The situation came down to this: I needed a $75 prepaid Visa card. I needed to buy a toner cartridge online. I needed to get a discount on the cartridge. Because my toner had run out all of a sudden and my printer was new, and I didn't want to feel stupid, like someone who was losing money because he had bought a bad printer. (We’ll say it’s a Sibling LH-H0D223).
So I walked in the snow. To get the $75 prepaid Visa card. I didn't see pavement, just white. The snow walked too: the wind kicked it upright and it bucked along, a sheet toppling forward. I stepped into a chain drugstore and my face was grateful. Just the bits that showed between muffler and hat, with a hood over everything, but those bits gulped the warmth.
Sibling doesn't let you buy online unless your credit card has its address in the same country you're buying from. I didn't know that; it's one of those nooks and crannies one encounters in the practical world's set-up.
Sibling doesn't let you use your discount unless you buy online. The discount is just for writing in to tell them about a problem, such as the very early demise of one's toner cartridge. (It came with the printer and lasted just 301 pages.) You have seven days to use the discount, and then it's gone. And you can't call in your order, computer only.
I wanted to feel like I could do things, I guess. Handle a task. I would not eat the $16 I could get from my discount.
Three hours or so just dropped out from my day. The afternoon. While I was dealing with my toner and Sibling's website and staff. By the time I was done, life had changed back and forth, gone from desperation to reassurance.
I walked in the snow because a nice woman in sales told me about the prepaid cards. The first store had MasterCard for $100, but not Visa for $100. The snow walked with me to the second store, another big chain. Same thing there regarding cards. I made my decision: I would not walk with the snow to the third store. I would buy the Visa $75 card.
Before heading out I had looked at the total I'd pay Sibling with their discount. I mean, I had, hadn't I? I remembered craning my head at my screen and catching sight of a figure, one that had a seven followed by a humble low number, and the low number was next to a decimal point. I remembered that. Surely five didn't count as a humble low number. It was middle of the scale. Surely I could buy this card for $75 and it would pay for my toner.
Buy, I told myself at the Pharmaprix counter. If I was wrong, I could eat disappointment. A small dish, after all, a weight in the stomach but nothing major. I bought, and the card came to $81 because of taxes and purchase price, something I hadn't thought about. Even if the order went through, my discount would be $10, down from $16.
The snow walked me back home, and I sat with aching wet socks in front of my computer. Purchase-with-discount was $72, and my order went through. No disappointment.
Did I do okay? I had to walk around in the cold. People go through this; they go to work in the cold, they buy groceries. Okay, but I was out there because of my billing address. It seems dumb. The message I draw: I can't get serious about where I am. The country where I live is really my spare, and my main country is back home. I'm up here, but my money's down there. I run into Sibling and I have a problem. The address hitch is a symptom, but the basic condition keeps getting in my way. Maybe it does so by means of one or two symptoms at a time. There may be hundreds, but they take turns. One of them waits a few years and then hits the right combo of circumstances, the situation where it gets in the way. Today was the turn of my billing address and its displacement.
Cooking dinner, it occurred to me that I could’ve bought two Visa cards at $50 each and paid that way. Two days later, coming back from yoga, I reflected that I could’ve written down the price-with-discount before heading out for the stores.
But I did order the toner with the discount. Did I do all right?