How I lost my ATM card

I almost panicked when I realised it was gone.

I called the store where I had used my ATM card barely 20 minutes earlier but it hadn’t been handed in, nor could anyone find it where I figured I must have left it. I felt physically ill at the thought that perhaps someone had seen me punch in my PIN and leave my debit card behind and had hurried off to the nearest ATM to clear out my account. Then I remembered that there was barely anything in that account and any would-be thief would be sorely disappointed at their efforts.

After roughly another ten minutes and about one thousand questions while on the phone with the bank, my card had been canceled.

So, how did this happen? Funny story really….

I have taken to using the self-checkout option in the supermarket, I like getting to zap my products through the machine. I find that it is often a faster way of leaving the supermarket if you are only purchasing a few items. There is also an added bonus of not having to make the same mindless smalltalk with the bored-out-of-her-brain checkout chick who would rather be anywhere else than strapped to a cash register discussing the weather 19 times per hour.

So I took my small basket of items through the self-checkout aisle. I have learned through trial and error that certain items are not thoroughly approved of by the self-checkout machine gods, and they require human intervention, so I leave these items until last. For example, alcohol and paracetamol – fair enough the machine can’t tell if an adult is making the purchase so a store member has to approve it.

Some items are too light, like a packet of chewing gum, for the weight to be recognised by the gauge in the bagging area, that in some way checks that you aren’t scanning a cheaper item and bagging a more expensive item, I hit the button that says I’m not bagging this item even though I am.

Self checkout panel

What I find most frustrating is when items can be of variable mass and the gauge is set to a particular weight for allowing you to bag this item. Most often this is fruit and vegetables that are sold priced per item but can vary in size and therefore mass, such as avocados, pineapples and capsicums (peppers). I tend to keep all such items until the end of my zapping through the machine and call over a staff member to approve the mass being slightly more or less than what the machine has been programmed to accept as that of a single avocado, pineapple or capsicum.

On the day in question I had processed all my items and had just a single red capsicum remaining. I accidentally hit the bright orange ‘Finish and Pay’ button rather than the clean white ‘Fresh Produce’ button and couldn’t find a way to go back. I toyed with the idea of just chucking the capsicum into my bag, goodness knows I’ve spent enough money in this store over the years.

Then I remembered – Citizenship. I’m due to put in my application for British citizenship in a few short months, I couldn’t risk the possibility of rejection on the basis of stealing one red pepper. So I paid for my first 8 items and waited for the machine to reset so that I could purchase my lonely red capsicum.

I was annoyed with myself for making such a silly mistake. I was also irritated with the machine that hadn’t allowed me to correct my mistake and whose gods had decided to allow the weight of my single red capsicum this time without calling over an attendant. And I was frustrated at having to make a purchase using my debit card for less than one pound. I couldn’t wait to leave the store.

At this particular supermarket there is no cash option for payment in this aisle – card payment all the way, which makes it more efficient in my opinion. Except when you can’t wait to leave the store.

I must have been in such a rush to leave my frustrations behind in the store that I left my debit card in the payment machine.

Have you ever left behind something important?

2 thoughts on “How I lost my ATM card

  1. The store attendants can force the machine back to the scanning stage; so if you have to call them over for the variable weight capsicum – you can do that anyway.

    Although, I’ve never had to call them over for anything except alcohol / medicine. So it does seem odd that you have to for other things.

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