Simple purchase leads to wife’s frustration, proposed boycott

This past weekend I was tasked with the simple assignment of walking into Safeway and purchasing a gift card for our friend’s birthday. It did not go smoothly.

We were on the way to the party, so my wife and daughter waited in the car while I ran inside. My wife’s instructions were, “Get a $25 Visa gift card.” I was like, “Okay.” There was good communication there, in the beginning.

There are approximately 14 different gift card mall stations in Safeway, so I was already wondering to myself how long it would take me to find the Visa cards. I am positive my wife was concerned I’d be wooed by another station, and come back with a Cheesecake Factory card instead, thinking that was better. One of the stations is right when you walk in the store, and almost immediately after the double doors closed behind me, there they were—Visa gift cards. It was like heaven was shining a light down on them, making my life easier. I saw one that read “$25,” grabbed it and proceeded onward.

I purchased a few other things before I made it to the register, and somehow ended up spending $80. I got back to the car and handed the gift card to my wife so she could insert it into the birthday card, thus successfully completing my mission. I barely had the car in drive when she said, “Wait, what is this—‘purchase fee?’”

I didn’t know what she was talking about, but for reference she was holding the card in the air and pointing to the big words that read, “$3.95 PURCHASE FEE” with a look on her face that can only be described as annoyed disgust (a look I am very familiar with, by the way). I was like, “What?”

“Did you just pay an extra four dollars on a $25 gift card for no apparent reason?”

I was like, “What?”

First of all, I have never even heard of a purchase fee. What is a purchase fee? That makes absolutely no sense. A fee for buying something is not a thing I ever knew existed. My wife was incredulous I did not see the words “$3.95 purchase fee” right below the “$25.” I tried to explain to her that I saw the “$25” and didn’t feel the need to read any more considering I didn’t know a purchase fee was a thing that could even happen. I asked rhetorically, “Who pays a purchase fee?” to which she replied, “People like you, apparently.”

My daughter interrupted our discussion to ask, “Can I have my milk, please?” My wife turned to me and asked me where I put the milk. I was like, “What?” I had forgotten to bring her milk from home.

The next five minutes or so proceeded with no one speaking to me. I attempted to offset the tension by saying, “Well, at least I saved us a little money on milk today.” No one was amused.

When we arrived at the party, I checked my receipt, and while, yes, there was indeed a $3.95 purchase fee charged, my Safeway Club Card earned me $1.95 off, so I only wasted two dollars. Turns out I’m smart and attentive after all.

I am also boycotting Visa gift cards until Visa agrees to offset this ridiculousness by paying my just-now-imposed $3.95 “spending fee” on all personal transactions. I suggest you all do the same, or, better yet -- just get the Cheesecake Factory card.

Hope you like wasting money, John Smith.

Note: This column appears in the 8/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/10 issue of the Peoria Times.


Bill said…
I had never heard of a purchase fee before this post, so thanks for bringing it to our attention, costly as it may have been. What an outrageous surcharge, and I will be boycotting Visa gift cards with you!