Saturday, February 16, 2008

That's one way to do it, I suppose

I braved the rain and general poor conditions this morning to run an important errand: I went to the bank and deposited the large stack of cash I've been storing next to my computer monitor over the past couple of weeks. Now, "large" is relative in this case: it amounted to about $150. Since half of them were ones, though, the stack was certainly tall.

After depositing the money, I made two more financial actions within five minutes: I used my cell phone to pay my cable/internet bill, and then got some gas at the Wal-Mart gas station. Afterwards, I decided to pick up some lunch, and traveled to Sonic. Before ordering, I wanted to check how much money I had left in my bank account, and so called up the automated service line.

By my mental calculations, I knew there would four pending transactions:
  1. $1.03, for a song I purchased on iTunes yesterday. (The new Counting Crows single, "You Can't Count on Me," which is phenomenal.)
  2. The $154 deposit I just made.
  3. The $149 cable/internet bill.
  4. The $5.32 in gas I just bought. (It would've been $5 flat, but I got distracted for a second and went over. And when gas is pushing two-eighty, the numbers move pretty quickly.)
But the kind robot voice on the telephone told me I had five pending transactions. Puzzled, I asked the computer to list them. The Counting Crows; the deposit; the bill. Then...

"Card transaction -- debit -- $75.00."

What the hell? What seventy-five dollars? But then...

"Card transaction -- credit -- $69.68."

Um, what?

I thought about that for a good three or four minutes before I did the subtraction and realized the difference: $5.32. The amount I paid for gas.

Wal-Mart decided that instead of simply charging me for what I bought, they would take fifteen times as much, then immediately credit back the rest. I can't think of a convincing reason why it should be this way.

Now playing: Van Morrison - Ain't Nothin' You Can Do
via FoxyTunes


  1. Steve8:59 AM

    I have had the same thing happen to me as well. They take a 75 dollar hold on all debit card purchases, then credit the rest back. They do this because a credit card will pay the difference if you go over your limit and you will just have to pay the overage charges, but a debit card is linked to a bank account, and there is no guarantee that the bank will compensate them if you happen to go over the balance of your account.

  2. That...still doesn't really make any sense to me. But I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to whom this has happened.