WHATtheduckThe other day I tried to buy tractor wheels for our duck pen but the website turned down my credit card.*


Even though this happened online and not in person, I felt outsizedly annoyed.  Whaddya mean my credit isn’t good enough to buy chicken feed (or similarly priced items)?!  I just paid that card!  Is this some kind of sinister plot to undermine the craft of backyard poultry-raising?

I took a moment to consider my options.  Well, I could try another card but the error message seemed to imply that something might be fishy.  (Or phishy.)  What with all the, ahem, “identity malfunctions” that seemed to proliferate like waterfowl excretions on a snowy lawn, I didn’t want to take any chances.  I called the 800 number.

The customer service rep got right to the point:  It’s not us; it’s you.  (Oh, thanks for letting the customer attempt to be right.)  Won’t you even consider the possibility there’s a glitch on your website?  Nope.  Call your credit card company.  But the error message seems to suggest there might be security issues, said issues presumably generated by pressing the “purchase” button while digitally connecting to the item “chicken tractor wheels” combined with your company’s web presence and my (I swear!) robust purchasing power.

Call the card company, ma’am.

As we debated the likelihood of shenanigans in this admittedly low-cost instance, I harrumphed a bit then asked if I could complete the transaction by phone.  Maybe if I directly gave her a different card number, I could also bypass what I increasingly believed were sinister forces intent on depriving my waterfowl of a more easily moved summer enclosure.  Hmm, never ordered from these guys before.  I know they’re a Major Retailer but, heck, maybe some oddball hacker with a disdain for ducks had rigged it so that–

BEEP!  The credit card folks beeped in.  I put the service rep on hold and picked up the other line.  An automated voice asked me to verify a few recent purchases.  Ah ha!  See!  Fraud alert!  Just as I suspected:  Suspicion!  See!  Something suspicious did occur!  Wait, but what?

The robot stuck to its script.  “Apologize for inconvenience” “please press 1 if you recognize” blahbedeblahbedeblah.  The three charges in question didn’t seem weird (to me) but tell me what you think:

1) A rather hefty payment to a publisher for both print and the digital editions of a daily newspaper.**

2) The attempted poultry-related purchase.

3) Heavy-weight silk long-johns.***

Ah, right.

Well, at least the computer couldn’t see me blush (I think) so I quickly verified the three motley outlays and released my card from credit purgatory.  Since the other call got lost, I went back to where I started– their website– where finally, successfully,  I used my credit card to complete the transaction.

In the end, I guess you could say that the Case of the Ornery Web Sale turned out to be neither phish nor foul.  In fact, I think what really happened is some pesky algorithm declined my card on aesthetic principles.

You wanna buy chicken tractor wheels for your duck pen?

No can do, lady.  No can do.




*Don’t you *hate* when that happens???

**That’s it!  Nobody gets the print edition of a newspaper anymore!

***Maybe the fashion police got involved.


Copyright 2014, Lori Fontanes