As usual, I'm late in putting this on the page. The events detailed here happened two or three days ago, but I guess when I'm living my life, I have no time to talk about it. Now that I'm at a lax moment, I can spare a few
minutes to type this into the computer.
This one is actually two events combined, one of which is new, the other of which is just proof of an earlier concept. Both, however, are important, and I'm very glad they happened.
First, I got my new Visa today, one with my real name on it. Officially, the bank that gave it to me doesn't know it's "mine"; they just know that there're two cards attached to this account, and that someone named Kristina R. Davis is now authorized to use that number. I wouldn't think they'd care even if they did, though. I'm not using the card for fraudulent purposes; it's my name, so why would I want to start my new life with a bad credit rating? At any rate, I'd been waiting for this card for over a month, and so when it arrived I went on a bit of Retail Therapy,
which turned out to be a good thing for my spirits.
All of my friends have warned me of the evils of credit cards. I've seen the damage that they can do to people. I have a debit card, and it boggles a lot of my friends' minds that I could prefer spending money I don't have to money that I know is mine. To start, I get bonus points towards my preferred airline with my credit card; I don't get that with my debit card. Second, I don't let balances accumulate; I pay everything off every month and so there's never an interest fee. Third, I don't carry any cards with an annual fee, so I have all the benefits and none of the hassle. I do know that I have to budget myself, and I do, but that's not as much of a hassle as long as I keep current with my bills. The one thing my debit card does that my credit card won't is not charge me fees at ATMs and reimburse me third-party charges at them, so it does have its uses.
Second, related to the first, is an incident that happened Thursday night. I had picked Jason up from work, and we had decided to stop at Starbucks on the way home for coffee. Normally, I would prefer not to frequent such
places, but there are no independent coffeehouses within reasonable driving distance of our apartment, so for coffee it's Starbucks or do-it-yourself, which would mean buying equipment for which we don't have the room right now.
This particular Starbucks is one of those conglomerate stores that has a Barnes and Noble and a Software Etc. attached to it, or maybe it's attached to them, or perhaps they were all just squished together by Dobbs or
something. At any rate, before we got coffee, we decided to look in the software store, and of course being computer junkies that we both are, we found things that we wanted to get. So, without really thinking about it too
much, we picked up our purchases, we went to the counter, and I plopped my shiny new Visa soen on the counter.
The counterclerk diligently rang up the purchases, glanced at the card and looked up at me with placid, cow-in-front-of-steamroller eyes and said, "And could I see your driver's licence?"
Now, I am not an unsavvy shopper. I do know that a few places require a secondary form of identification to help guard against credit card fraud, and I applaud them this action. However, it never occured to me that I would be caught flatfooted like this. My new card is wonderful because I can sign my real name to things. However, I have nothing else that matches it, and so I literally didn't know what to do. I said something mumbled
about not having it handy, and the guy looked at me with that too-bad-not expression and said, "I'm sorry, but I have to see your licence; it's company policy."
At this point, Jason stepped up and, in a calm manner, said, "Let me set this straight. Her driver's licence doesn't match. The state won't recognize it yet, but that is her legal name."
At this, the counterdrone, his manager, and I were all sort of startled into silence for about two seconds, and then this incredible warmth ran through me as the salesclerk fumbled a bit and looked helplessly at his boss. The boss looked at me, then at the card, then at the total, and he shrugged and said, "Alright, just match the signature to the card's."
They matched, of course, though my hand was shaking a bit from excitement.
Later, Jason said to me he was really excited to see me using my new card. He said it didn't and shouldn't matter how I was dressed or that I hadn't shaved since that morning, that the important thing was that that was the name I wanted to use and that was how I wanted to be addressed and that others should have the decency and courtesy to do so. I felt validated. I felt vindicated. He said to them what I lacked the courage to say at the
moment I needed to say it.
I felt loved and protected. It's the most wonderful feeling in the world.