It was stress

On Saturday I went to the Knitters fair with Rachel H. (Those of you who know us will be very impressed to know that we drove STRAIGHT there and STRAIGHT back. We didn’t get lost at all. Incredible, especially in that neck of the woods where we have previously had a very great deal of trouble.) Many of you will also know that I have been on a big yarn diet for some months now, to pay for the new stove. Realistically, I should still be on that diet, but apparently the Knitters Fair, lots of fun knitters, 50 vendors in one place and the rigours of working to finish a book are far more than I can bear and there was a serious falling down (or three) in the yarn department. Sigh.

Now, what you don’t know is that about a week ago I lost my debit card. I reported it gone, but hadn’t yet turned up at the bank to pick up a new one. Round about Thursday I ran out of cash and started waving around my seldom used credit card. I used it for a couple of bizarre international purchases as well as some Canadian stuff in rapid succession, then tucked it back into my wallet.

Then I got to the Knitters Fair (where I was not going to buy anything I swear) and had the aforementioned falling downs in the yarn department. Not having cash, I used the credit card.

Afterwards (and it really didn’t take long to get to afterwards – Rachel H. and I are nothing if not efficient) we went out for lunch where I once again produced the almighty credit card….which was DECLINED. I whipped out another one, but while I was signing I had a horrible feeling. A terrible feeling.

The vendors at the fair were just doing manual transactions. There was no way to know if the card was working at that point, it should have been working…it had been working…. I was pretty damned sure that I wasn’t over limit since I don’t carry a balance on those things, but if it wasn’t working now (which it very clearly wasn’t) then when had it stopped, and when would it start again and what was I going to do in the meantime?

We scurried home (STRAIGHT home) and I called the company. Turns out that if someone who hardly ever uses their card uses it several times in what seems to be several cities or countries all in the run of a day, it triggers their fraud buttons and the card starts being declined until they can confirm if you are really using it, or if it’s been boosted by some horror who’s trying to party on hard via your credit. It takes 1-2 working days to fix it.

I tried to explain to the guy that they had to fix it now. That those yarn people were going to go back to their shops and they were going to run the card and then it was going to be that The Yarn Harlot had stolen yarn all over the fair. I tried to explain that I am, while pretty damned fixated on yarn, not yet so far gone that I would steal the stuff….

I tried to explain about the yarn and the fair and the kits that I got and the price of mohair and that he really had to fix it…but it turns out that Greg at the card company has little or no actual power, and that poor Greg may have been a little flustered by how upset I was about yarn and the whole Yarn Harlot thing might not have gone over very big either.

It will be fixed tomorrow. I have sent emails to all the people I stole yarn from, and for reasons I can’t explain they are very understanding about the fact that I am sitting in a house full of their yarn that I didn’t pay for.

I have promised not to knit it ’til I own it, sometime tomorrow. (This is ample punishment, I assure you.)

I feel better just for admitting it. That’s me. Yarn thief.

I suppose it was inevitable.

223 thoughts on “It was stress

  1. 1 – 2 days to fix? That’s silly. My card is through my credit union and it’s immediately released when I call and confirm my purchases. Also, poor Greg. He didn’t know what hit him, I’m sure, and he’ll be wary of yarn now.

  2. Well at least it was you stealing with your card and not someone else.
    Well you can pet the yarn until it’s legally yours. That should be ok.
    πŸ˜‰

  3. Oh, what a pain! They’ve been getting more and more aggressive about that kind of thing with cards. We pre-bought rail passes online for a vacation in Britain, and they disabled my husband’s card. Which meant I wound up having to make the rest of the reservations (I run a lot of charges through my card for the airline miles, so it wasn’t so unusual for me, I guess).
    But we wound up calling the card companies before we left and saying ‘We’re going to England on vacation. We will be using credit cards. We will be seriously pissed and find a new credit company if you strand us.’

  4. I’m so sorry. I had a funny feeling, as soon as I read “seldom used credit card” that it was going to start being declined. I don’t use them often, either.
    On the one hand, I’m happy to think that if my bank spots an unusual use pattern, they’ll do something about it. On the other, they really ought to have some more efficient mechanism for fixing it once it’s been confirmed the real card owner is using it!
    You probably already thought of this, but it might be good to alert your credit card company that you’ll be traveling, where you’ll be, and that you might be using your card while there. I don’t know, but it might help.

  5. I used to have a credit card company that called me when there was unusual activity. That was nice. I agree, if you stole yarn from me, I would think it was ok for you to pet it until it was legally yours. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh dear, what a pickle. No cash and being taunted by new yarn. DH and I had the same problem while on vacation in the Caymans,and it was our debit card, not the credit card. Thankfully we seem to use that in enought wierd places that it was happily being accepted everywhere. However, I’m glad that these companies do jump on “unusual” behaviour so quickly. It saved my butt once when I lost my card.
    I hope you didn’t scare Greg too badly. πŸ™‚ He doesn’t know the power of knitters.

  7. Yeah, but sometimes the card is being used by some noodle who got the number somehow. I lost my card once and the person who ended up with it bought tanks of gas for all their friends. Three tanks of gas in one afternoon looked suspicious (huh) and so those friendly fraud people stopped the card. But of course, three yarn shops is in no way unusual!

  8. Stop! I’m laughing so hard I practically sent my yogurt down the wrong pipe. It’s wonderful when something dealing with big business/ credit cards and money actually works to your protection – so sorry it gave you a few gray hairs.
    Knowing you won’t knit with it until you own it is such a splendid indication of your character, Stephanie. Thanks for the grin.

  9. Sorry to hear about your credit card troubles. It’s good to know that they are looking out for you, but why do they have to do it at the most inconvenient times??? Was that the Kitchener Knitting Fair? I was there on Saturday and I don’t think any sane person could get out of there without buying something. I picked up beauiful alpaca and some Louet in eggplant as well as some handpainted mohair and wool sock yarn.

  10. Oh, poor Harlot! This has happened to me occasionally. (One thing to watch out for: If you use the same credit or debit card twice at the same gas station on the same day–something not out of the realm of possibility for someone as disorganized as me–some credit card companies will disable it immediately. Apparently, buying gas is the way some credit card stealers check to see if the account is working.) But, a cautionary note: Once my husband’s card was declined while we were on an anniversary trip to Germany. Big embarrassment. He called the credit card company and reamed them out for being too sensitive. They apologized and double-checked. And–whaddaya know–it turned out someone *had* boosted the number and was using it in NYC while we tried to use it in Berlin. So you never know.

  11. OH my oh my–thank you so very much for telling this to us. I too have a credit card that has been left at home for months on end and not used. Now I know what to expect. Its a good thing the card companies do this for us but there must be a quicker method of rectifying it when the owner phones in . Are you going to show us the yarn that made you slip , It must be some yummy.

  12. Oh pish, what’s a little yarn thievery among friends? Who among us could possibly cast aspersions your way? It was a festival. Of yarn. You’re only human.
    Besides, it’s not like you’re some anonymous yarn burglar. You’re THE HARLOT. The vendors would know where to find you.
    Just know that you are not alone. The last time my card got declined, it was in my favorite yarn shop. With a very large bag of yarn in my possession. And it was due to the fact that some n’er do well had actually stolen my card number, had tried to charge up a storm in another state, and had effectively shut down Les Debit Cards. Oh the horror.
    Should we ever meet up in the prison for people who unknowingly pilfer fiber, what will our secret handshake be? Just so we can identify each other in the prison yard.
    hehehehe

  13. I think this happens a lot with CCs. I guess it’s better to be too cautious than not for the card companies, and it’d be a heart-hearted YSO that would take you to task for this kind of mishap. Enjoy your new yarn! Maybe you should even show it to the stove. πŸ™‚

  14. Well, crap. I was using my card on Saturday, and I rarely use it as well. Guess I’d best start calling people…
    We shouldn’t shop together, dude.

