Saturday, April 01, 2006

FUN WITH PLASTICINE MONEY: Pt III - The Cute, Innocent Chick

So, I managed to expose a criminal and save his boss a bunch of money, utilizing my brain and a new Visa card. Yes, it was funny, but I didn’t get a single good belly laugh out of it. Those idiots who go around signing “Kim Jong-Il” (who, by the way, has his own much larger credit scam going) everywhere seem to have so much more fun than I did with my Elmer’s cement.

So, the question becomes, “How to take this up a notch?” Kenny at the gas station watched gleefully as I (he thought) defrauded some idiot named Mortimer Randolph, and went on and on about how chic I was in method until I was out of earshot. But he didn’t so much participate as merrily allow it.

I wondered, is there a way to get a cashier to take more active a part? I decided to find out.

Last time, I targeted someone I was fairly confident was already dirty. This time, I decided to test someone I was sure would prove to be clean, someone who would immediately turn me in to the manager. Let’s just say I needed a boost to my confidence in human goodwill.
So this time I made sure to wear good running shoes.

The one time I caught a week-day matinee at the local theater, I noticed that I (and the two friends I was treating to Napoleon Dynamite) were the only ones there. The ticket-sellers, apparently yearning for some human interaction not projected on a two-dimensional screen, had eagerly conversed with us every last second before the feature rolled. A perfect opportunity for my next credit card run.

So, I showed up for the two-twenty showing of some dumb little just-because-Hollywood-has-money-to-waste movie, credit card in tow. The lobby was empty, as planned. And there, behind the toy-like register was, uh, let’s say Cindy, a very pretty, very friendly blonde of (I’d guess around) 22 years. Surely she’ll prove worthy of the trust her employers have in her.

“One for such-and such piece of cinematic garbage,” I say, not quite in those words. She smiles sweetly as I hand her my card. And now I’m supposed to sign the little leaf of paper. “Excuse me, could you hold my card up for me?” She blinks, but holds it up anyway.
I carefully instruct her just how high and just how close to my face to hold it, as I laboriously imitate the signature on it’s back, attempting to duplicate it on the card. Attempting and, well, succeeding easily (it‘s my signature, of course). But I try to make it look hard.

Any second now she’s going to catch on, I know it. Then she’ll ask me what I think I’m doing, before yelling back at her boss to come help her restrain the criminal who just tried to steal the price of a matinee. Then I’ll have to steal my own card out of her hand and run for it. But she doesn’t catch on, she just stands there, obeying my every request in holding my card up.

So I decide to sweeten the pot just a bit.

“Huh..” I say, finishing the last letter of my name.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, but… Is ‘Randolph’ really spelled that way?”

She looks at it. “I guess so.”

“I dunno, it’s just weird. I’ve never seen ‘Randolph’ spelled that way before.”
“I mean, look. It’s a ‘ph’ instead of an ‘f.’”

She shrugs.

“Oh, well. Some people, right?”

“Yeah,” she says, smiling.

It’s clear she has no idea what I’m talking about, no idea that I just copied the signature from the back of (my) card onto the slip that she is supposed to compare against it. No idea that, if I’m really myself, I’ve just admitted to not knowing how to spell my own last name. Not to mention insulted myself for having spelled it correctly.

I leave Cindy and walk into the shadowy screening area, dejected at the thought of just how pitiable mankind is.

But as I sat down, dejected at the thought of not having been chased out of the establishment (more specifically because I would now have to sit through a stupid movie for Cindy’s failure), I had a thought. I went back out to the lobby, where Cindy was leaning against the counter, face resting on her hand, waiting despondently for someone else to talk to. She perked up when she saw me coming back.
And she gave a happy “yes” when I asked if she’d like to have dinner with me on the weekend. Probably the “yes” was influenced by her momentary state of lonely, but a yes is a yes however you look at it.

So, we’ll go to the restaurant together, and over a fair to good meal I’ll explain some things to her. Like, say, what a credit card is and how easily it can be exploited by the wrong people.

She’ll never speak to me again, but at least I will have the satisfaction of having helped educate America’s youth on their duty in halting the menace credit card fraud. A good day’s work.

Please Note the date of publication for this three part series “Fun with Plasticine ‘Money’” in deciding whether to accept one word of it as fact. Thank you.

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