Had a bit of a problem today.
My job sometimes takes me away from New York and into the CVS and Walmart wonderlands AKA New Jersey and Long Island. One Vanilla cards are still plentiful here, and you rarely hear these nasty two words Cash Only. And while there are always some problems with money kiosks at Walmart — they either don’t work, or don’t work the way they are supposed to — I have never had anyone tell me they didn’t like my tender. Not once!
My visits have become a ritual of a sort. After I’m done with work I drive to the nearest CVS (7 minutes), buy One Vanilla (5-10 minutes), drive to Walmart (13 minutes), load BB and buy money orders (10-20 minutes), drive toward NJ Turnpike (3 minutes) and get on my merry way home. If I’m lucky, I’ve spent an extra 35 minutes to process $3,000, if not, about 50 minutes. That’s not as good as what we had with Vanilla Reload, but, well, nothing is!
Today I decided to change the routine. And was punished by the Gods of Almighty Routine almost immediately. In my quest to find the store with a fully functioning goddamn Money Center, I decided to try another Walmart. I calculated that by doing all my transactions within the kiosk, I could cut even my good time by half, at least.
Well, it was not meant to be!
The kiosk wasn’t working, but that was not even the worst thing that could and did happen.
Right after I loaded my BB at the Customer Service and finished swiping my OV cards to buy money orders, the internet died. The system went down, and my hopes to speedily get the hell out of there and onto the turnpike and on my way home died with it. The printer spat out an error. I got stuck.
This is what happens at Walmart when something unexpected happens. No one has any idea what to do. They are good and well-meaning people, but they don’t know squat.
The manager came over and asked me if my money had been taken from my OV account. I showed her the receipt that said that all the transactions had been successful. She asked me to call. I did, and of course, the money was gone from my account. She nodded and said we’d figure something out. I was touched she trusted my word on it. Very nice, yet so clueless.
Another manager came over and told me to go home. Huh? Yes, she said, the transaction had been voided and the money would be returned back to my account within 24 hours. I told her — jokingly, of course — that for $2,000 I would spend the next 24 hours right there with them. We laughed in good humor, but I had never been more serious about anything in my life. Well, maybe I have but I don’t remember.
Then a miracle happened.
A young girl came over and told both managers what needed to be done.
I was watching her work in awe, I must admit.
She quickly printed two money orders and voided them. Then she got back to the screen that still had $2,000 on it and printed the new ones. Everything took about two minutes. The managers were looking at one another. They had no idea what she was doing, and it showed. Can anyone in the know tell me what the hell happened and how she managed to fix the whole thing?
Anyway, five minutes later (and more than an hour after the beginning of the ordeal), I was on my way.
I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but I hate it when this hobby takes a lot of my time. It mustn’t. There are too many things in life worthier than Walmart-hopping. Pretty much, most all of them.
So what was I talking about? Oh yes! Stick to your routine for as long as you can. There is no reason to fix stuff that ain’t broken. Sometimes, even when it’s broken, too.
Like goddamn Money Centers that won’t work!