  15. My suggestion? Choose another bank. This just happend to us while on vacation in New York City, and I had forgotten to call them ahead of time (who would remember that?). Fortunately, the card was declined when I tried to buy a Metro card from a machine…I called the bank right away to verify and all was well. Shouldn’t take 1-2 days to release the hold, I’m just saying…

  16. Yeow! Wow. Well, fortunately the yarn people are understanding. I can’t believe Greg though…although it probably really wasn’t his fault, although I would have tried to find a supervisor, if I were in Greg’s shoes.

  17. You make me laugh and howl. Just had to get that out, YS. Howl, HOwl, HOWl, HOWL…
    i’m going to try that trick at my LYS!

  18. Yikes – I think my heart would stop too if I thought vendors would wonder if I’d heisted their goods.
    Hmm, well, once the goods are ‘yours’ I can’t wait to see pix of the items that broke through the yarn diet defenses.

  19. It does happen a lot–and it is funny what triggers it. When I went to Toronto in June, I was able to use my credit card just fine in shops and restaurants…until I went to pay for gas at the station.
    While the CC company nicely explained that they red flag ALL gas purchases in Canada, I nicely explained back that wouldn’t have stopped the thief from getting food and party items that were purchased the preceding three days IN Canada.
    But I would have pitched a fit too if it was yarn…they’ll remember you.

  20. That’s a bummer! I’ve had that happen, too. It feels very crummy/embarrassing. I agree w/ these other folks, though — maybe you should get a new company as my card problem also got taken care of immediately.

  21. I once used a FREQUENTLY used card to buy something online for $500 and the credit card company actually called me about an hour later to confirm that it was really me making the purchase. Nice of them, I suppose, and even nicer of them not just to cancel my card instead of calling me first.

  22. Hmm. I DID call my credit union before I went to Europe two years ago, knowing full well that I would be using the card in both Germany and France, possibly in Belgium and Holland as well. (It was a GREAT trip!) I came back to find eight phone calls and four email messages asking why my card had been used internationally.
    Yes, they did get a piece of my mind about “holding” the charges even after I had told them to expect some!

  23. And the lesson is to use that credit card more often. I’ll bet you can live with that.
    Actually we just use the credit card so that we only have one payment at the end of the month. Maybe you should start doing that.
    ????????????

  24. Sorry for your card troubles, I have had that happen too but it has always been just a phone call to fix it. Good reminder because i am leaving for Alaska tomorrow and I know they have yarn there! And there is a lot of area that doesn’t have cell phone service available.

  25. Eep! Not only because of the Fair vendors, but because I’m sure you’re frantically worrying now about the next leg of your tour. Yeah, methinks it’d be a good idea for you to call your card company and let them know you’re staggering across the border again. Just so you don’t have it nagging at the back of your mind. (What am I saying? If you’re guilting this much over the yarn, it’ll be at the *fore* of your mind.) Then have a little chocolate, breathe the new yarn fumes – hey, there’s no way you could’ve resisted, we understand – and maybe some wine or something. By now the sun’s over the yardarm for you; it’s ok to soothe frazzled nerves. πŸ˜‰
    And, um…*drink* the wine, don’t breathe it. (I’m still slowly waking up – it takes a few hours – and can’t do a thing with my brain.)

  26. Oh my goodness! Well, I guess we do want the companies to be at least a little careful. You’re such a good knitting-person to contact all those vendors. When I visited Montana in July I went to one store, and , not being on a complete diet, made a 57.50 purchase. Of course, I didn’t really look at the receipt. When I finally got my monthly bill, I realized it was off by a factor of 10 and I had been charged 5.75 instead of 57.70. I called the store and explained, and asked them to mail me a couple of skeins of something I’d noticed (ahem). She checked and is charging me the balance plus gave me 25% off the two skeins I orderd. Nice, eh? We’re such good people, all of us, as you often point out.

  27. So, do we have to wait until the card is released to see this mega stash enhancement? Pictures, please! πŸ™‚

  28. Poor Harlot. I understand. Sometimes those things get turned off for the darnedest reasons.
    Several years ago, an author friend of mine dared me to read his entire oeuvre– 60 books. First, I bought everything that was still in print at local bookstores. Next, I bought everything else I could find at local used book stores. Finally, I went online and bought the rest from online used book dealers. I had never bought anything online before, and suddenly made 18 purchases in half an hour. You guessed it– credit card turned off.
    The dealers will forgive you as soon as they receive payment.

  29. Remember the Blue Moon bank issue? A lot of inconvenience for the good guys to catch a few bad guys. My CC company caught bad guys using our card in Brazil, which both DH and I found hilarious as the only place we’ve been since we’ve been married is Montana, which is about as far from Rio de Janiero in every way you can think of..heh. I wish they’d find a better way than than stop-card-ask-questions-later method, not having access to credit for emergencies is scary.

  30. Oh lordy. Could you just hear it? “The Harlot stole my yarn!!! That… that… HARLOT!”
    I can’t imagine anyone not understanding, though. All will be well.

  31. If you use a credit card, sooner or later you will either get “declined” for nothing to do with something you actually “did” OR you will get a call that there have been some “odd” (to their system) purchases and could you please confirm.
    On the other hand, if you were selling year, just think of the fun you could have with a bumper sticker that read “The Yarn Harlot Stole My Yarn”! Look how many of us started projects for the Knitting Olympics…or checked out “The Mystery Shawl”.
    Have you thought of marketing “The Yarn Harlot” power on knitters???? It could feed the habit…and yarn is good insulation (stuffed between the drywall and the outer walls…though I don’t know if that would really be such a good storage spot for the yearn itself (Freudian slip there).)

  32. Several years ago I got a call from a catalog co to confirm a purchase “I” had made, since delivery address was not my home address. Only thing is, I hadn’t ordered anything from them- and it was charged to my debit card, which I hadn’t lost, but someone had boosted the #. One call to the bank & a few forms fixed that, & I had the money back within a few days for the thief’s other transactions (thankfully, low $ amounts). More recently I ordered new cell phones online for my daughter & myself. The way the website worked, I had to place a separate order for each phone. My daughter got her phone a couple of days later; no sign of mine, & their system didn’t recognize my order when I checked the status. After a few calls I found out that my credit card company rejected the 2nd charge (which was the transaction for my phone) on suspicion of fraud – but they never bothered to check with me! They did correct it quickly, though, either immediately or by 1st thing the next morning.

  33. I called a merchant recently to inquire after my purchase and they said that my card hadn’t gone through. But they never thought to let me know it had been declined until I called them a month later.
    They got a piece of my mind for sure.

  34. I once had a vendor at a fibre fair say “oh, don’t worry about not having money with you. Here’s my business card. Just take your purchase now and send me a cheque when you get home”. I couldn’t believe it (I’m a city girl) but she said she does that fairly frequently and rarely gets stiffed. Fibre folk are so honest it’s heartwarming. (also a bit strange)

  35. You should probably consider changing cards! Mine never took that long! It’s always once I called, they release it immediately! Weird about your card!
    So you are gonna show us your loot when you finally owned it, right?

