Brave New World

No wonder we’re in the middle of a Recession tottering on a Depression. Do you know how hard it is to spend more money than you should? After years of trying to decide whether I wanted to spend an obscene amount of monety to move up to a bigger lens, I decided Sunday it was time to do so and pray I don’t fall victim to Swine/Avian flu this year.

I spent much of the day trying to finally decide whether a 500mm or 600mm lens would be the best fit for me as opinions are wildly split on this. Considering the $2000 difference in price, I ended up settling for the 500 mm lens. Of course, I also had to find the right tripod, the right tripod head, and the right pack to carry said lens. In other words, beyond the hours and hours I’ve spent in the past few years browsing the topic, I spent most of Sunday refining my order.

After many hours of research, I finally had my online basket full and simply had to pull the trigger on the deal. It was then I realized that the relatively low limit on my credit card wasn’t high enough unless I paid off last month’s charges first. I balanced my checkbook, transferred some funds from savings and paid off last month’s VISA debt. The stress was building, as it always does when I spend money I think I shouldn’t, but I thought I was finally ready to place my order.

I double checked everything and started the check-out process. Everything seemed to go smoothly — as well it should since I’ve shopped there regularly—until I got to the final window. The site took me outside their site to a VISA window where I had to prove I was who I was, including trying to remember a previous password that demanded a combination of numbers and letters I’ve never used before. Finally, I thought I’d gotten everything right and watched the screen as little orange squares flashed on and off across the screen.

Unfortunately, when the pretty squares faded out, I was returned to the main screen and notified my credit card had been rejected and I should try to use another card or call my bank. Since I’ve used the same card several times before at this very online store, I assumed I must have entered something incorrectly and proceeded to go through the checkout process again, only to end up in the same place afterwards. No luck. The card wasn’t going to work this time.

I couldn’t call my bank at 10:30 PM on a Sunday night, so I fussed and fumed for awhile before turning in on a night that was reminiscent of a scene from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Finally, as it, and I, cooled down, I drifted off to sleep. Only to awaken as the sun rose in the East, say 4:30, still pissed the order hadn’t gone through.

By 8:05 when I called the bank, I was told that the problem was that since I never made large purchases on my credit account there was a $5,000 limit on what could be charged. I had to call the credit union to pre-authorize such purchases. The young lady asked me how much the charge was and I gave an approximate amount since I hadn’t memorized the exact charge. She told me to wait about a half hour and try again.

And try again I did, with exactly the same result. When I called back, I was told that the date on the card had been incorrectly entered and that’s why the charge was rejected. That sounded possible, especially considering my growing frustration. So I tried it again, with the same result!

Finally, I called in my order and the company representative got exactly the same rejection. While he was on the line I called my CU one more time. So there I sat, with a company rep on the landline and a CU rep on the iPhone. We went through the whole thing at least twice more, and it turned out that the CU had put in the amount I’d suggested at the beginning, even though I said it was “about” that much. Everyone knows that there’s going to be additional charges like shipping and taxes that are tacked on at the end, don’t they?

I’m still amazed at how easy it is to get advice on lenses, or anything else, for that matter, how easy it is to shop anywhere in the nation for the best price, how easy it is to move money from account to account in the bank, how easy it is to buy a product in New York City and have it delivered to your door in two days, and, most of all, how easy it is to take all this for granted until something goes wrong with the system and you spend hours listening to elevator music waiting for someone to help you find your way through this electronic labyrinth we’ve created.

4 thoughts on “Brave New World”

  1. Sounds as though you have had plenty of frustration yourself these last few days. You have my empathy. Btw, I have been wanting to tell you that your pictures don’t show up in my feedreader (Feeddemon). I don’t know if it just the reader or not, but your blog is the only one this happens to.

  2. hi loren, the experience you described is one i’ve experienced on a couple of occasions, albeit for substantially smaller amounts. what i’ve always wondered is this. you’re issued a card with a pre-authorized limit on it. that means that (in addition to yourself) the bank has accepted that it is willing to take the risk that you can afford that much no matter how and when you choose to spend it right?!
    the bottom line for visitors to your blog is that your pictures which are already stunning are about to be ramped up beyond stunning with the addition of the new equipment!!!! can’t wait to see the results. steven

  3. It’s way too hot for all that to happen, isn’t it?

    I can see that the same perseverance that you tap into when you are out photographing the beauty of the natural world serves you well when the electronic labyrinthine world reveals itself to be full of trickster-like elements.

  4. Will, I think that happens because I use my htaccess file to prevent “hot-linking.” Several of my photos were being linked on other people’s sites and using my bandwidth to serve the pictures.

    I’ve always told people that they can use my pictures for non-profit, or personal use, if they’ve asked but I’m not going to allow them to use my bandwidth to do it.

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