Complicating this was the fact that -- in addition to shopping for Gretchen -- I was shopping for myself. I wanted to get a new set of surround speakers for the family room system and move the older surround speakers upstairs to the bedroom to replace the speakers there. Gretchen asked me what I wanted for Christmas and when I said "new surround speakers" she told me that I would have to find those myself, because she was not going to try to pick out speakers that I'd like. Ok, I can understand that.
So the first place I went was Circuit City, because there were some things I was looking to get for Gretchen there as well. But none of the things that I wanted to get for Gretchen were there and the surround systems were acutely badly labeled and connected, so I gave up and headed elsewhere.
However, I was in the same mall with a Home Depot and Gretchen wanted a short green extension cord to connect the bubbler lights with -- to replace the enormous green cord that I'd found in the basement, since that cord was threatening to drag the branch down under its weight. In what probably was not a great surprise, they didn't have one at this late date. But we did need lightbulbs for the house, so I grabbed a four-pack of 60-watt bulbs and decided to try out the self-service checkout. It seemed to work ok and rather than try to figure out how to get it to take cash, I just swiped my Discover card for the stunning total of $1.57. I mean, I wouldn't do this if I was giving money to a human being, but the computer doesn't much care, right?
I stopped at a few more stores as I was driving along and found some things for Gretchen at one of them. No problem, hand over the Discover card, let them swipe it, and hurry on my way.
Then I went to Best Buy. Things were better labeled there, if not better connected, and I found a set of Yamaha surround speakers that I liked where I could buy just a center speaker, two rear speakers, and a subwoofer, since I have two excellent speakers in front already. Better yet, there was a $30 instant rebate on the subwoofer. Of course, they still didn't have the things I was looking to buy for Gretchen, but...
And, of course, the $30 instant rebate wasn't in the computer. I eventually went back and got the sign off of the speakers to show to the woman at the checkout, got my rebate credited, my Discover card swiped, and headed off to the mall across the street.
Having filled the trunk with things for me, it was now time to seriously concentrate on finding the other things that I wanted to get for Gretchen. At one store, the clerk asked if he could see my ID, so I happily produced my driver's license. He commented that his store always asks for ID on credit card purchases and that the only person who'd made a fuss about it this season had been someone using a stolen credit card.
The Discover card made a few more trips out of my wallet before I finally staggered back to the car, tossed the packages into the trunk, and called Gretchen on the cellphone. I asked what she wanted to do for dinner, we couldn't reach any conclusions, so I told her that I would head home and that we'd figure something out then.
I pulled into the driveway and hit the button to open the garage door. At this moment, the phone rang in the house and Gretchen answered it.
"Hello, this is Discover Card Fraud Protection. Have you been using your Discover card this afternoon?"
"Well, I haven't, but my husband has been out Christmas shopping."
"Ah, then I won't tell you where he's been shopping."
"Actually, he just pulled into the driveway. Let me put him on the phone."
I walk in the door.
"You should pick up the phone. Someone from Discover Card wants to speak to you."
Fortunately, all of the purchases on the card were actually mine. They just wanted to make sure that someone else hadn't lifted the card and gone on a shopping spree.
Nope. No one else. Just me.
But I'm done now.