  36. I work for a credit union where we also use those fraud precautions on credit cards, but it really could have been unblocked faster. Poor Greg, indeed, for apparently being misinformed!
    At least the theft was not intentional!

  37. That’s definitely not a good thing. It always embarrassing when a card is declined, even if you aren’t at fault. I guess we won’t get to see any pictures of the purchases until you own it either, eh?

  38. If you called them from your home phone, and verified that that was indeed you using your card, they should instantly have let it back up for air. The fact that they didn’t means that company gave you extremely poor service. I would loudly take my business elsewhere.

  39. My Mother and I went to Spain a few years ago, and shopped quite a bit on the credit cards. In fact, in lovely Catalan-speaking Barcelona Mom’s wallet was stolen. And then her credit card really shopped but that is kind of a different story.
    When we arrived back in the States, I tried to shop in NY and pay for a hotel room with my one credit card and apparently the First-somebody or another couldn’t get it into their computer brain that I was back in the USA and needed to spend dollars and not Euros. Fortunately Bloomingdales has their own credit card. Yippee! We bought a knitted wool hat.

  40. Oh NO! I would have the same horrible guilt and sinking feeling. But I am glad you got to buy some yarn! I didn’t make it out there to K-W so I’m looking forward to hearing about it from everyone who did. I hope you got some good stuff and will enjoy it without the horrible credit card sinking feeling.

  41. Um, Steph…It’s YOU. First, any vendor that you bought from is going to know how to find you. Second, they’re probably (if they know anything about the knitting blogosphere) so unbelievably thrilled that their yarn may land on your blog that they’re really not going to worry too much about your one purchase. I mean, a sale to the Harlot is one thing, but the well-known “Harlot effect” is priceless.
    Just sayin’.
    (Also, WHERE’S THE YARN PICS?? I count on you for my vicarious fiber thrills.)

  42. It is wonderful to hear you deal mostly with cash. Although, losing that cash card is a very big deal for you. I’m sure the vendors were understanding. But it is a bad feeling when the card is rejected and you don’t know why!

  43. That fraud thing can be such a pain! I had a friend who was stranded in Berlin for two nights because his credit card company did the same thing to his hotel.
    But, soon the yarn will be yours again! It’s like getting it all over again. (Okay, that might be an overly optimistic take on the situation…)

  44. He he. Well I have an admission to make, also. I stole your book! Yup, when you came to the signing in Portland, I stood in line, had you sign the book, talked about single sock liberation, had my picture taken with a big goofy grin…….and stuck the book in my purse and promptly walked right out the door without paying. I didn’t realize what I had done until the next day, when I picked up the book to read it, then it hit me. I called the stored the next week, and while they were rather confused that I had called them to pay after stealing a book, they gladly took my CC number.

  45. At least it was your card and purchases you actually made. Someone charged $150 to my DEBIT card number and I have to wait 5 (business) days to get MY money back. Then an additional 5 or so business days to straighten the whole thing out. It’s enough to make you lose sleep.

  46. Um, Steph? It’s probably not that big a deal, even if you hadn’t called to make nice to all the vendors. It’s not like they don’t know who you are and where to find you.

  47. When I was working in Vancouver my bank started declining my ATM withdrawals. I could still use the debit card.. but if I wanted cold, hard, Canadian cash… no way!
    So I called with some strong words, and was told that if they lifted the restriction I was liable if someone stole my card in Canada and used it to buy maple syrup and Nanaimo bars. That seemed a bit strange to me.. YOU can’t use your card, so if we allow you too, you’re liable for any actual fraud that occurs. I was there for a year and a half so I took my chances! (The only nanaimo bars purchased were by me)

  48. Oh, lordy. Can you imagine poor Greg being told that he’s on the phone with the Yarn Harlot? And that he’s got to make it so that you haven’t stolen yarn, like, NOW? At least you know that you are now one of those work stories that people tell, “You wouldn’t believe who called today!” Meanwhile, maybe no-one would notice if you just knit a tiny little bitty swatch of the new yarn? Or would that just be wrong?

  49. I had that happen to me this weekend. Only thankfully it did. My husband went to the local hardware store and the card was denied. Now I knew we weren’t over the limit. I called and there were 4 transactions from overseas that they had held as suspicious.Good thing they did. I did not purchase these items. Credit card is cancelled and new one being issued. I felt thankful that they had stopped the purchases. Sorry that it was different for you. Enjoy your yarn

  50. > (This is ample punishment, I assure you.)
    Why exactly do you deserve punishment?
    1. Because you bought yarn when you “should be” on a yarn diet?
    2. Because you lost your debit card?
    3. Because you used a credit card you seldom use?
    4. Because you supposedly “didn’t pay for” the fiber you got?
    Come on, think about it a little bit (the following numbered items correspond to the numbered Qs above):
    1. It’s normal for dieters to go off their diets once in a while. NBD. If you completely fell off the wagon, well, that’d be another story.
    2. Everybody loses stuff. This is not punishment-worthy.
    3. If anything, you deserve congratulations for seldom using your credit cards. It could be worse: Some people max out their cards on a regular basis and live that way from month to month.
    4. You did indeed pay for the fiber. Vendors are used to the lag time between accepting CC payment and actually receiving the funds from the CC companies. They will not wait for your money much longer (if any longer) than they would have waited had the CC payment been approved immediately.
    You are flogging yourself too much these days. Life is hard enough already without going around punishing yourself all the time. You sound like a normal human. Give yourself a break, OK?

  51. I would have felt the exact same way. Horrified.
    Meanwhile, in a week of undue stress, I left my AmEx card in a store (which HAD my phone number, by the way). FIVE DAYS LATER I go to use the card and can’t find it. I think back. I check a calendar. I trace it back to the store 5 days earlier and call them (note: large, well-known chain store).
    “Yup, we got it. It’s in the safe.”
    So I call AmEx to see if any charges might have been made on it in the meantime. “Isn’t that strange,” she said. “Merchants are supposed to know to call us if they find a card so we can cancel it.”
    Really, there’s just no rhyme, reason, or predictability with any of these people.

  52. It is a short step from “Yarn Pig” to “That Thieving Yarn Harlot!!”. It happens to me all of the time – if I’m in a strange city – it will work once or twice then shut off and I have to call security to activate. Before I travel, I call my credit union to let them know where and how long & then it doesn’t happen.
    The Yarn People are probably understanding and used to it. You have your blog out for the whole world to see and are not probably going to risk the negative press.
    Cheers

  53. Amazing how forgiving yarn folks are, is’nt it?
    It was a festival after all.
    I am sure all those lovely vendors will understand.
    I had a similar issue with an online purchase of behemoth proportions, and a credit card that had not seen use in many moons. Incidentally, the behemoth purchase was made just after I read your book and learned to knit socks.
    NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in 39 days!I am dusting off credit card once again.(insert wicked evil laughter here)

  54. I had a similar experience a few years ago. It seems that my normal purchasing patterns trigger fraud alarms. I will go for 2 or 3 or even more months hardly charging anything at all & then charge a ton in a few days. This was especially true when my daughter lived 1,000 miles away & I would try to visit her 3 or 4 times a year. And, I confess, falling down in LYS from the yarn fumes may have been involved on a few occasions. But fortunately, Citibank called me before denying any of the charges. But a few weeks ago, I went to an Ulta 3 to buy some makeup & toiletries & the charge (same card) was denied. Like you, I do not carry a balance on my cards [that interest buys yarn instead 8-)]. I was so pissed (it’s embarrassing to have all the other customers think you’re a deadbeat who doesn’t pay her bills) that I called Citibank on my cell phone right there while the clerk was ringing up the transaction on my American Express. CB explained that they had had a security breach (which I take to mean that someone broke into their computer system) which involved only some of their accounts (my other CB account was unaffected). So they closed all those accounts & issued new cards. Only problem was that I didn’t get mine so I get embarrassed in the check out line. Why didn’t they call me when I didn’t activate the new card? Since I am retired, I am almost always home during the day & we have an answering machine. I have had this account for over 20 years – seems like they could go out of their way a little – especially when it was their security lapse that caused the problem!

