Plastic panic

Tonya Fennell

It’s hard for me to admit, but I’m an addict. No, it’s not drugs, or alcohol or shopping (OK, maybe shopping a little bit) that I can’t live without. It’s my wonderful, handy, quick little debit card that is my true addiction.

I love not having to fumble for cash while balancing a baby on my hip. I love the ease of swiping my card in the self-checkout line. I love just signing my name and knowing it will all be taken care of by my trustworthy bank.
No crinkly, dirty dollar bills, cumbersome change or time-consuming checks for me. Oh no.

I am the princess of plastic. A mom on the move.

Well, that is until this week when I had to break my addiction cold turkey.
My card was denied.
Yes, I said DENIED! Oh, the horror.

It all started on Sunday afternoon when I decided to get a jump start on my week by visiting the ATM to withdraw cash for my son’s school lunches.
“Unable to process transaction” flashed on the screen.

I refused to believe the message. I wiped off my card, reinserted it, double checked my PIN number and tried again.
“Unable to process transaction.”

I figured it was an ATM malfunction, so I headed down the street to try again.
“Unable to process transaction” the screen read again.

OK, now I’m annoyed.
I then tried to use my card for a point of sale transaction at a convenience store.
Denied again.
Now I’m embarrassed and annoyed.

So, I went home to check my balance on the Internet and everything seemed fine. No unknown charges and my balance was exactly where it should be, which meant I had to make the dreaded phone call to customer service. After 15 excruciating minutes on hold I was finally connected to a “banker.”
As soon as I heard her voice I blurted out in a panic, “my card won’t work.”

After a short, uncomfortable silence she informed me the entire bank’s system was down. So, it wasn’t just me, she said, every banking customer was experiencing problems and they were working hard to fix the glitch.
The system was back up by Tuesday and all is right in my world once again.

Tonya Fennell is news coordinator of Cannon Connections. She can be reached by e-mailing: