A few days ago, I clicked an Internet item and WOOOPS! My computer screen turned blood red, a fire alarm rang, a huge white 800 number flashed, and a woman jabbered, "Dial the 800 number. Dial the 800 number."
Frozen, I gazed at the red screen, not knowing I could erase it by turning my computer off.
Stupid One: I dialed the 800 number.
Mr. 800 claimed I had a thousand-and-one things wrong with my computer which he would fix in an hour if I gave him my password. Which I did. This is not yet Stupid Two.
Then came the bill. We dickered and settled on $199.99. "Will you pay by credit card or by e-check?" he asked. Using an e-check might entertain me; I'd never used one.
Stupid Two: I paid by e-check.
Mr. 800 dickered with my computer for an hour, to fix it (or so he claimed) and we said "Goodbye."
The instant I hung up the phone, I dialed Apple Care for help in setting up a new password.
Then I called my bank to stop payment on my e-check. The teller took copious notes but set a stop payment in place. "However," she said, "to fix this you must visit your branch bank."
Already I wished I'd used my credit card; this looked like much more work. And it was. Much more.
The branch bank teller said stopping payment wasn't enough. Mr. 800 could use my blank checks. "Shred all your old checks," she told me. "I'll order new checks for you." This process took about two hours of paperwork and multiple signatures.
Then the teller printed a long list of my automatic pay or credit companies. "Call each firm," she said, "to update the routing number and the new check number."
I was so stupid. If I'd used my credit card, all I'd needed to do was cancel payment. But now I faced hours on the phone, tracking down all these changes.
I was right. Hour passed after hour.
But when I told Lisa Pelto, head of Concierge Marketing who helps me produce my books, she wrote: "Oh dear – we've all been there Marilyn. We'll take care of your accounts. We'll get them all changed."
So all's well that ends well, except for my enormous waste of time. And loss of pride.