Bank Card Declined

Cashiers are broke like the rest of us. 
So please, don’t give me attitude when my card is declined.  It also happens to cashiers when they are shopping somewhere outside their comfort zones.  They are cashiers here, but customers with bad credit somewhere else.

My card is declined for a variety of reasons.  Let’s say the item is $22.27 including tax.  I might have $22 in my bank account.  This means the cashier is mad at me for being 27 cents short, only 27!  I know she’s angry because she says, ‘I’m sorry, your card is declined.’

Sorry my foot!  She’s fuming.  She’s looking at the line that is swelling behind me, swelling with rage that this woman cannot manage her finances.  Me!  I’m a pro at cutting and pasting, move a few dollars from this account and paste in another, to keep cell phone and cable people off my back.

Did I say I was a genius?  Maybe not, because my card is declined at the grocery checkout when cut and paste fails, due to let’s say ‘insufficient funds.’ 
Broke.  I think that is what it’s called in plain English.  Cashiers fail to understand that being broke is normal in countries where people cannot go to the bush to pluck some fruits, go fishing in God’s rivers and oceans or trap some rabbits.
We rely on plastic money which is hooked up to anonymous hostile computers.  Can’t these machines overlook a little 27 cents shortfall and approve my card?

Besides, there’s a recession that refuses to go away.  Employers are not replacing laid-off workers.  They just give remaining workers extra helpings.  Prices go up every day. 
Banks have increased their arsenal of love letters full of poison for anybody who cannot maintain a monthly bank balance of $200.  They threaten me that charges will kick in if I fail to do that.  Do you know anybody who has such a monthly balance?  I don’t.

Dear Cashier, you are programmed to say my card has been declined, but lose the first part of your sermon.  Don’t say you’re sorry because you are not. 

I wish I could use cash but I never seem to have it.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.


Popular Posts