A Safer Bet

If this conversation had ended differently, I would be ousting myself as a hypocrite after what I wrote about in the previous post. That was not my initial reasoning, of course, but it’s convenient that I had a built in defense ready and waiting in case I had to justify things later. I wonder why I would ever think it necessary to justify things.

Today, I found that the gift card my family gave me for my birthday was still in my wallet and I called the number on the back of the card to see if there was anything left.

Immediately, I was transferred to a live operator who declared that I was the “100th” caller and that I had won another 100 dollar gift card. Well, I did have misgivings at first, but what the hell. I answered the operator’s questions that were innocent enough – confirming my phone number, mailing address, etc.- but admittedly were likely invitations to receive junk mail and calls from telemarketers.

Still, the final straw for me was when they asked me to pay for shipping and handling. In fairness, the operator did make it clear to me that I didn’t have to use my own debit/credit card to pay for the shipping and handling, meaning that if I had any money left on my gift card I could just as easily have paid with that. Of course, I didn’t know how much money I had on the gift card yet and in any case, my bank account is somewhat depleted at this point. Even if the bug of suspicion hadn’t already buzzed in my ear, there was just no way I was going to hand them the numbers on the clock to indicate what time it was at that moment in the day.

Maybe I had legitimately won a 100 dollar gift card. But it seems odd that I would have to pay shipping and handling for something I allegedly won. Even if you assume that there’s nothing unusual about what was happening, you do have to take into account the many ways that scammers and hackers have been coming up with to make our lives more difficult.

In my mind, refusing to go any further was the safer bet. But the consolation to all of this is that when I called a second time to actually verify my gift card balance, I was happy to find out that I had a reasonably sufficient amount left.


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