Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, December 11, 2004

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Apple...

Damn, the banking finally caught up with me...

I bought Mom a new eMac for Xmas, courtesy of my pal Jeenyus, who was able to squeeze me into his Friends & Family discount quota for the year. Most kind of him, since the discount was a big selling factor in luring Mom away from the Dark Side and into the Cult of Mac.

So, I travel to the Houston Galleria after work last Friday, slap down the debit card, and proceed to have half my working capital sucked out, in return for a shiny new eMac shipped right to the house. Next morning, I get up, log into my online account tracker, and sure enough, $850.85 is no longer there. All's good with the world, I'm thinking.

Last Tuesday, I sign into my online bank tracker to see if an eBay/Paypal charge went through, and to my surprise, there's the $850.85 sitting back in my account. Huh? Furthermore, there's no record of the transaction. No initial debit, no credit of the returned amount, nothing. It's like the transaction never happened. At first I'm thinking that I screwed up the order, 'cause I accidentally left Jeenyus's name in the "Bill To" window on the order page. Still, they accepted the charge, so they know the card's good... why would they worry about who's getting the bill? I email Jeenyus to keep an eye out, and call Mom and tell her Xmas might be late this year.

Next day, same thing. No record of the transaction. I call my bank, they say nothing's wrong. No one has pulled money out, no one's rejected a purchase, from their end, everything looks kosher. They recommend calling Apple.

So, I call Apple. Get their call center in Ireland, and talk to a most delicious-sounding colleen. Her accent makes me want to pour Bailey's and Guinness all over her and lick her clean. Even if she looks like Mother Machree. After diligent searching of the order records and finding nothing, I finally ask her to look under Jeenyus's name, and there it is. All is in order, eMac is ready for shipping, and will be heading out that afternoon.

So, I ask about the money angle, but that's out of her jurisdiction. She routs me to the Finance department, and that silky Irish accent fades, and is replaced by a woman with a flat rasp of a Yankee midwest accent. Eh, what a buzzkill.

She explains that the initial charge is just to confirm the card, and that the account is not debited until the order actually ships. She again confirms that everything is OK, and I should expect it in 3-5 working days. OK, that's what they said 3 working days earlier, but it's the Xmas season, everyone's rushed and/or behind, so no biggie.

Next day, I sign into my online bank tracker, and now I'm REALLY confused. Not only is the $850.85 still in my account, but there's another $850.85 in there. My account has $1701.70 more than it should in it.

Another slack-jawed "Huh?" escapes me... I am suddenly acutely aware of the fact that I dropped out of Accounting 101 twice, otherwise this all might make sense. Someone's playing jiggery-pokery with my account, and I can't see the benefit to the banks, to Apple, or to myself. This extra $1701.70 stays in my account for 2 days.

Friday afternoon, after checking the FedEx tracking number and confirming the eMac is on a truck heading this way, I check the account again. OK, someone's figured out part of the goof. $850.85 is now gone from the account, but there's still no record of the transaction. OK, I'm thinking, someone goofed, El Capitan gets a free eMac! At least until they run the end-of-month reconciliation, and then they'll head my way with torches and pitchforks. Also, I don't want Jeenyus in any shit over this. So, if the eMac gets here and I still haven't "paid" for it, I'll call again and straighten things out.

The manna from heaven only lasted so long, though. Today, the account balance matches my check register, and the debit is finally recorded for yesterday evening. They have my money, I have an eMac parked in a FedEx transit in Iowa or somewhere equally remote.

I'm curious as to all the kerfluffle with the billing. Maybe I'm lacking in sophistication and nuance, like all Red Staters are accused of, but what was the point to all that cash-juggling? It seems a lot simpler to pay up front, and have them ship your goods ASAP.

If anyone has a clue, I'd love to hear it.