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Humiliation at the Harris Teeter

January 3, 2011



It was the day.

After two weeks at home with boys who grave from dusk til dawn, I had to go to the grocery store.

That, or feed the kids chamomile tea and canola oil for supper.  Our cupboards were bare.  In the freezer, I could have probably scrounged up black berries, edamame and okra, but those were looking like the only choices and I didn’t think I could sell that combo to my fellows no matter how charming I tried to be.   So, I trudged through the mud that is our driveway and set forth on the hour-long journey to a  grocery store with some variety.

It was one of those trips.  A business trip to the grocery store.  We needed EVERYTHING there.  It took me nearly three hours.  I filled two buggies slam full.   I had to park one of them up front while I filled the second with cold stuff.  I visited every single aisle and end cap, and got one of everything.

I was starting the new year off right: with a stocked pantry.  And oh, how I love, love, love an overflowing pantry and full freezer.

After spending my entire afternoon at the grocery store, I was ready to see the damage at the cash register.  I knew it was going to be enough to pay off the national debt.  But, that’s the cost of having toilet paper, tea bags and tortellini at the same time.

Damaging it was.  And so I gave the cashier Irene’s number so she could chink away at the bill with her VIC club member discount.  ‘Cause you know I couldn’t find that card if my life depended on it and I don’t even really know if I have one.  But, I know Irene will.  She’s prepared like that. (It knocked a good $60 off of my bill, so I’m glad she is.)

A line was forming behind me and out of the corner of my eye, I could tell I was getting some “She must have a family the size of the “Duggars” glances.”

Sorry,  the photo above wasn’t one left on my camera from Christmas, but one I borrowed from Google Images!


There were three or four people in line behind me.  Probably all cursing the day I was born.  And cursing the births of my family of 19 who all have names beginning with the letter “J.”

After all the groceries were bagged.  The two carts were brimming over with all sorts of fresh and yummy goodness. My grocery getting excursion was halfway done.  Now, I only had an hour drive home and then the unloading and putting away would begin.  By bedtime, I’d be done!

So, I ran my debit card through the little machine thingy.

And it was declined.  Seriously?

And, I ran it again.  And again.

Soon, the lights went down in the store and a giant spotlight dropped down from the ceiling and the cashier took the mike and said.  “Can I get some management over here?   This chic is trying to scam the good people of the Teeter.  And she’s a nuisance too, with her two buggies”

Or something like that.

“Well, I I I know there’s money in there.”  I stuttered as beads of sweat gathered on my beet red face. “And seriously, if there was no money, why would I have spent my day loading groceries into two carts only to be humiliated later?”  I wanted to say.

The manager came over and took my card and tried to run it through again herself.


She tried it a couple more times.

Still nothing.

There seemed to be a lot of huffy breaths and eye rolling behind me, but I was too embarrassed to look back and see who I was annoying.

After all,  I was awful busy apologizing to the Harris Teeter management, the cashier and the nice older man who’d bagged all those groceries and chatted with me up until the point that I couldn’t pay for my food.

{{{{Horrible.}}}}<This is supposed to symbolize me cringing.  Work with me folks, no one else will.

I tried to use the ATM there at the store and I got a message that said something like, “We aren’t able to process your request at this time.”

What the heck? This same card gave me problems while Christmas shopping.

I’m divorcing it.  My trust is gone.  I have been let me down one time too many.  I’m ending it.

So, then I went back and talked to the manager,(while feeling like a shoplifter) and asked her if I could pick up my chuck wagon groceries in the morning.   She was very sweet and told me that I’d have to check out again, but that she’d keep them for me.  Sadly and humiliating-ly, the frozen/refrigerated stuff was all mixed up.  Keeping it for me was a lot of trouble.

I’m pretty certain that I will not be winning the “Harris Teeter VIC Club’s Most Appreciated Shopper Award.”

I may be asked to go to Food Lion next time.

I’d understand.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 8:19 am

    Oh, you poor thing. Stuff like that seems to happen to me too, and it really does feel like there’s a giant spotlight shining down on you. Does your face get all prickly feeling, also?

