Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Case Of The Elusive $21.64...
...No one knows from whence it came...

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It all began about a week ago. This, of course, is the time of the month when Bills Begin Arriving in the Mail, and sure enough, there was a bill from the hospital for some physical therapy sessions I'd had recently. So, I prepared myself for the worst. It was a bill from the hospital, after all. Ulp. I gingerly opened the envelope, and was relieved; the amount owed was only $21.64. "Okay", I thought, "even though it's before the end of the month, I can handle this". On the back of the bill was a little section in which all I had to do was write in my Debit Card number and mail it back to the hospital, where they would 'Debit' me. So That was That. Right?

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WRONG! This past Friday, I checked the mail and found that the Hospital sent the bill BACK to me, saying that my card was coming up invalid. Ulp. I checked my card against the number I'd written down on the bill, and sure enough, I blew it. Got one number wrong. I had to go into town anyway, and decided to pay the bill personally. The lady at the Hospital's billing department told me that the $21.64 had already been paid, that I didn't have to worry about it. I asked, "how could you have received my payment via the Credit Card if I had written the number wrong?" I had the two Billing Ladies search their files, and told me again that the Bill had been Paid. They didn't know where the $21.64 came from, only that they'd received it. And so the mystery deepens...

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The Billing Dept. Ladies advised me to check with my Local Bank if I really wanted to pursue this. Which I did. After all, it was the end of the month; I was running out of money. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't end up $21.64 in the hole, after all. Perhaps the bank just hadn't posted the transaction yet. But the bank would've had to if the hospital received payment, right? So, I went to the bank, trying to find out about the ever-evasive and elusive $21.64 payment I allegedly made. The kind bank teller searched my checking account via her computer screen, and she could not find a $21.64 withdrawal from my checking account anywhere. This Truly was acquiring all the mystery and suspense of a True Crime novel at this point. After all, Ya Can't Make This Stuff Up, right?

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Finding out all I could from the bank, I went BACK to the Hospital's Billing Department, telling the Billing Dept. ladies that The Bank could not find any record of the payment. I try to keep my bills paid. I am honest, probably to a fault. And, yeah, in case the $21.64 payment was lurking out there, ready to ambush my Checking Account with an overdraft, I was a little bit financially paranoid, too. After all, USBank charges something like $30 for every day that a checking account is overdrawn. Ulp. The lady at the Hospital's Billing Department said that the $21.64 had been entered into the payment log, and was also entered into the hospital records, and had long since been deposited into the Hospital's Bank Account. It was then I realized No One Knows Anything About This. Afterwards, I went home and checked my Electronic Banking Website, and there is no payment for $21.64 from me, to anyone, anywhere, this YEAR, decade or century.

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So, we have a full-fledged mystery here. To Sum Up: I entered the Wrong Number on a Credit Card Bill Payment slip and mailed it to the Hospital. The Bill Payment Slip was mailed BACK to me, with a post-it note telling me to Check My Debit Card number. I PERSONALLY brought my debit card to the hospital, trying to take care of the bill. But the bill had been PAID, even though I had written down the wrong card number. And my bank can find NO RECORD of the payment. I fully realize "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and this may yet come back to bite me in the posterior. It's absolutely mystifying. I pursued this to the "nth" level, and could go no further, because No One Knew spite of that, I made one last attempt to clarify things...

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Just to make sure, I told the (increasingly exasperated) Hospital Billing Department Lady, "what you're saying, then, is that as far as you know, this bill has been taken care of, right?" And she said, "Yes, maybe you have a secret admirer out there". What, is there a "sugar mama" out there who paid my bill? Considering that possibility, the first thing out of my mouth was, "well, if someone admires me, I hope they think I'm worth more than twenty bucks." (My mouth gets me in trouble a lot.) So I guess I'm done with this. Finished. Finito. For now, anyway. But out there somewhere is floating $21.64; it's now part of a capitalistic parallel universe, and eventually will present itself as a $21.64 Overcharge on someone else's Hospital Bill. And the Billing Department won't know where that came from either.

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After all this, I got Overdrafted anyway. Turns out my Car Insurance Company decided to take their electronic payment on a SATURDAY, something I wasn't counting on. I checked my bank account and saw a negative-three dollar balance. I corrected that, and was told by my bank (over an '800' number) that the bank wouldn't charge me an overdraft fee, since they don't post anything on the weekends. So I guess it all works out. Maybe I can send another theoretical $21.64 payment to the bank to cover me should I get overdrawn again. Ulp.


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Shame it wasnt a HUGE bill that got paid LOL....

A few years ago, just after my father died, I was in the grocery shop just getting some bits when this tiny little old man in front of me stop and turned round and put the jar of coffee he was holding back on the shelf... he then pottered to up the aisle to the cakes and picked up a cake... he then put the cake back and went back and got the coffee, he then checked his pocket and bought out a few coins.... he obviously didnt have enough money for the cake and the coffee..... let me just say here, that I LOVE little old people, and sometimes its all me maties can do to stop me inviting little old people back for tea when we are out and about LOL... anyways, the little old man hung his head and started towards the checkout.... so I walked over and picked up a large jar of coffee and the cake that the gentleman had just put back and gently walked up to the old man.... I didnt want to embarrass him, there is no way I would of wanted to do that....

So I stands behind him in the check out and I place the large jar of coffee and the cake on the belt and pick up his little jar... and I whisper to him.... you cant have a cup of coffee with no cake and you most certainly cant have cake with no coffee... and me smiles at me and takes my hand and squeezes it and says.... fanks my darling, fanks.... and he kissed me hand....

I never saw him again.... maybe he overdozed on bloody caffine or choked on the cake LOL


11:24 AM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Marmie, you never know...that little old man could be God himself. And you'll live long and prosper. I'm impressed.

Recently,I was at the grocery store when an elderly lady was having difficulty getting out the door. Her bus was coming, so I wheeled her cart down the curb (she also used a walking stick) and loaded her groceries. Little things like that...maybe someday someone will do that for me, 'cos I ain't gettin' any younger. It's amazing how 'age' makes even the smallest things harder. I like old people too. I'm almost one myself. An Old People.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi "Some Guy",

I'm here via Marmies BloB and so far I find your BloG very interesting. I'm sure to be back. I love that "Armstrong" that J. Stewart wrote. Thanks for sharing the words with us. They give me a rush too.

I love found money.

I too try to help people. Some old and some young. I guess I believe we are here to help one another even if it simply lending a empathic ear. I want cake and coffee. That goofy Marmie always teases my tummy urges. Daft cow. I love her.

By the way...I'm Jolie

12:21 PM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Hello, Jolie...welcome to my blog, as Ms. MARMEE would call it...I actually do have that original 'Armstrong'; I'd been looking for it forever; imagine my surprise when I found a copy in a junk shop...took the record home; washed all the dust off it; sounds good now!

So is that what women call each other over there in Englandania...Daft Cows? Moo. I suppose as long as the cows are 'contented', that's not necessarily a bad thing.

12:26 PM  

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