Money is in the cards, and some will stay there


Four million Americans will find a prepaid debit card in their mailbox soon, if not already.

I found mine. How about you?

The Economic Impact Payment Cards are going to certain people who filed a tax return but don’t have bank information on file.

At first I thought it was a scam. No: It simply turned out to be a pain in the neck.

To activate the card, I had to call an 800 number.

I guess they’re kind of busy. At least that’s what I was told over and over and over. It was mind-numbing. I thought it might be a tactic. One of many.

Eventually, I spoke with a customer service representative. She asked me everything except my birth weight.

Then came a series of questions. She wanted to know what state someone I have never heard of lived in.

And who “Micah” was.

I correctly answered the question about the make, model and year of my car, but it wasn’t good enough and I was denied activation.

However, something else was activated: my aggravation.

I thought it was pretty clever to issue cards rather than a paper check, which could have been deposited directly.

Maybe you already know this: according to cnbc.com, “Half of Americans currently own unredeemed gift cards or store credits and that adds up to tens of billions in unused money. More than one-third with unused cards won’t use up all of the funds.”

The experience was so aggravating I thought about throwing the card away.

I counted to 10 and called the 800 number again.

For some reason, I was guided through a different menu and was able to activate the card without listening to the outgoing messages or talking with anyone.

Who knows?

Maybe your experience was or will be better than mine. In any case, read the letter that comes with the card, and take a look at the May 19 Forbes article that answers frequently asked questions about the cards.

Momma said.

Momma said, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” meaning don’t question the value of a gift.

Checking a horse’s teeth is one way to determine its age.

You’ve heard another expression, namely that someone is “long in the tooth.”

As a horse ages, its gums recede, making the teeth look longer.

As I held my Economic Payment Card, I heard my mother telling me what not to do.

She’s been dead these 12 years but I am still governed at times by her guidance.

Coincidentally, as essayed two months ago, I was scheduled for gum surgery with Dr. Kim. It is now completed.

The procedures were costly. My Economic Impact Card is spoken for.

I am, in short, an aging horse, and if I had my choice it would be Seabiscuit: a plucky, unlikely-looking, top money-winning racehorse.

I recommend Laura Hillenbrand’s book, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” but not the film based on the book, or the 1949 Shirley Temple film “The Story of Seabiscuit.”

Watch it for actual footage of some of Seabiscuit’s races and skip the parts where Temple swoons over the jockey.

The debit cards, as an alternative to easily deposited checks, were a shrewd idea. The obstacles to activate them and the fact many will never be used partially or fully saves someone money.

Seven pounds, six ounces.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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