So yesterday I was doing what I normally do at the end of the month, visiting the bank and then the RiteAid down the street from it to wire money to Thailand for The Charis Home.
I wish I could say it’s the best part of the month but it’s not. This particular RiteAid, chosen entirely for it’s location, close to the bank, on the way to my MIL’s house and open later than any of the other ones, has the slowest, worst customer service I have ever encountered. Even when they aren’t understaffed, which is often, I end up waiting at the customer service desk for at least 10 minutes before they even acknowledge my existence, even if I stare meaningfully at them as they chat in the middle of the aisle right in front of me.
The floor manager is taciturn, defensive, downright rude and usually distracted by any booty hanging out at the ice cream counter. I wish I was exaggerating.
So I sat there, fuming at the wait again and resolved that this would be my last ever visit to this store. Surely there was another Western Union location with a few miles of my house. (It turns out there are 10.)
Unfortunately, consoling myself that I would not wait at this counter ever again was too small a comfort in the wake of what happened next.
You see, I accidentally hit credit instead of debit on the transaction. For some reason it accepted this even though it’s not supposed to and finished the transaction. Only, Western Union won’t send money with a credit card transaction. He had to make a call.
We waited. The girls found a Fancy Nancy book that they just had to have. They pooled their money and waited in another line nearby to buy it.
The manager came back and told me he has to refund the credit transaction and redo it as debit. They can’t let it go through as a credit payment.
The girls got to the counter, only to find that the book they loved and wanted was 4 dollars more than they thought it was. They walked away sad, Little crying quietly into my leg.
Balancing a sad 4 year old, a cranky, teething 9 month old and the card we tried to do the transaction once more as debit. Only, guess what, that money isn’t yet back in the account. It could take 3 whole days for it to clear again so I can send it. He goes to make more calls.
The lady behind them in line comes over to me with the book in a bag. “Here is a present for your little girl,” she says, with a hug. It was such a kind thing to do.
Little is thrilled, she doesn’t even mind as Jellybean pulls her hair as I read it to her. We’ve been there almost an hour now. Several minutes later I’m informed that there is nothing they can do, I’ll need to talk to my bank. There will be no rice money sent today.
We go to the van. I didn’t take the sling because I didn’t expect to be out for so long. Jellybean is hungry and tired and I need to nurse him before tucking him into his car seat or he will wail all the way home.
While I am balancing him on one knee, in the relative privacy of facing my open van door, I just start nursing him when an elderly gentlemen approaches from behind, headed straight toward the exposed parts. “Excuse me ma’am,” his voice is quavering, “could you help me out? I’m trying to buy some food for my wife and I.”
“I’m a little busy right now,” I call over my shoulder, discomfited by all that has come before and trying not to drop the baby or flash him or fall over. “Hold on a second.”
But he only heard the first part and he is walking away. I watch him go, trying to keep an eye on him while I finish nursing and strap Jellybean in. I have $5 in my purse and I drive around the parking lot, circling 3 times, trying to find him in the half light, but he has vanished. I try not to imagine what happens if his story is true and he goes home without anything to eat. We say a prayer for him as we drive home, to our incredibly late dinner and go to bed.
Today I discovered to very useful things. there is another Western Union even closer to my house than that one, so I never need to return to the RiteAid. Second, Western Union will now let me send money online, straight from an account, so I don’t even have to leave the house again. It takes 3 days but if I plan ahead, next month should be easy.
But there is a 3rd and 4th thing that are less exciting. The bank still says the money is not back in the account and there is an email from Chala.
We would like to buy the rice.We have one sack left..no more rice.
The bank also says that if that same store, which I am now getting close to hating, will fax them a letter that they will be able to release the funds within 6 hours. That means calling back and talking to the same manager and entrusting him with all the numbers on the debit card, so not comfortable with that, so he can send the fax for me. Which I have done. Of course, he had to make a few calls first. I’m still waiting for him to call me back it’s been several hours. I’m going to have to order a new credit card in the morning I think.
So now I’m figuring that if we hold off on paying the rent for another day or 2, it’s not overdue until Sunday, we could send money from our family’s personal account to pay for rice and deal with the book keeping nightmare that follows from that.
Which leaves me wishing I’d chosen a different way one month sooner.
I’m doing my best to hold onto the kindness of that one woman who blessed my girls in the middle of all of this. I may be failing on occasion.
But enough about me and the wrinkles I’m failing to smooth out. How was your day? Tell me something unexpectedly kind that happened to you once. You can go ahead and tell me something that went catastrophically wrong as well, since I just burdened you with my tale.
Well, I guess the guy at Rite Aid did send it because the money is back in the account and I’m off to a completely different Western Union location to send the money. Yay! Thanks for all your prayers.