  55. Here’s to you owning what you stole as soon as possible. BTW, can we see the haul? Those of us on our own yarn diets would like to live through your “purchases” if you don’t mind. Serious yarn depletion can do that.

  56. I didn’t read all 58 comments, but so far I didn’t see a one that said “Knit the yarn!”. Knit it, I say. Knit away and let all thoughts of credit cards and big companies and Greg just slip away….

  57. Heck, those merchants you patronized on Saturday shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to be reimbursed. Think about the merchandising tool you’ve given them: Big signs in the windows of brick and mortar stores, big banners on web pages: I WAS ROBBED BY THE YARN HARLOT!
    I’d be the first one in the door of any place you thought had yarn delicious enough to steal…

  58. My MasterCard was recently shut down for suspicion of fraudulent activity. Since the activity was possibly really happening, they had to send me a whole new card with a whole new number, which – horrors – had not arrived in time for the Knitters Fair. I believed this was a blessing in disguise, and foolishly thought, “I’m just running in to look and get ideas; not to buy.” Oh dear. My friend Visa was still with me and unfraudulent. I stand by my story that I will be knitting Saturday’s purchases up into Christmas gifts. I’d better cast on quick. (OK, actually, I already have.) πŸ™‚

  59. ‘Tis tragic. My mom had a similar problem during a shopping spree. She spent a couple hundred dollars at most in a half dozen stores at a big mall about an hour and a half from where we lived. By the end, the card was getting declined. It was a regularly used card, btw. Luckily, she had a second, so we were able to buy gas and dinner on the way home.
    When she called the company, they said that the next time she was going on a shopping spree, she should call to give them a heads up. So, the next time she did and their response was, Umm. That’s great. Uh, thanks for sharing.
    Morons. I can see why they might flag your account since it was in another country and all. I don’t know why they can’t fix the problem immediately though.

  60. We just had the same thing happen on our vacation to Scandinavia, only it was the card attached to our checking account, which held all of the money we’d saved for the trip (and which we’d planned to use at ATMs for cash withdrawals). I guess paying for a youth hostel in Helsinki and buying souveniers to ship home from a major department store counted as fraudulent activity. Thank goodness for online banking where we could switch funds to a different account!

  61. I know how you feel.
    Whenever hubby and I go on a road trip we have to let one of our credit card companys know we are going.
    Else the second batch of gas for the guzzling RV get’s declined till we call and say, it’s just us, unlock the frakking thing now since I don’t WANT to stay at this gas station till tomorrow.

  62. I just saw you on Knitty Gritty! Good show-maybe I’ll make another attempt at socks.
    I’d be totally lost without my check card! Hope the situation is rectified quickly.

  63. Hey, I was at the Fair on Sat – I would have kept an eye out for you had I known you were coming!
    Hope you had a good time despite the credit card issues.

  64. I travel frequently for business, and I try to remember to call my credit card company when I’m going on a jaunt again, since I’ve got a fairly high line of credit with them and they’re pretty aggressive about fraud-flagging me. I still get calls a lot — “ma’am, we’ve noticed six charges from four states in the past week, is that you or not?”
    What I haven’t seen anyone mention so far is the problem that I run into all the time — getting the credit card statements and having to actually stop and think “okay, was I actually in Pittsburgh this month, or did someone steal my number when I wasn’t looking?”

  65. Just try being the salesperson telling the customer that the card’s declined (ah, my lost shopgirl days.)
    Sorry, my favorite new phrase is “the whole Yarn Harlot thing.” That and Priscilla’s “You are flogging yourself too much these days.” The image… Either might justify a t-shirt.

  66. So… where are the yarn pictures? What did you buy? I was pretty restrained and only bought 5 pairs’ worth of sock yarn. To keep the 20 pairs’ worth at home company. (Don’t tell my husband — any of you!)

  67. This happened to me once. I came back from a trip to Niagara Falls and a few days later went to use my Visa (locally) to charge groceries, and was declined. I called and expressed that I did indeed have my card in my hands. Now, again, we pay them off each month, don’t carry balances, etc. so I found it odd. They asked if I had been in Canada recently. I said yes, but I had not used my card except for phone calls. They said I had apparently used it quite a bit, and sent us a printed statement of activity on the account from the date I entered Canada. I apparently – in my sleep, perhaps? – purchased a significant amount of electronic equipment, subscribed to quite a bit of internet porn, and bought myself some amplifiers – all online purchases, all mailed to a Canadian address. The nice guy at the Marriott’s call center who placed my credit card-assisted calls to the States? Well, not satisfied with his paycheck, he’d aparently scammed my Visa number and had a field day. A $2000+ field day that resulted in my having to cancel the card, go over my bill with a fine toothed comb, spend hours on the phone with Visa, the Marriott and the call center they contract with, and generally made me very uncomfortable and sad and obsessively neurotic for weeks.
    The charges were relieved, the dirtbag was fired, and I got a cell phone that would probably work in the arctic. I will never read my cc number over the phone to anyone again, for any reason.

  68. Well, speaking as one who had my card number “lifted” and partied on hard just last weekend, I was never so grateful to my bank as when they shut down my card and gave me a call to see if it was me that had made all the purchases over the weekend (it wasn’t). It was replaced and thank heavens, I’m not liable for all the partying that went on.
    And if this is going to happen, who is going to be more understanding and kind than yarn store owners??

  69. Various points to consider:
    1. Did you really drive STRAIGHT there? Because I intended to drive straight there, except for 2 1/2 hours I mostly parked on the 401.
    2. You’d think after all the yarn stores and fairs you speak at you wouldn’t another show just for fun. You are a hardened case for sure.
    3. Vendors were surprised I actually had cash. I always bring cash so I don’t overspend at these things. Okay, okay so I debited once at the end but everyone was inpressed about the cash, really. So I assume it will take them 1-2 days to process all the transactions (of those with no cash) and your name won’t be tarnished anyway.

  70. That happened to us once when we took my parents out to a fan-cee restaurant to impress them, and when the bill came…declined! We knew the acct was good, had just paid the bill, were having fun using the cards, but. Being the fiscally responsible people we are, we only had one option (one card each, same acct, both declined, not a worn magnetic strip on the back…) so, my dad had to pay the big bill! How impressive! We laughed about it afterwards but my dad didn’t. He was not amused. (even after we paid him back!)

  71. This happened to us too when we were in Zurich. DH bought a bag at the marathon expo for 70.00 euros. The seller forgot the dot when processing the transaction and it went on the credit card as 7000 euros. 2 hours after the purchase DH got a call on his mobile/cell phone in Zurich from the cc company to check if that was the correct amount for a bag! They knew we were away from home from the activity on our card. We thought it was great service as it could have been an expensive mistake for us!
    Hope you can enjoy your yarn guilt free soon!

