Tales from my dumb brain

Last weekend I had a bit of a zany episode: I forgot the PIN for my debit card.

I blame the “tap” technology, for making it so easy to just pay for all things with a wave of the card instead of popping it into the terminal and then punching in my code. But I buy groceries at Wal-Mart every week, and they don’t support the tap, so I absolutely have been using that PIN at least once a week. There’s no reasonable explanation for how I randomly lost that knowledge.

See, what happened is that I was purchasing fuel through the terminal at the pump, where they also don’t have a tap-compatible thingy. I popped in the PIN and then it beeped at me and told me it was wrong. I was a little flustered, since I always put in the PIN by muscle memory more than anything. Stopping to actually think about it, I realized that I didn’t actually “know” my PIN, and now that my fingers had failed me, I was at a loss.

Fortunately, the gas situation was resolved by using the tap terminal in the actual store at the gas station. What didn’t go so well was when I went to Wal-Mart the next day for my weekly grocery run. Not only did I not “recover” the “knowledge” of my PIN, but the third failed attempt locked the card completely, and since I had no alternative or cash on had, I was forced to abandon my bags of groceries and walk away in shame.

The one upside of this whole dilemma is that I learned that we have a terminal to reset debit cards and change PINs right at work! I thought that I’d either have to wait the whole week to get to a branch on Saturday or make a mad dash to the nearest branch on my lunch break. So now every time I screw this up in the future, I can just saunter downstairs and get it cleared up. Neat!

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