(The following is a Chez Fred Public Service Announcement.)
Don’t ever get your wallet stolen.
(The preceding was a Chez Fred Public Service Announcement.)
I’ll give you the short version since this post isn’t really about that: I was at Fred Meyer, I had the fanny pack I keep my wallet in up in the top section where you put a little kid, I got up to the front and loaded my groceries onto the conveyor belt, I go into my pack to get my wallet out to pay, gone. Yes, I’ve looked in my car. Yes, I’ve scoured my apartment. It’s gone. And it sucks. Among Things That Suck, I must say that getting your wallet stolen is way up there on the list.
So, what else to do but move on. I’ve spent a goodly bit of this week contacting various and sundry agencies to get my ID’s and credit cards and whatever replaced, and in researching how to go about getting a replacement Social Security card (yes, I know you’re not supposed to carry it in your wallet anymore; I grew up during a time when you did and didn’t worry about it, and never took it out), I discovered that the credit agencies are a little more cooperative when it comes to putting a long-term fraud alert on your credit reports if you file a police report. I initially wasn’t going to bother, because I’m of reasonable mind and I know there isn’t a hope in hell of seeing the thing again. But now, I figure, what the hell.
Which brings us to today’s story: It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I’m in the Seattle Police Department, North Precinct Office. I stride up to the counter, and the officer on duty asks me how he can help me.
“Yes, Officer, I need to file a report for a wallet I lost last Sunday.”
“Last Sunday? Well, why didn’t you call us THEN?”
“Well, I didn’t realize the wallet had actually been stolen yet, and I haven’t had time to come down and do this until today.”
“You should have called us immediately! We would have put an alert on all of your credit cards, and when someone tried to get credit, it would notify us, and we’re off and running and we get ’em!”
Right, because the Seattle Police Department is going to tear themselves away from beating down WTO protestors to mobilize all of their forces in the interest of locating one guy’s wallet.
I admit at this point that I’m a little flustered, partially because I’ve spent the last several days dealing with every pain-in-the-ass agency you can think of, from the Visa to the credit reporting agencies and down to Blockbuster Video, and partially because, as the victim of a crime, I’ve also spent the last few days beating myself up over the same thing, and the LAST thing I was expecting was for the friggin’ POLICE to pile onto the guilt trip I’ve already done a great job of launching on my own.
Sadly, this isn’t the end.
“You should make sure that you call your bank and credit card people and such to make sure all of these cards get cancelled.”
“Yes, I did that the second I realize the wallet was gone, and I’ve been watching my accounts online to make sure that nothing unauthorized gets through.”
“Oh, you had time to do that, but you didn’t have time to call us?”
Sadly, local police aren’t under any obligation to file theft reports, so I have no choice but to stand there and absorb all of this. Finally, after he repeats the above bullet points several more times, I interject:
“Look, I’m here now, alright? What’s done is done, I’m here now.”
Officer Winchell just stares at me. Finally, he reaches for a pad of forms, and in the most magnanimous way possible, favors me with:
“Well, since you’re here now, I guess I’ll take the report for you.”
Gee, thanks for that.
He then asks me when it happened (“Sometime between 4:30P and 5:30P on Sunday, Officer”), where I was (“The Fred Meyer on Lake City Way”), and what was in my wallet, interrupting me to inform me that certain items that would be completely reasonable to be concerned about for identity theft purposes, like my medical and dental benefit cards, “didn’t matter.” Well, jackbag, if they don’t matter, DON’T ASK ME TO TELL YOU WHAT’S IN MY WALLET.
Turn. Sigh. Tappity-tap-tap into a computer. (Next to that computer, one with a photograph open of what I can only assume is a young relative of some kind, apparently what I pulled this guy away from with my invasive official business. I say I assume this was a young relative, but if somehow I found out that it was in fact the kid this guy was cornholing, I have to say it wouldn’t surprise me.) And he hands me a business-sized card with my report number on it, just as magnanimously as he did when he graciously agreed to do his friggin’ job in the first place. Here you go, get out of here, I’ve got a picture to wank to.
And I’ve got nothing left in the tank, and I know that it wouldn’t do a single bit of good anyhow, so I give him a “Thank you very much, Officer,” and go on my way.
So, yeah, there’s the story. I didn’t have a particularly positive opinion of our local law enforcement to start with, and all this guy did was reinforce that with a fine network of titanium steel.
I bet if I sent this card out to the lab, I’d find traces of powdered sugar on it, too.