  72. I think it was right nice of you to email the vendors from whom you *purchased* yarn and let them know that the cc was not playing nice.
    And just remember – knitters are really understanding people. Now, go pet the yarn until those nice folks are paid, and then let us see what you bought!

  73. Welcome to the club. My credit cards will do that too if I purchase something over a certain $ value. I don’t know what that dollar value is, but I am pretty sure it is less than the price of an average 1 way ticket to anywhere in the United States. They’ve been pretty good about fixing it when I call, but normally I’m already paying the price of not having valid cash supply.

  74. You know, that’s really a good idea. You ought (in all good conscience) to see if any of the vendors have websites and link to them. It’s the least you can do for stealing their yarn. They’ll appreciate it. πŸ™‚

  75. Someone I can totally relate to- while I did not nick any yarn over the weekend, I did managed to buying yarn for 2 hats, 1 pair of socks, a stole, and a lacy shawl despite the fact that I have 16 bags of pending projects in my stash- yes, not getting to knit ASAP is punishment enough- at least you are an HONEST yarn thief!

  76. i live in the united states of america
    it sounds as if we have to hire a sitter
    to look after you and 911 to pick up the pieces
    modern life is so much fun i used to think you
    were a lot like laurel and hardy but maybe
    buster keaton andthe marx brothers all rolled
    into one if you get into trouble just tell them
    i used to be snow white but then i drifted

  77. While having frozen credit can be embarrassing and a pain, I would far rather the credit card companies were more vigilant than less vigilant. It does seem odd that it would have taken them 1-2 days to fix the issue, however.
    **I always call the issuing company before I travel out of my direct area. Better safe than sorry. Note: If anyone from Canada is travelling out of country with a debit card, you would be wise to re-key your password to a 4-digit number (if it isn’t already) as the ATM’s in many places in the Carribean and the rest of the world only recognize a 4-digit code.

  78. Of course the vendors were understanding – we are Canadian knitters, after all. But poor old Greg. I have a friend who was purchasing things in Ireland (sadly, not wool) whose card was declined. Couldn’t reach the credit card people until the next day. It ends up, a wedding champagne brunch they had sent to newlywed friends, the same day, back in California had come through at the same time, and it was deemed suspicious to be shopping two continents at the same time. BOTH purchases were stopped. Period. The friend was, ahem, upset.
    I was wondering what you were going to start knitting – perhaps the perfect jacket (which will go best with brown birks, I believe). I am still in a state of indecision with my purchases.

  79. Stephanie, be thankful your bank is on top of this. Someone used my son’s (you remember, the K2P2 guy) card to buy train tickets in Europe, and Wells Fargo called use within three hours! I’d rather be inconvenienced that have my identity stolen and tons of charges run up on my credit card. BTW, you can call your bank ahead of time if you’re going to be out of town and tell them there will be some strange-looking charges on your card.

  80. when my GodSister bought qiviut for me, she had to call the card company for the deal to go through. she told the “Greg” there, i know i have enough credit on this card to buy a small country and that “greg” said, “yes M’aam, you do, that’s why you have to call in to use it”

  81. You have called the company and notified the vendors, who now know they must wait 1-2 days before processing the payment. The yarn is paid for on your end, it’s just very slow on their end. You have done nothing wrong, everything right and the yarn is yours.
    Stop flagellating yourself with the yarn and knit with it. πŸ˜‰ That’s what it’s there for.
    (Incidently, I totally understand the guilt. I once picked up 2 newspapers instead of one when I only paid for one. I was about ten or twelve at the time. More than a decade later I still feel bad about it when I think of it.)

  82. Hi there I can relate and my daughter who went to Greece and a Greek Isles cruise this summer alerted her credit card company. She had something like that happen to her once traveling.
    Have fun patting the yarn until it’s yours. Email the one’s you know about and tell them what happened.

  83. While it is commendable your credit card company is monitoring accounts for unusual activity, you were basically a victim of all of those people who are commiting the crime of identity theft. No, your identity was not stolen, but if people acted in an honest, ethical way, then the credit card companies would not need to monitor accounts in the way they do.
    Knit the yarn, the vendors will be paid, thanks to you notifying the credit card company promptly, but you should not have to have done that.

  84. Strange. When I had ‘unusual’ transactions on my credit card, they called me to check it out before taking any action. Then, since it was me making the purchases, they left it alone. Ever since though, I find myself wondering if I’ll get a call any time I purchase something that’s a little out of character for me.

  85. Note to self – when traveling, carry an AmEx travellers cheque (widely accepted, can be replaced if stolen) or the equivalent as an emergency backup. I used to do that 20 years ago and it’s as good an idea now as it was then.
    Here’s a tip for those rarely-used cards: check if the company has an “alert” feature. I discovered just this weekend that mine does. It can send alerts (by email and/or text message) based on a whole slew of events such as a charge to the card or an address change.
    However, the best solution I can think of is a credit card that offers reward points that can be redeemed for yarn. Follow the logic… no more unused cards, no more conversations with the likes of Greg. And the more yarn you bought, the more yarn you could buy!!! I’m sure there’s a flaw in my thinking somewhere, but I’m too busy being captivated by the vision of an infinitely expanding stash of yarn…
    The Yarn Harlot Visa – it’s everywhere you yarn to be. Who’s in?

  86. WAIT! There’s Greg the clueless credit card guy, Greg Kinnear, and wasn’t the first Greg the man who gave you the ride from the airport to your speaking engagement whom many of your readers wanted to marry even though he was already wearing a ring?
    Three Gregs… hmmmmm. Greg means vigilant and watchful, so the first earned the name and your readers’ adoration (if that was his name), you were watchful and classily stalkerish of the second, and the third needs to know when to be vigilant of your credit card account, and when to let you buy yarn. Lots of yarn. Sheep barns full thereof.

  87. That’s odd. I know when – on the more than one occassion – that the oddity or rarity of purchases in our household has prompted a fraud alert on the account, they’ve fixed it while we we’re on the phone (usually from the store) and put the transaction through right away.

  88. I got in, got out, bought only a pin, didn’t buy yarn or get lost, it’s a miracle (thank goodness I had no $ to spend, kids need acting/voice/piano lessons).
    Was taking no pictures part of the “I don’t own it yet” problem?

  89. This happens to me a LOT! We are English, living in Indiana, and if ever we forget and accidentally send Mum flowers using the US credit card…… we get frozen! ‘Foreign transaction’ they yell ‘card stolen’ they yell – you would have thought, after SEVEN YEARS of sending two mothers flowers on their birthdays, that Ch*se would have figured it out by now, but no! We actually keep an English bank account, for just the purpose of sending Mum flowers, so as to avoid any further embarrassment – we were once declined at the Christmas tree farm, trying to steal a Scotch Pine that we’d already cut down and so had no hope of ‘returning’ – all because Mum’s birthday is December 14th!
    So much for Visa and Mastercard being ‘accepted all over the world’!
    Happy Knitting!

  90. ::sigh:: I guess it was bound to happen. Yarn Harlot=Yarn Thief. Too funny, Stephanie. At least you were thoughtful enough to let the vendors know so they weren’t thinking it was a bum transaction. Some people don’t even do that. Soon it will be yours and you can knit with it.

