Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
A Tribe Called Quest - "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo"

I lost my wallet last month. I didn't realize it was gone until I was getting ready to transfer busses, reached into my bookbag to grab my wallet and the bus pass it contained, and saw that the wallet was gone. Needless to say, losing the wallet set off some panic. At first, I figured it had been stolen. But I retraced my steps since I last had it and realized that was impossible. I must have dropped it on the bus when trying to put it in my bookbag. (Why did I carry my wallet in my bookbag rather than my back pocket, like real men do? Well, I have chronic back problems and sitting on a wallet does not help this.) I hailed a cab and on the ride home made a list of the banks and credit card companies I needed to call. Canceling credit and debit cards is remarkably easy, this is one area where you can get a customer service rep pronto. No doubt banks view fraudulent spending on lost/stolen cards as much as a hassle as consumers do. And I'm fortunate to have been banking at the same local bank (First National Bank of the Lakes, 31st and Hennepin) for so many years as I was able to bike into the drive-up and cash a check for spending money without having to show my (now-lost) ID.

This story ends well. My Dad - my parents and sister are listed in my wallet as emergency contacts - called me two days after I had lost the wallet, somebody had found it. It was a security guard at an apartment tower over in the Seward neighborhood. I bussed over to his building and he handed me my wallet, absolutely nothing in it was missing. I asked him if he was the one who found it; he said no, that somebody had found it and turned it into the rental office. (It is a mystery how the wallet got to this rental office. My best guess is that somebody found it on the bus and rather than giving it to the bus driver, handed it over to the security guard in the building, figuring they would know what to do with it.) I offered him twenty bucks for reaching out to my Dad and holding the wallet, he would have none of it. He, along with the mystery person who originally found it, was one of the great people I dealt with in my 48 hours of lost walletdom. Others:

Wells Fargo - Yes, the big bank came up big. They offered me a new credit card with rush service for only $16. I had placed my call to them on 6 p.m. on a Friday and via FedEx I had a new credit card on 8 a.m. Monday. As I had already cancelled all my cards, this was huge.

Metro Transit - After canceling all my cards, I called Metro Transit to see if they had found my wallet. The customer service rep I spoke with asked what route I was on when I lost the wallet, then proceeded to try to call the driver (who was still on his route) to see if a wallet had been found. After being unable to reach the driver, he contacted his boss to give him/her my phone number in case somebody turned in my wallet that night.

SuperAmerica on 35th and Nicollet - They sell Heggies pizzas (the BEST frozen pizzas around, and it's not even close), and I needed some comfort food after the panic, phone calls, and the thought of having to go to the DMV to get a new driver's license.

And finally, I learned an important lesson here. I don't need the Costanza-like wallet that contains every important card and document I have. Stupidly, I had my social security card in my wallet. Who ever actually uses that card? The Social Security Administration's website says you don't even need one if you have your number memorized. I also had two credit and two debit cards in my wallet - one each for my business and for my personal use. I think jamming all of that stuff into a wallet is behavior I started when I was in junior high and first got a wallet. Back then I would carry dollar bills in it. But as I got older and society and corporations gave me more responsibility, I acquired more cards and documents, and felt more and more grown up as I filed these in my wallet.

Now? I bought a new wallet and it contains: driver's license, one debit card, one credit card, bus pass, and library card. That's all I need when I'm out and about, and I could probably leave the credit card at home also. All the other bank cards are in my old wallet kept in a desk drawer. And the new wallet is very thin so I can keep it in my back pocket. I got a chain wallet so I don't lose it. This also helps my look as I push fifty: sneakers, Levi's, chain wallet, long-sleeve Jimi Hendrix Experience teeshirt, UND hockey hat pulled low, and transition lenses. But which of my wallets will I put my AARP card in?