I knew something was wrong when I read the words from the website.
The Idaho Department of Labor said my unemployment benefits would arrive in a plain, white envelope from Fargo, N.D. While a very secure way to deliver a debit card containing our benefits, it could easily be misidentified as junk mail.
The next thought alarmed me. I suddenly remembered seeing such an envelope and had mistakenly thrown it away in our garbage bin. The thought was so clear, so illuminating I knew it was from the Spirit.
There was a chance it was still in the garbage. But today was garbage pick-up day. I had to hurry. I threw on some clothes and headed to the curb. As I walked out the door. I could hear the unmistakable sound of a garbage truck, just three houses down.
I quickened my pace.
I quickly threw open the bin and started rifling through sacks of garbage.
From one house away, I could see truck drop my neighbor’s bin back in place. My house was next. Still nothing.
Right as he pulled up to me, I caught a glimpse of a tattered, white envelope at the very bottom of the bin. The return address: Fargo, N.D.
The driver watched with amusement as I tossed a garbage sack back in, shut the lid and held up the envelope in triumph.
Stepping off to the side, I panicked again as the envelope contained several papers relating to my benefits card, but no actual card was visible.
As I was about to give up hope, I turned a paper over and there was it was — affixed to a piece pf paper.
I looked up into heaven and mouthed a “thank you.” And made a vow to get this changed to direct deposit by the end of the day.
2 Replies to “Go look in the garbage”
As a former recipient of the magical benefits card, here are some insider tips.
1- if you get direct deposit, you will never know which day it will get deposited. They “reserve the right” to not make any commitments. With the card, as long as you “file” each week (visit the website and check the magic boxes) asap you will get the money on the card right on schedule (for me it was first thing Sunday morning- if I dared to wait until maybe Sunday afternoon to file, it delayed my funds by 2-3 days). It really is all done on a first come, first served basis. With direct deposit you really don’t know which day it will show up in your account.
2- while you are using the card, be aware of the fact that at the most inopportune and embarrassing times it will not work. It is a debit card with a Visa logo on it. If you look on the back you will a few icons. Remember way back in the day when debit cards and bank Visa cards were totally different things? And you had to go to an ATM that had your special icon on it? CIRRUS? VISA? ExchangeLink, etc? Guess what, these may look like Visa cards, but they are not on the Visa system. So it is a crapshoot when you use one in a store, gas pump, ATM, etc., whether or not they will be on the system that works with your card.
3- They never work at gas pumps. You have to go inside and prepay. And make sure you tell them you are prepaying.
4- It is very hit or miss whether or not they will work when you are trying to pay at a restaurant that allows for tips on the card. It’s usually best to ask them to not ring it up, bring it to you to fill in the tip, and then take it back. This can send your card into a whirlwind of personal confusion for a week.
5- Don’t even think about using it for an online purchase.
6- Best option- get the money on your card, go straight to your bank, take the cash off the card, and deposit it in the bank. Is this annoying? And wouldn’t it be easier to just get direct deposit? Yes. But does your lifestyle allow for you to not have a clue which day you are going to get paid? Mine did not.
That was close! I threw away a paycheck when I was first married. I always separated junk and important mail as I looked through it. Learned the hard way my new husband did not (and still doesn’t). 18 years later, and I still have a fear that I’ve thrown away something important.
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