Monday, April 30, 2007

Credit Card Connivery and the Wailing Wal-Mart Woman

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually I'm pretty good about it. But a few things have happened recently that are making that hard...

I got into work today with an urgent email from our purchasing department telling me that my Corporate Card had a charge on it that was suspected fraud. The fact that I was suspicious of this email indicates how sensitive we are to fraud and scamming these days. Before I opened the attached form on the email, I looked up the sender to make sure he was a legitimate employee of the giant company that I work for. He was. Then I called into the purchasing/fraud hotline and explained that I didn't make that $100 charge to the North Texas Food Bank's website. The phone rep told me that I was the third person today who she'd taken a call about a fraudulent charge with that merchant. It was only 8 a.m. when I called her.

I checked it out, and the Food Bank's website looks legit. I imagine it's a real charity. Which means some bastard is out there with a list of credit card numbers testing them out on the charity's website. Now, I know how websites work. This Food Bank's Website is probably spitting out really positive looking reports on all of the donations coming in from the online store. The people who run the site are likely pumped up by the recent activity they're seeing. But soon they'll see that these cards are declining the purchase (at least mine was declined) and they aren't really getting that money. It's sad... Getting the hopes up of an honorable charity, only to see if a credit card is valid and can be used for other purposes.

Here's another incident where I didn't give someone the benefit of the doubt. I was at Wal-Mart yesterday. Anyone who knows me, understands that I think Wal-Mart is one of the deepest levels of Hell, especially on a Sunday afternoon. I was outside in the gardening area with Bumblebee. We were picking out annuals to plant in our planters. All of a sudden I heard a shriek. I turned around to see a woman sprawled out on the ground in the parking lot. My initial thought was that she was hit by a car, but after I watched the scene a bit, it appeared that she just fell and twisted her ankle. Now, I know it hurts to twist an ankle, and maybe she did more damage than just twisting it. She was a very, very large woman, so I think the possibility of a fracture or something is fairly real. However... She was wailing louder than I did while in transition labor with my kids! She was honestly screaming at the top of her lungs. For several minutes. The woman who had the misfortune of walking by her at the time of her fall kept saying, "Ma'am, MA'AM! What happened? How can we help you?" By this time a crowd of people was hanging around, and someone went in to tell the Wal-Mart employees what happened.

I was standing near the makeshift outdoor register where these two employees were talking to each other. After they were told what happened, their conversation went something like this:

"What should we do?"
"Hell, I don't know."
"Should we call Doug?" (who I'm assuming is the manager)
"He's over helping out electronics."
"Oh. Well, she looks fine."

She did NOT look fine. She was still writhing on the ground. But her screams were moans now. Moans that could be heard from 100 feet away, but still moans nonetheless. She did have a small crowd attending to her by this time.

Bumblebee watched all of this with intense interest. "She's crying a lot, Mommy. And she's a GROWNUP."

The woman was carrying on like nothing I'd ever seen. If she'd have maintained a lower profile or at least let up on the screaming and moaning, I'd have been more concerned for her welfare. Someone helped her into a car and drove her somewhere, and that's the last I saw of her. But I imagine Wal-Mart will be getting sued for something or other. True, they had ridiculously apathetic employees who didn't help out this customer, but the parking lot was clear, clean, and unobstructed.

The woman did look to be in a great amount of pain. So why did I instantly think that she was out to make a buck? I'm not normally a cynical person, so it sort of depresses me that I jumped to that conclusion. I think it was because she was yelling her fool head off instead of dealing with her pain quietly.

I mean, c'mon... Why would you want to draw more attention to yourself after a fall like that? When I fell down the stairs in our parking garage a few months ago (yeah, I'm clumsy. So what?), I tried to act like I wasn't hurt. Unfortunately, the bleeding head wound I received when my forehead smacked a concrete stair was too conspicuous to allow me to jump up and act like things were peachy. So I quietly sat down and accepted help. I wonder what would have happened if I'd have screamed myself hoarse instead.

So are people just crummy? Or are these two totally random incidents? I prefer to believe that they're random, that people are generally good, and not out to screw someone out of their cash.


WebGal said...

I would have had the same reaction as you at Wal-mart. Seems a little fishy that she would make such a huge deal.

I'd like to think that most people are decent, and maybe the crummy ones just are so crummy that it seems like lots of people are crummy because we notice that more than people being decent.

Mom In Scrubs said...

I'm with you - I tend to think the worst...which is funny because I am a nurse. Maybe I think I have a better perspective on real pain vs. a big show. We see these people in the lab all the time: screaming like you're shoving bamboo slivers under their fingernails when the rest of us just grit our teeth and know it could be worse.

I suppose I would have called 911. Then if there was really a problem she would get help, and if it was a farce, it might have tought her a lesson. Who knows.

Oh and the thing about the credit card and the charity is just sick; unfortunately it sounds like it's also becoming common.

Hope you have a better week!

Prairie Chicken said...