Tuesday, July 03, 2007

the indignities of (middle) age

I went to a new(ish) little farmer's market today and it was lovely. But getting there, well, that's another story.

I had given my last $10 to Mariah so she could take Nick to the movies (more on that in a later post) and figured I'd just hit up a cash machine before I got to the market. Stopped at the first one on the way and--no dice. "Your transaction has been denied. Contact your financial institution."

This happened on our trip two weeks ago and I figured it was because I forgot my PIN. That is, I forgot the order of the numbers in my PIN. I know it, sort of, but sometimes it takes me a couple of tries to get the numbers in the right order. Fine.

After three tries I figured maybe the ATM was locking me out, so I went in search of another one. (Hope springs eternal...) I got to the next one I remembered, a little closer to the market--and the ATM was out of order. Fine, again.

This time I headed away from the market, towards a reliable ATM, one that I use all the time, one that always has money for me. But when I got to the parking lot I thought maybe I should, well, you know, contact my financial institution. Since that's what the machine told me to do and all.

So I called the number on my ATM card and started moving through the voice menu. Luckily many of the choices include "I forgot..." "I forgot my account number," "I forgot my member number," etc. The automated voice was remarkably forgiving.

"That's OK," she would say, "I"ll just need to get another piece of information from you."

Luckily I could remember my zip code, my husband's birthday, and my social security number. But at this point the voice system broke down anyway, because "change my PIN" didn't work for me. (I think you're actually supposed to know your old PIN. But if you did, why would you want to change it?)

It might be worth noting at this point that I have long had a terrible memory. Because of my terrible memory, I have many passwords and PINs logged into my palm pilot. Alas, I stopped carrying my palm pilot recently because it's very hard for me to read the entries in it without reading glasses. (Encroaching age, weakening vision. Let's not talk about memory.)

So, to recap: I'm still in the parking lot, talking to the machine that won't let me change my PIN. At this point I have a breakthrough, and say to the machine "talk to an agent," although it has not yet offered me this option. I am almost immediately connected to a human being who verifies that, yes, I am locked out of the ATM system because of multiple log-in efforts. "Did you forget your PIN?" he says. He is not amused by my total failure to recall even setting a "voice password," let alone remember the password, though he does ask for different information that I am in fact able to provide. He fails to agree with me that remembering the numbers out of order is not the same as forgetting the PIN, but he does help me reset the PIN to something I (think I) can remember. Half an hour after my trip to the market began, I was on my way again with money in my wallet and only a little bit of humiliation to temper my pleasure at the lovely vegetables.

1 comment:

Heather said...


hope you had a lovely 4th