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The scams of my youth

Anyone who's done any work in retail knows that one giant pain in the ass is when the store is closing in five minutes and someone shows up at your register with a huge freakin' amount of stuff. Ten minutes before nine and this guy shows up in my line with his shopping cart absolutely loaded, but OK, no biggie, and I start ringing and bagging and just generally doing what needs to be done so I can cash out and go home. It's a $500 order, and at about ten past nine I'm done ringing and we're ready to go. He goes to write a check and -- you guessed it -- he's on our list of people who've bounced checks. Then it's the hassle of first trying to get the manager's attention, and second, dealing with the inevitable fallout. Just what you'd expect: he begs, pleads, cajoles, and I do what you'd expect: play the "I'm just a lowly cashier" card and defer to the manager who politely says he's really sorry, but no. The guy says he'll come back first thing in the morning with a debit card (and he didn't bring this with him why? Oh yes, because he was planning on scamming us out of $500 worth of groceries), and Joe and Jonah end up wheeling two shopping carts worth of crap into the cooler.

This put a bad taste in my mouth for two reasons. First, because it was a giant pain in the ass (and especially at the end of the night), and second, because it reminded me of my scamming days back during the junkie years.

Now, most of y'all know that I'm still close to $40,000 in debt. The first $30,000 was credit card debt -- basically, I cash advanced my credit cards to their limits and used the money to buy smack. The last $10,000 was check fraud. The scam was simple: buy cartons of Newports and Kools with bad checks, then take them to that little convenience store in Homewood that would pay $10 for each carton. The trick was to hit all of the stores in one chain in a matter of days -- go to every Rite Aid in the city, for example -- because after two or three days the checks come back as bad and you get your name on their list.

Ugh. These are not my proudest moments.

This was all in 1995 and 1996, and is screamingly clear evidence of how desperate drugs can make a girl.

On Friday night, unixd0rk and I went to Unblurred, we spent a bunch of time at AFRICArdo's bookstore. While we were there, Maria did henna tattoos on our hands. She asked about the scars on my hand and I replied "I used to be a junkie." She asked if it hurt to do that to myself. I said that yes, sometimes it did.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC)
I suppose it's irresponsible of me to suggest this, but have you considered bankruptcy?
Mar. 7th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
I considered bankruptcy then -- ten years ago -- but someone told my parents that it would be a bad idea (their accountant?) and I (foolishly) listened to them. If I'd done it then, I'd be long since past it now.

My debts have been sold time and time again, and I often get things in the mail offering me deals -- pay this portion of it now and we'll call it even. I'm hoping that maybe now that I have a steady job, I might someday be able to do that.
Mar. 7th, 2005 10:09 am (UTC)
Actually I've read a recent article about bankruptcy on MSN and it said that these days they don't smack you as hard after you declare bankruptcy, and it most cases, especially with credit card debt, it's the best thing you can do. America has become the land of credit and debt. So the credit card companies have become lax with that kind of thing... I think in the article it said you can get a new credit card within 6 months of bankruptcy.
Mar. 7th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'm lucky I never got sued or went to jail on fraud charges. When I was working on Texas Justice, I saw that a lot of people were getting sued by various credit card companies. I think I made my debt a couple of years early for that trend (knocks wood).

Interesting choice of the word "smack," by the way.
Mar. 7th, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
However, with Bush and co... those days may end up being over...

At least you are aware of the situation. That guy that came to you last night is still in the thick of it.

I am reading a really excellent Buddhist nun PEMA CHODRON who wrote several books.. one that I m currently reading THE PLACES THAT SCARE US: Fearlessness in Difficult times.

Our addictions (whatever they may be) keep us trapped. Your observations and the ability to see negative addictions in others is a good start in healing yourself.

I know that sense of judgement is really a reflection of stuff I see in myself.

There is another good bit of writing on the Buddhist Live Journal titled "Turning toward Pain" which is an interview with Pema Chodron. http://www.livejournal.com/community/buddhists/1107120.html?nc=3

Hang in there!

Talk to you soon!

(are you planning on going to the reunion this year?)

Mar. 7th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping to go to reunion again, yes. And you?
Mar. 7th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
Hopefully, yes...

I don't know about doing the entire work project thing... but I want to go for a little while...

Mar. 7th, 2005 07:16 pm (UTC)
Wow... You and Spoerl have that in common then. I never did any of that stuff but I think, including school loans, I'm a pretty close second as far as debt goes. I don't think it's quite up to 40k. Luckily back in the party days, I had parents who unknowingly supported my drug habits. Even more luckily, I don't have those habits anymore. But that does suck about the check bouncer guy. He has probably exhausted all possibilites and doesn't know what to do for food. I suppose a job or something would help him. :-p
Mar. 7th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
Well, I had a job at the time of the credit card debt ... didn't help much. It's all in the priorities, you know? And besides, who wants to eat when they're on heroin?

Hey, by the way, doesn't Spoerl have a LiveJournal? Does he EVER update it?
Mar. 7th, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC)
He does have one and I never bothered listing him as a friend. Let me check....

His last update was June 4th, 2003. No, he doesn't update. :-p
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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