew what had happened and told me how to fix it. She's a manager or some big muckity muck at that bank. I called the bank and got a service center in Tulsa. The woman was less than nice, but said she'd transfer the money right then. I asked about getting the NSF fees taken off since it wasn't my fault the money went into the wrong account. She explained that it was indeed my fault because I didn't check my receipt, etc, but I was more than welcome to speak with someone from my branch. Well, the chick that I needed to talk to was busy and the teller took my number and said she'd call back. I waited an hour and no call. Then life went on. We had slumber parties all weekend and being the irresponsible dipshit I am, I kinda forgot.

Come Monday morning we've accumulated 7 overdrafts and two checks have been returned, unbeknownst to me. But Jill asks out of sheer politleness... when I tell her that I was never called back she said, "Oh that's not right - I'll get you some of those NSF fees back when I get to work." Groovy - thank you Jill! Well later in the day I happen to call the bank's automated line again and then discover that the heifer at the service center NEVER TRANSFERRED THAT $600. I called Jill immediately and she said, "Oh now you are SO getting every fee refunded!" Then when I told her that one of the checks that was returned was to Wal-Mart where my husband is employed and if we write bad checks to them they FIRE HIM. She refunded me over $100 in NSF fees, wrote a letter to Wal-Mart explaining the whole deal and then extolled the virtues of checking your receipt which I WILL NOW DO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I SOLEMNLY SWEAR.

But then on Thursday I tried to write a check to Wal-Mart and they declined my check. While I was standing in an express lane. With two kids who were hungry. With only $20 in my pocket. I had to have the cashier call my husband in the breakroom who mumbled an expletive into the phone and said he'd be up there as quick as he could. It was even more embarrassing when she said, "Hoover? Paul Hoover? Works in Automotive? I KNOW him!" Yeah, great. Glad you do. Meanwhile the line was growing behind me, full of people who were shifting from foot to foot, sighing loudly and rolling their eyes. If I hadn't been so mortified I'd have been a real bitch and said something, but as it was, I just stood there blinking back tears. Turns out he had forgotten to bring the letter from the bank to work with him that day.

(Sidenote: Two irresponsible people should never marry and have a bank account together.)

Then yesterday I got the whole negative balance again. I stormed out to my van, grabbed my cell phone and wasn't even nice when I said called the store and said, "Let me talk to Paul." I wasn't very nice to him either. He said, "Oh. I thought I'd just make that deposit after work." I yelled. I cussed. I made the kids' ears bleed with all the profanity escaping my mouth. So then I had to go to Wal-Mart, pick up the deposit and take it back to the bank and FINALLY get my money. What happened was an automatic debit came through in the midst of all the overdraftednes and I'd forgotten about it (which I normally NEVER do)and it threw us into the red again. But I made the deposit, checked to make sure the balance was positive again and finally got my cash to go to Joplin. All that for $25 in cash. Holy shit.

Add all that drama onto the fact that we are $672 over on our cash flow plan and it's been a financially horrendous week. I just wish I was luckier at the casinos. Man, wouldn't it be nice to put in $10 of their money on Ladies' Night, hit a $52,000 jackpot and live happily ever after? Hey, it's happened so I can continue to dream.

In the meantime, I'll just make sure I check my receipt at the bank. Several times. Over and over. With a magnifying glass. And a notary public.

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