  91. Just so you know, your Knitty Gritty episode aired again today. I only found out right before it came on. Unfortuneately I had to leave to pick up the kids. But I waited until she introduced you and let you talk a bit.
    I have it taped already, so I wasn’t too upset.
    You are getting lots of air time.
    πŸ™‚

  92. lol, it’s kinda like being a famous actor and talking to the one person who hasn’t seen your movies. You’re all “But I’m the Yarn Harlot!! I do this stuff all the time” and the credit card guy is like “Doesn’t matter who you are, blah, blah…”

  93. A friend of mine had someone (in Mexico) “borrow” her credit card number. What a mess she had getting it fixed (2 days would have been heaven for her poor thing). For my 40th birthday my husband (sweetly) bought me a strand of pearls while he was on business in Japan. The credit card immediately screamed “stolen” since it was an American card, with an American address. I explained to the nice person who called our home that we did indeed have that credit card and that the husband was indeed in Japan at that very moment with that particular card. They did NOT however ruin his surprise by saying pearls or jewelry (I figured he was paying for dinner and would be reimbursed on his expense account!)
    And where would pictures be of this stolen yarn?….oh oh and maybe one of you holding up some numbers πŸ˜€

  94. Very funny, because it wasn’t me, but you can tell the credit card company that you do travel a lot, and that if there is unusual purchase they should veto, otherwise if it is” fibrey” to let it go through no matter what the cost is…of course, that would definitely be dangerous and costly…

  95. Been there, done that. You should try it at 1:00 am while driving home from grad school in a rented truck after having just finished exams. I was trying to buy gas, and the guy came out from the mini-mart to tell me that my credit card company wanted to talk to me. I felt a little like an extra in some movie involving a chain saw massacre…..

  96. You did NOT steal any yarn. This is just a little accounting problem, not your fault. The credit card company will fix it, and the merchants will all get their money, just a little bit late. It’s one of modern life’s little inconveniences, but we all should at least appreciate their efforts to reduce fraud. (My DH and I have been victims of credit card fraud, and the company fixed everything very quickly.) Now, more importantly, show us pictures of the new yarn! OK, you can wait until it has been paid for.

  97. I’ve had the same problem. Your card company should be able to fix it a hell of a lot faster than 1-2 days!!! When it’s happened to me they’ve always fixed it almost instantly when I’ve called. I do appreciate the fact that they are looking out for me but…

  98. FYI for next time you have no intentions of buying anything —- you can call ahead and warn them of upcoming unusual activity. I rarely use my card but was planning a trip last spring. I called ahead and didn’t have any problems. I know this doesn’t help now, but maybe in the future.

  99. You reminded me that I bought yarn! I can’t remember if I paid for it with my debit card or credit card.
    I think you need a beer after that fiasco. Especially since you aren’t allowing yourself to knit with it. I will have a beer for you too. Don’t worry!

  100. The scenario Wanett describes is exactly why I don’t want a debit card. But my credit union will soon force me to get one. (By the way, debit cards in Canada sound fine because you enter the PIN for every transaction, no? In USA, you just swipe it and the money immediately comes out of your checking account, no PIN required. If a thief gets it, you’re SOL for several days, potentially bouncing your mortgage check, etc.)

  101. Hi-lar-i-ous. I have heard of the suspicious spending verification before. I think it is a good thing actually … unless you find yourself in the middle as you did. :>)

  102. My bank once turned off my credit card because I’d made too many online purchases in one day, and they were worried it had been stolen. (I’d bought two things – a sewing machine and a DVD.) Weird that it takes your bank a few days to fix it – they reactivated mine so I could go buy dinner that night.
    Now I call the bank whenever I’m doing anything unusual. Most recently I went to Canada for a day and called, just to avoid any possible mishaps. They found it very amusing that I called the customer service number at 1 AM to let them know that I was going to Canada the next day, but that it was really that day since it was after midnight and I was going to be returning to the States Thursday morning, and please don’t turn off my card because I’d be very sad because I wouldn’t be able to buy yarn, but worse I wouldn’t be able to buy food or gas and then I’d be trapped in Canada and I’d starve to death. When they tried to make small talk while the computer processed the request, they got very confused when I explained I was going to liberate the koigu from it’s opressors. (I think they thought I was drunk dialing.)

  103. POOR GREG! Can you imagine this poor guy sitting in his li’l cubicle, minding his own business and suddenly his phone rings. Unaware, he picks it up and is bombarded by some lady having a fit over yarn!! And worse, confessing that now she was a yarn thief as well as a yarn harlot!! Unless the poor man was a knitter, he was probably thinking he was on the phone with, ummm, well, a frenzied fruit loop. I can just see him standing up and peeking over the tops of the cubicles to see if one of his coworkers was hiding under a desk prank calling him….

  104. Greg doesn’t know just how much power you wield, does he? Did you refer him to Ravelry?
    In the meantime, I bet everyone is understanding because they would like to be protected from fraud and identity theft in the same way. I got declined once for $3 at a convenience store. Turned out someone had tried to Western Union the money out of my account. Fortunately for me, they thought I had more money than I did/do, the fraud flag went up and the bank locked down my account. The thing is, I was very grateful. The low-life scumbag of a thief who didn’t know if I needed that money for formula or medicines or rent got declined, too!
    It’s not like the money (well, plastic) isn’t there, there is just a delay in accessing it. Besides, all those vendors, they know where you live, online that is. I doubt there is any need to be fussed about it. Now Greg not getting “Yarn Harlot”, well, that’s another story. In the meantime I would try speaking to someone else to see if they have the clout to push it through faster.

  105. A few months ago I paid for soemthing via paypal. I had paid for something else with the same vendor the day before. All of the sudden my paypal was on lockdown. They wouldn’t pay it. For like 2 weeks. I cried, I begged, they finally relented and the transaction went through, but let me tell you, I thought I was going to die of the horror. I feel your pain.

  106. I had the same thing happen to me. Except it was our debit card, at night, while we were traveling and needed to fill gas.
    Stupid card companies.

  107. Oh my…..on the bright side….maybe Greg will give knitting a try!?!
    I’ll look for a photo & wanted sign when I go to my LYS later today. Ya know….just in case….
    btw, moved this summer & got the dish with DYI! FINALLY saw your Knitty Gritty episode! Way cooooool! Nice nails too.

  108. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking the credit card companies are doing this to protect YOU. Not likely. We had the same thing happen though we had been banking with the same bank for years, and we pay off our credit card completely every month. They are not protecting anyone but themselves; think about it. You are only responsible for something like $50.00, so guess who bites the big one with large sums of money? Yup, you guessed it! We changed to a credit union, and we have been very satisfied thus far. And this after traveling to Manitoba, where we’d never been before. As far as the yarn diet, I’m trying so hard, but there’s a new yarn shop about 10 miles away that is calling to me. . . help!!!

  109. Recently on NPR I heard a very strong argument from a woman who watches and writes about the credit card companies for a living. As you may suspect, they don’t stop the card to protect you, but to protect themselves. They also move around the bill due dates and have them sent to small towns across the country in order to get people to miss their payment deadlines. Beware! I pay mine off in full every month. In their world I am called a “deadbeat.” Crazy.

  110. My bank does that. Once, during a transaction booking airline fares (and you know how likely they are to jump $500 in four minutes), but they are quite good about calling you instantly and saying, “er, is that you?”
    I have taken this kind of call, standing in a store on another continent buying extra suitcases for the trip home, laughing, and trying to remember to say “thank you for keeping me safe”.

