On a lazy Sunday afternoon, my black cat lay belly-up on the end of our red couch, his front paws suspended upwards toward the ceiling, a blank look in his eye. On the other side of the couch, I lay in much the same position, only clutched between my paws I held my iPhone. I was scrolling mindlessly through my social media accounts, when I received a new e-mail.
An online furniture store was have a 70% blowout sale. Nice! I had furniture and arguably, I didn’t need new furniture, but I always loved to look. I clicked into the ad in the e-mail and began to scroll around. Virtual window shopping from the comfort of my couch, mentally refurnishing my apartment with my nonexistent money.
A 7-piece dining set caught my attention. I didn’t love the dining set. The colours didn’t really match my decor. What really stood out to me was the absurd price it was listed at. $199 CAD. For a 7-piece dining set! It was unheard of. I knew furniture prices, I skulked around this furniture website a lot on lazy Sundays. Sometimes even one of the chairs in the set could cost that amount.
I figured it must be a typo. So just in case, I decided to put it into my virtual cart. I figured it could be a glitch and once inside, the real price would appear. Then I could remove it and continue exploring the site’s sale.
The price stayed the same once inside my cart. $199. So I decided to proceed to the checkout price. Surely, the real price would appear when it was time to pay for the damn thing, I thought.
But I was wrong. The price didn’t change. 7-piece dining set, $199. By now, I was deep into this game of chicken with website, and I wasn’t going to lose. I couldn’t. I had a secret advantage. The credit card I had linked to this site had been blocked earlier in the week because someone had attempted fraud on it. The bank had alerted me, frozen my account, and sent out a new card that would arrive the following week. So even if I tried to buy the set, it wouldn’t go through. My old card number was blocked.
I pushed the button to finalize my purchase. The little processing icon came up on my phone screen. It spun around a few times more than usual. I thought for sure I had won. But instead of the error message I expected to receive, the page changed. A green banner appeared at the top of the website confirming my purchase. My phone buzzed as it received the confirmation e-mail. Slowly, I sat up. My cat took it as an invitation to curl into my lap. How had I just purchased this dining set?!
The receipt in my e-mail explained that I had purchased the set through PayPal. I couldn’t even remember the last time I used PayPal. Shit. What cards did I have linked to my PayPal account?
“Ant..” I asked my boyfriend warily. “Does your credit card end in 1119?”
My breathing got faster, and I jumped to my feet. My cat weaved himself through my legs. I texted my mom, “does your credit card end in 1119?”
“Let me check,” she replied almost instantly. I breathed a sigh of relief. Of course it was her credit card. It had to be. She asked me to buy stuff for her online all the time.
“Not mine,” she replied a few minutes later.
That’s when I really began to panic. Whose credit card had I just bought a ridiculously cheap 7-piece dining set on?! Pacing around my living room, I tried to dig deeper into PayPal. I couldn’t find the name associated with the card, but I did find the address. When I opened it, I felt sick to my stomach. I collapsed backwards onto my couch. Startled, my cat scurried away down the hall.
My new dining set had been purchased on my exboyfriend’s credit card.