I love my credit union, I really do. I’ve been with them so long that our relationship feels like family.
We’re on a first name basis. I’m Marcia, and Becky or Steve or Suzie or Chad at Customer Service on the other end of the line is always so helpful and friendly.
Each year before I head off to the UK for the St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery weekend in Oxford, I telephone to let them know that I’ll be using my credit card out of the country. “No need to call us,” Jenny said when I telephoned this summer. “You’ve been spending August in England for, let’s see here, more than twenty years. It’s in your profile.”
They know me so well!
They look out for me, too, just like family. Once, upon arriving home after having lunch with a friend at La Madeleine in Georgetown, the phone was already ringing. It was Linda. “Are you at Nordstrom in Pentagon City,” she wanted to know, “buying eight Coach bags?”
“Please check your wallet,” Linda said. And I did. Thanks to Linda, I discovered that someone had lifted all my credit cards, so I had time to cancel the lot of them before too much damage had been done. “Normally, you shop at Nordstrom in Annapolis,” Linda commented as she explained that they’d been sending out a replacement card by overnight express. “But what really tipped us off was the card was being used to buy three tanks of gas at the same Citgo station, all within five minutes. Oh, look at that! They’re trying again!” She cackled as the pushed the key that shut the crook down in mid-pump.
Once, my card wasn’t even missing, but Larry at Customer Service alerted me to the situation all the same. “Did you buy $5000 worth of furniture at Frank’s Furniture Fair in Bakersfield, California?” he wanted to know.
I had not. Think of the shipping costs! My card had been cloned by some thieving bastard for whom barcaloungers and neon cow clocks were the sine qua non of home décor.
My credit union’s monitoring technology keeps improving. I was buying a shirt at Fresh Produce in West Palm Beach, Florida when a text pinged through on my cell phone. “Are you charging $35.96 at Fresh Produce right now? If yes, text 1.”
Ka-ching! went the cash register once I’d texted back, and the sale went through.
What next, I wondered?
Ting! Hi, Marcia. We see you’re buying that shirt in watermelon, but wouldn’t you look better in sea foam? Text 1 to continue with watermelon. Text 2 to change to sea foam.
Ting! Are you buying a sundress at Lord & Taylor, Marcia? If so, text 1. Now, why not check out the sale on sandals next door at DSW.
Ting! Marcia, text 1 if this is you buying a dirty martini in Miami Beach. You’re usually in Key West ordering mojitos. Text 2 to add Miami Beach to your profile.
Ting! Hi, Marcia, is this you, dining at Chutneys? Text 1 to confirm. Text 2 to post to Travelocity that the chef at Star of India isn’t as good as he used to be.
Ting! Marcia, we see that you’re booked into the Days Inn in Arlington. It’s an old hotel in a seedy neighborhood. Text 2 if you’d like to change your reservation to the Carlyle on Dupont Circle. Text 3 if you’d like dinner reservations at the Tabard Inn.
Ting! Hey there, Marcia, at Everything But Water! A two-piece bathing suit at your age? Text 1 to continue. Text 2 to sass me back.
My credit union. Just like family. One time, in fact, when I …
Da-ding! Excuse me a moment. Seems I have mail.
Can you believe it? A Nigerian policeman has just arrested someone who was carrying my VISA card in his wallet. All I need to confirm my ID is send him my pin number and he’ll mail the card back!