  111. We trigger the fraud alerts when we’re vacationing with the motorcycles. We use the CC so we don’t have to go inside to prepay with cash. I ride a bike with a small tank so we end up with lots of little gas purchases in towns not terribly far apart. The cash rewards card we use, will quit working. The Harley-Davidson card sometimes requires that I present the card to the cashier for verification, but doesn’t cut us off. It seems like they understand their card’s market.
    The Yarn Harlot Card doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Accepted for yarn purchases everywhere. I’m thinking that the bad guys don’t buy yarn.

  112. I really wasn’t going to post a cynical comment today because I feel like I’ve been crabby for weeks now but I just can’t help it. I wonder how much trouble a real thief would have had using your card. And why is it that when we’re honest and try to do the right thing, the Gregs of the world get so flustered> Once, I was shopping with my (then) infant in the carrier thing on the grocery cart and I didn’t see the $100 of fish that had slipped underneath the carrier thing until I got out to the car. I went back in to confess that I’d inadvertently shoplifted a lot of fish and wanted to pay for it and you cannot even imagine the look of shock, disbelief, contempt and sheet befuddlement I got from the no less than three people I had to talk to in order to straighten everything out. If I’d been a thief, I could have walked away with a lot less trouble.
    Okay, I’m back to trying to be all happy and positive. Circle slash whining for the rest of the day.
    I can’t wait to see what you bought!
    Barb

  113. Normally the Gregs of the world can unfreeze the account. However, perhaps the old “can I speak to a supervisor” may have been in order due to the severity of the falling down at the fair.
    I always say that if my card is used for anything for dogs, yarn or computers that the company will freeze the account. I am actually relatively talented at recalling, say, the exact last 4 purchases and their exact values or whatever other stupid verification device they are using that day. I usually pre-emptively call if buying gifts going to addresses other than mine. Then again, I try to prevent severe falling down at S&W by taking only cash. 😎
    As mentioned by others, you might want to call Greg again and mention that you, your plastic and your yarn will be on a whirlwind tour of the USA and so if it seems like you are in LA and Wichita on the same day, chances are it really is you.

  114. We’ve done a few things to deal with this proactively. DH travels for work.
    First, on the card that is in DH’s name, I’ve gotten a companion card so I can call the CC company from home when he’s in India or Europe and the thing bounces. They have a real fetish for being called from our home landline phone number.
    Second, I call the CC company before each trip and tell them his dates of travel expense (this spans before the departure because it needs to include the incredibly expensive business class overseas tickets that the business later reimburses).
    Third, I use a separate cc for recurring household expenses so they are never disrupted.
    Fourth, I scan the bills carefully because in India they reveal the entire CC number on each receipt, not just the last four digits.
    If you still feel guilty, post photos of your acquisitions on your blog and list the kind vendors’ names. The advertising burst will more than compensate for any delay in payment.

  115. And I do believe I saw you with something in your hot little hands at the Philosphers Wool Booth!
    Can wait to see what you stole, um, I mean bought.

  116. I’ve compensated for you in a karmic way. I left extra money at my favorite self-serve veggie stand today. Go knit something, will ya?

  117. Yeah. Sorry you got caught up in that – try to be thankful your card company is watching out for you.
    BTW – You can avoid that if you tell the card company in advance that you’re going out of town and might be charging from a different place. We have to do it all the time because of the frequent travel DH does. Then they don’t deny the card at all, as long as the charges are from that area.

  118. We had our credit card blocked while we were on vacation. Hadn’t planned on using them so didn’t notify the company. Hubby got sick and ended up in hospital for 5 days. Thank goodness we had two cards. I always remember to call the company now, before we travel.

  119. Forget the credit card – I want to know what Knitter’s Fair you were at!! Was it by any chance the one in KW? I was there. I would love to have met you, but if you were there I guess you were going incognito, so to speak.
    Kris

  120. A couple years back I had my card stolen (cloned) and received the “we need you to confirm a few purchases” call from the bank. Only my first thought wasn’t “uh oh, my card was stolen!” it was “are my knitting shop purchases going to be declined?!?”
    I had to confirm all the yarn that was mine, and deny the tires (?), eyeglasses (!), and $500 a pop from the ATM that were definitely NOT mine.

  121. Well, if were to put a ban on not knitting with stuff I don’t own…then technically that would be most of my stash, because I DO carry a balance on my credit card, which means I haven’y paid for it yet, right?? So, since I now have to go on a yarn diet anyway, the solution is to pay the credit balance down and then go into the stash and say ” okay, today I bought this, and this, and this” and move it from one side of the stash to the other. One side-store, the other-stash. Whaddya think?

  122. Tripping & falling is my euphemism for yarn purchases. Except I’m always just randomly tripping on carpet & falling on the keyboard. This internet thing is great, but they make it so EASY to procure more, more MORE of the great yarns in the world! What ever happened to crawling under the musk ox & getting the fiber myself? Wait. I never did that. Well, maybe I should have to…..

  123. We were looking for you at the Fair….as my mother said, “If she was there, she must have been wearing a big hat.” We had a great trip – over the border and back. We were stuck at the border for about 25 minutes coming back to the US on Sunday. No worries – we all knit up a storm with the new yarn from the Fair!!
    Our next knitting adventure weekend will be pubs and yarn shops. It will be called: Chicks with Sticks Knitting Under the Influence. We want t-shirts.
    Thanks KW Knitting Guild for a great Fair!!

  124. I know this is not a funny situation. Recently, I’ve had bank / card issues myself.
    I do empathise with you – really.
    But …. Could this be a little Karma biting back ….
    after the squirrel thief stories??
    After all … The Yarn Harlot & The Squirrel Harlot both seem to covet luxurious wool.
    πŸ˜€
    Looking forward to more news of your purchases when your bank allows you to fully own them.

  125. LOL
    I saw you at the fair and your bags were umm.. STUFFED. Like Santa’s pack. My first thought: “Huh. Guess that yarn diet is over, eh?” πŸ˜€
    I love the Knitters’ Fair. It makes me happy. Way more happy than is probably reasonable.

  126. You’re not going to change your blog name now, are you? πŸ˜€ Just to avoid those poor, poor yarn vendors?
    I’ll bet Greg’s face was priceless, while you were ‘splaining to him.

  127. OH NO!!!
    My card did that to me twice while I was in Canada this weekend…. i thought I would have to sell plasma or hit michelle up for a loan!!
    Awesome to see you on saturday… can’t wait to see the garter stitch jacket!!!

  128. I can just see the blog buttons now… “I WAS ROBBED BY THE HARLOT!” πŸ˜‰ I’m sure that any of them would have dropped you an email to let you know if the card was rejected. Yarn people are good people. πŸ™‚
    I had something similar happen the other day. I never use my credit cards but decided to do so to buy a MacBook, printer and iPod since all of the above that I already owned were old and busted. Apparently Apple decided to charge my card in four separate transactions (I also bought an AppleCare Plan). I placed the order right before going on vacation over Labor Day weekend and found myself walking through the campground on my cellphone insisting to the credit card company that it was me and please don’t reject the transaction and no, I don’t have the card handy to verify the numbers because I AM ON VACATION AT A CAMPGROUND. πŸ™‚

  129. I have been reading for a while but never commented, but just had to chuckle, because the same thing happened to me when I went from fabric deprived Ireland to a huge quilting festival in the UK… Vendors were from all over Europe, I rarely use my card, so all the sudden here was this crazed woman buying fabric all over Europe every 20 minutes or so (I was weak, what can I say…I better not go to the knitting show this month!!) After a few purchases I was declined for the rest of the show and had to leave and get cash to continue my crazed spending spree, lol! Had a great time doing it though…

  130. Another way to freeze your credit card is to make a couple of fast purchases at a shopping center where you normally don’t go then quickly return to your car and immediately try to fill up with gas at a station close to the said shopping center… The odd of your credit card being flagged is multiply by 10 if you happen to have no cash or debit card to pay for the gas you’ve just put in your car.

