I have just returned from the grocery store, a place where I went without my wallet. "Is not a wallet a very important thing to take to the grocery store?" you ask?
"Why yes," I reply.
I was very disappointed with myself, but I came up with a solution used more often than it should be - my emergency cash. I have kept $10 in the car ever since driving to Ohio on Route 80, where unbeknown to me, it becomes a toll road. I was without cash, the ATM at a rest stop was out of money, and I had to request a bill for $3.50 sent to my home from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The emergency cash has been a great solution for similar events, but lately has been used to purchase more Chinese food at non credit card taking shops than I care to admit.
Today, I hoped to buy as a minimum a pound of ground beef and two cans of tomato sauce for a casserole, and if possible, some chicken or beef to toss into my fajita making kit for later in the week. And maybe some peanut butter. Luckily, I was able to get the meat, the sauce, and a can of refried beans - but only if I used the "club card price".
I have a club card.
In my wallet.
And I usually use all fake-ish information on the application, a trick I learned in college when I wished to own the free tee-shirt offered for filling out a credit application, but not the gas card.*
So the point is, that I know the information I put on the application for my card at the grocery store was valid and rememberable - like I probably used my work number. (Ironically, even if the information was true at the time, I have had like five phone numbers in the last eight years as I have moved from place to place. And updating my information on a card that is really only used by The Man to determine how often I buy Colgate brand toothpaste is not high on my priority list each time I move.)
The cashier - who was wearing curlers and looked as though she hadn't showered - asked for my card, and I explained that I did not have it as I entered my work number on the thing and handed her the $10. "It's $14.02," she said. "Do you have your card?"
"I told you, I do not have it, but I entered the number on the keypad," I said. She asked for the number again and re-entered it.
"It's not working," she said. "$14.02 please."
"Look, I need to use the card," I said. "Can you just use the store card?"
"You can fill out an application if you don't have a card," she said.
Ok, breathe. "I have a card," I said, "I just. don't. have it. with me." I tried to be patient. I was beginning to get annoyed, because I could see the freakin' store card right there on the register, and this woman who doesn't care enough about her job to take a gosh darn shower before work won't give me a stupid discount that is actually the true price of the items I wish to purchase.
I was about to get angry when she explained that by giving her fake information on a form I could get items for the price listed on them, when two guys behind me said I could use their cards.
The cashier handed me the change for my $10, and said, "You saved $4.52 on your purchase today, Ms. ah, Marks."
It was on the way home that I realized she was probably dressed in her pajamas for Halloween.
*They are on to this trick, so you have to use information you will remember in case they quiz you. For instance, I lost out on a South Park Frisbee when I was not able to repeat the phone number I had just written on my application. I have since refined my technique and received many free items, but not one of those cards is on my credit report.