Have you ever noticed that sometimes things have a way of arranging themselves such that they slap you in the face and demand that you pay attention? Yesterday I had two warning signs conspire to alert me that I’m desperately in need of better self control with my spending.
First, I had returned home from a long day of work, and was diligently continuing to work on an urgent “we need this before tomorrow morning” kind of deliverable… When suddenly, there was a loud and demanding knock at the door.
Now, friends will tell you that I tend to be the “Don’t make me get up, try the doorknob after you knock if I’m expecting you, or after I shout at you to come in” kinda guy. (Lazy, I know.) When no amount of grumpy shouting would provoke the knocker to open the door, I grudgingly got up to see who it was.
Turns out, it had been the UPS delivery guy. He has a tendency to bang on the door and leave a package on the ground if no signature is required, though he’s always quick with a grin and a greeting if I catch him. But what alarmed me wasn’t his delivery technique.
No, my concern stems from my immediate reaction to seeing the package there: I found myself instantly relieved that Sal wasn’t home, so I wouldn’t get caught having ordered clothes online.
I’m like the guy on Weight Watchers who sneaks a giant slice of cake in the middle of the night when no-one else is awake in the house. I’m like the guy who quit smoking, but has a cigarette (or three) “only when drinking” and only if his significant other isn’t around to see and chastise him.
I’m the guy who complains about being broke and in a crazy amount of debt, but who just can’t resist a sale. (Especially on clothes, when he just donated half of his casual wardrobe to charity because a lot of it didn’t fit his expanding midsection anymore.)
So yeah, my instant relief at not getting caught was a great big warning sign that I CLEARLY have a bigger problem than I realized. I obviously am way too quick to put purchases on a credit card, and know damn well that I shouldn’t. Trying to conceal my online purchases out of a sense of “I know better than to do this, but I can’t help myself!” shame is not a good sign.
Oh, and the real kicker? I accidentally forgot my usual credit card at home when I went out last night, and had to use my debit card to pay my very reasonable and restrained bar tab at the end of the evening. (No really, I was good.) And as I was leaving, there was a little bit of confusion with my tab.
Someone other than my usual bartender rang me up, and left my card and the credit card slip on the bar for me to sign. My usual bartender came over to pick it up, did a double-take at the card, and started to take it away as if there was a problem. Upon closer examination, he realized that it was the right card after all and quickly returned it.
The problem? He immediately saw at a glance that it wasn’t the card that I always bring to the bar, and assumed that the other guy had mistakenly brought me the wrong credit card. Yes, my bartender knows my credit card at a glance, without even having to check the name on it.
I seriously need to go back to having someone dole out a weekly allowance, in cash, to stop me from using my goddamned credit card.