Supermarket Sweep

Declined. This is a word I haven’t heard since college. Back then if you were breathing you could get approved for a credit card. Companies set up tables in the university dining hall and lured you in by giving away free water bottles and key chains. A few weeks later a credit card came in mail. A few days later the card was maxed out.

Now, I am a responsible adult with children and a job. Yes, I am a working mother. I don’t work full-time, but I do clock in so my family doesn’t have to live with the Boxcar Children.

My husband sent me a list of groceries we needed at the store. I guess he figured I needed to practice in case I was ever a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. Oh yeah, that show was cancelled. He was just being lazy.

As I loaded the items on the belt I heard the cashier sigh in disgust. She was either used to manning the register in the express lane or a spoiled rich kid forced to work as punishment. It seemed like an eternity for her to scan my groceries and load them in my cart. The line behind me was growing. I swiped my card with the I’m Pissed Off attitude. The cashier flipped her hair, smirked and said, “It says declined.” I demanded she run the card again. “Declined,” she said nearly singing the last syllable.

I was red faced and sweating more than Chaz Bono at Old Country Buffet. “Yeah okay Ma’am you either have to put the food back or go to customer service.” I was breathing heavy. “This is a mistake. I can afford my food!” I felt like a criminal declaring his innocence to police. She mumbled under her breath, “Sure you can.” It turned out the bank put a fraud alert on my card and didn’t bother to notify me. I was humiliated by a teenager and didn’t have a free gift to ease my pain.

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