Being declined, denied, duped and double-crossed

Aug. 02, 2014 @ 09:25 AM

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!! ... Sorry.  Didn’t mean to yell, I’m just so freakin’ mad! Twice this week, some scummy scammer has tried to take advantage of me, and I still don’t get it -- what kind of people do these things? The fact that both dirtbags (yeah, that’s right, “dirtbags” -- like I don’t watch “CSI”?) were totally disappointed in the size of the loot they’d never get is the only thing that makes me smile. 

On Friday, it was pouring rain, so naturally I went to the Chico’s outlet store for their huge 40 percent-off sale. I found five beautiful blouses, two pairs of pants, one a perfect pull-up black linen, and their skirts are to die ... sorry ... back on track. So, I schlep all this stuff to the desk, but when I try to pay the lady says my credit card has been refused. I say, pardon me? My credit card is fine, it must be your machine. She tries it again. No go. 
I am horrified and mystified. My card really should work. I’m not someone who goes anywhere near my credit limit (I would truly hyperventilate and stroke out WAY before that happened) and I always pay the full amount each month, which I know they hate because they want to get me “hooked,” but hey, deal with it. 
So, I use another card, and leave the store heading straight for the car (I was too humiliated to look up, and tried to open the door of another red car which was, unfortunately, not mine and which, unfortunately, had someone inside it) where I call VISA. 
VISA says they’ve been trying to reach me (please, I’m not on safari, I’m right here, ANYONE can reach me!) because someone has tried to use my credit card online four times, but since the person doesn’t know the correct address or any other information, they’ve been declined every time. They declined my charge at Chico’s, he says, because I never shop there because I do not spend money on clothes for myself, which any student of mine since 1991 can tell you!
I ask what the four fraudulent charges were. He says one was a clothing store, two were for $200 gift cards, and one was for Domino’s frickin’ Pizza! Good heavens, if you want pizza that bad, get a job delivering it -- they’ll give you all the leftovers at the end of the night! I know -- I am a proud former Domino’s driver.
So, they must send me a new card, which ticks me off because I have memorized the number and all the pertinent info so I don’t have to dig it out every time I use it. I’m not old, but my memory has been worked like a mule my whole life -- I went to Catholic school, where you memorize everything from the Ten Commandments to the Periodic Table to the Gettysburg Address. My memory is worn slam out.
Then came Saturday: I’ve sold my house and am looking online daily for a small place to rent in Chapel Hill; planning to spend more time in the mountains now. So, I found a place that looked perfect -- incredibly priced, all utilities included! -- being out of town, I asked my niece to drive by for me. She reported that the place was, indeed, perfect. 
So, I emailed the address in the ad and was answered by a man who said he was the owner.  He said he’d moved to Florida, was married with three children, worked in construction and was also a pastor. He said he’d quit his real estate company because they were charging him too much, and he wanted renters who would love and cherish his house as he had.
I asked when I could see the house, and he replied that I was welcome to drive by and look inside, but he was “not in a position” to do a walk-through with me. He said I could fill out an application and send him the first month’s rent and a pet deposit, and he’d send me the keys. ... Huh? 
I answered that I couldn’t possibly rent a place without ever going inside -- please, are you kidding? There could be a dead body upstairs for all I knew! Then, my niece told me that there was a rental agency sign in front of the house. Hmm.
So, I called the rental agency and no, this man was NOT the owner of the house, and the rent was $500 more than he’d told me, and there were no utilities included, and OMG! Scam city! The agent was stunned and outraged -- not outraged enough to give me the house at the lower price for my pain and suffering, but outraged nonetheless, as was I. I mean, seriously - WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!!

Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at, or by visiting her website at