    That picture of the Duggers—my husband and I have biked by that place many a time. They’re a super nice family, always helping out in the community here, but the “J” names have gotta run out sometime!

    • January 3, 2011 11:17 am

      I get a kick out of their show, but have often wondered what their grocery bill would be like!

  2. January 3, 2011 8:39 am

    oh, hon, that sucks! I’ve had issues with my check card too, even when I KNOW there is money in there and its SO embarrassing! And we don’t have credit cards, so I never have an alternate way to pay.

    Just to let you know, our marathon two week shopping trip for shampoo, napkins, food, etc, cost $384. I thought my husband would keel over!

    • January 3, 2011 11:19 am

      $517. Seriously. That was after the discount. And we really don’t eat much meat!

  3. January 3, 2011 9:15 am

    Oh NO! That totally stinks, but I think most people can relate! We’ve all been there (or somewhere similar). I guarantee the store employees see cards declined all the time.

  4. January 3, 2011 9:23 am

    Argh! That sucks. Happens to the best of us. Best get to the bank maybe the strip on your card isn’t working.

  5. January 3, 2011 10:20 am

    Oh, how horribly embarrassing! I would have died, LL! Totally died! And you having 2 cartfulls just adds to the level of embarrassment.

    You need to shop with more than one card as a safety net!

    • January 3, 2011 11:20 am

      It was horrid! I don’t carry a pocketbook, so I do good to have one card and my car keys and perhaps a phone, sometimes. From now on, I’m carrying cash!

  6. January 3, 2011 1:18 pm

    I would have been wishing that the floor would open up and swallow me. UGH! How horrible, I was getting all squirmy on your behalf just reading this!

  7. January 3, 2011 2:06 pm

    Ow! I am cringing at the thought. That must have been mortifying beyond belief. It happens to all of us, though. Remember that.

    My hubs and I were on vacation and our credit card got declined at breakfast. It seems someone had stolen the numbers via the world wide web and bought 5,000 dollars worth of gift cards in a Mississippi Walmart at 3 a.m. Our credit card company thought it to be suspicious and shut down our credit card. Fun times.

    I’d say get a new card. It’s probably demagnetized!

  8. January 3, 2011 10:54 pm

    Oh man LL!! I would have DIED. I hate that stuff, especially when you KNOW there’s money in there!

    My Target Redcard was denied right before Christmas…I just applied for it and had only used it a few times. But I didn’t remember that one of those times was for an iPod, which ate up half the credit!! I was so embarrassed….but at least I could pull out another card before slinking away!!

    Hope they let you back in some day. You know, when you’re all out of groceries again.

  9. January 4, 2011 4:08 am

    OK, this has SO happened to me before! Not with Duggar sized groceries of course, but with at least $100 worth of stuff… And I was also just so embarrassed! Sorry you had to go throught his friend! And DEFINITELY time to dump your card!

  10. January 4, 2011 9:54 am

    That sucks! I have had that happen and it is truly awful. I hope you figured out what was up with the card. I’d have a hard time going back to the same store though. I think I’d be way too embarrassed. I think divorcing the card is an excellent idea.

  11. January 6, 2011 5:49 pm

    What made this story so funny is that I read it in a Southern accent (in my mind)! because I can just hear you tellin’ it!! I’m sorry. I HATE those huge grocery shops. Nothing worse than spending money on something that is going to be devoured in moments upon returning home!!

    Oh…and I have an old phone number that I use for my safeway card. Only the last two times I must have gotten the number wrong because they have said “thank you Mrs. Hutton, have a nice day!” Oh well…I’m sure Mrs. Hutton won’t mind.

    • January 11, 2011 7:25 pm

      It was certainly told in a southern accent! lol And you’re right, the second I walk in the house, it’s gone. They’re buzzards, these boys!


  1. Nothing is Easy for Us or Why My Son Will End Up Homeless and Alone or How Much Does it Cost to Get Out? « Lula Lola
  2. Nothing is Easy for Us or Why My Son Will End Up Homeless and Alone or How Much Does it Cost to Get Out? — Lula Lola

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