  131. Oh, I am so sorry!! I am sure someone else has mentioned it, but for future trips make sure to alert your credit card company in advance. It usually makes a difference only when traveling outside your home country, but I can see why they’d flag it for fraud with unusual activity even closer to home. Hope it’s all fixed as fast as they promise!

  132. You didn’t actually steal the yarn. And it would only be fraud if you were doing it on purpose and had no intent to pay. What you did was an unfortunate mistake, and one you shouldn’t beat yourself up about. We’ve all had those moments. You did the smart thing, though, and warned the vendors so that they won’t get all the fees tacked on to a declined card. And you promised to pay them and explained the problem, which they will find reassuring, as you didn’t just abscond with their yarn.
    And don’t feel too guilty about the yarn diet thing either. We all have our days falling off the diet wagon. (Me. Today.) At least you don’t have to carry the extra pounds around on your hips and thighs when you do. πŸ™‚

  133. I once purchased quite a lot at a local gift shop where I am “well Known”. The owner wrapped my gifts, bagged them, told me the total. I wrote a check and happily went on my way. A few days later, I went to write a check to another store and there in my checkbook was the check I had written previously. I was so embarrassed!!!!!When I took the check into the store and asked why she hadn’t said anything when I walked out with the check she said ” I knew you would find it and bring it back-no big deal”. Sometimes the world is the kind and generous place we hope it to be.

  134. Aha. I *thought* you looked a little suspicious. Thanks for the timely warning. You can be sure we vendors will be keeping our beady little eyes on you at Rhinebeck, my pretty.
    “Heads up – Light-Fingered Harlot Alert! Guard the sock yarn and laceweight! Quick, somebody secure the roving!”

  135. You didn’t know anything was amiss with the card, so you can hardly be blamed. All straightened out & you even called the people to explain the confusion. I’d say your reputation is fully intact πŸ™‚

  136. …more empathetic tales: The DH left his charge card at the Golf Shop – they kindly notified the credit card company, who ‘kindly’ canceled the card without telling us. Weeks later, while I was traveling alone on a return trip home, found myself stranded at a lonely fuel station off Interstate 10 in the middle of rice fields with No fuel in my tank and a Non-working card (which they would not reinstate without DH’s approval). Fortunately, I always have emergency cash stash tucked way in the back. Second scenario: No call again from a different credit card company regarding the strange charge of $500 placed from the dusty hills of Central Texas (no where near where I shop). I caught the fraudulent charge on the bill because it was to a funeral home, which I called after finding their number on the internet to discover the $500 was actually a donation to a destitute family. The whole thing was a scam — I lost nothing, the funeral home lost everything, the Sheriff is still investigating. The moral to these stories: carry cash stash … you never know when your card will not work or a Yarn Sale overcomes you. But, then again, my life would be much staler without the escapades of The Yarn Harlot, our favourite thief.

  137. I attended the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend and could not help but buy beautiful fiber. Lots of it. I now must go on a yarn diet for the rest of the year or I will be eating Ramen.

  138. Oh honey, I feel your pain, but that’s nothing. Let me tell you about the time I “lost” my Mastercard-linked/debit/ATM card at the gas station. My incredibly wonderful husband, who understands entirely that I lose things all the time, actually had to go & close out the checking account & re-open a new one, which caused no end of bureautic fun with our automatic bill paying set up. It went on for over a month–really. We had to do this because of some safety thingy or other that wasn’t on the old cards & only on the new ones for new accounts. Oh. So guess what I found the next time I did laundry–in the back pocket of the shorts I was wearing at the aforementioned gas station? Yup–you know. (Shh–he still doesn’t know because I want to stay married.) Yarn people are way cooler over a slight, albeit embarrassing, faux pas from the Harlot, but irate husbands are not to be toyed with.

  139. Every time my card company gets a charge they think is a little bit off, they call me to verify…While I appreciate their being totally on top of things and vigilant in protecting me from fraud, I feel…judged…when they ask me if I *really* spent $X amount at my LYS…
    *huge grin*

  140. So you’re paying for yarn with no money and leaving words that can’t be read. You’re having quite the weekend! πŸ˜‰
    Sounds like something I would do too.

  141. All the CC companies are whack. DH and I have separate accounts with the SAME company. When we go on vacation, he has to let them know he is leaving the state, or his cc will get denied on the second gas purchase. I, on the other hand, can use my CC to my hearts content….and have never had a problem purchasing multiple tanks of gas during the course of a weekend.
    Go figure.

  142. I agree with Tracy Above. That would be quite the badge of honor to have the Yarn Harlot herself make off with your goods! haha
    So glad it’s being fixed though!

  143. Totally unrelated to today’s blog, but I’m soooo lame. I went to mapquest the directions to the LA central library and only thought today, let me click on the link for the library. Yikes, you had to make reservations! They are full and even the waiting list it full. Like I said, I’m so lame. So, So Lame πŸ™
    At least I can still see her after, at the book signing. sigh.

  144. I had the same thing happen on a trip to Vegas last fall. BMO Mastercard fixed it immediately when I called from a pay phone and I went out to do more shopping right away.
    It wasn’t yarn but I understand that sinking feeling you get when your card gets declined.
    My partner used his M/C (different bank) and had no trouble at all. It all depends on the company.
    At the Knitter’s Fair we bought fibre……lots and lots of fibre – Ice Blue “Glacier” super wash merino, “South Seas” turquoise/green mohair from Wellington Fibres, Dark brown (almost black) Alpaca and 300g of Cashmere. That sound you hear is me taking a drag on a cigarette. πŸ˜‰
    We live in Waterloo and I’m glad the Fair only happens once a year. We’d be broke!

  145. I have a VISA debit card with Bank of America, and bought some DP needles from Woodland Woolworks.
    I used the card, and with over $500 in my account, the $22.55 charge was DECLINED!
    BUT they removed it from my account. Then, they removed it from my account AGAIN!
    And the worst part was that they denied it (at least three times they LIED to me), and refused to do anything to fix it.
    Repeatedly!
    Eventually (a week later), they gave me back the money they removed, but they just flat refused to let me use my card.
    I’m looking for another bank.
    Just so you know, it was Bank of America!

  146. Doesn’t seem the best system, I suppose. Though it did prevent me from paying for 40 pallets of bailing wire from Finland being shipped to the UK with the use of my credit card. For some reason that one set off a red flag in my credit card company’s algorithm. (Can’t imagine why! πŸ™‚ For that I’m grateful.

  147. Argghhhh! You were at the fair and I didn’t see you. Had I but known I would have brought a book be autographed… though you weren’t an official visitor.
    Saw Debbie New. Ohmigod!
    Had I but known I was ‘breathing the air’ with both of you…
    I wonder if credit cards could put on some kind of thing that says a user is an infrequent user and likely to be purchasing in the area of [fill in the blank]. Not as bad a having to deal with an insurance company….

  148. A similar thing happened to me. We found out my credit card # was stolen just a day after a yarn festival. So the bank instantly stopped my old card, and because vendors at the festival hadn’t run the transactions through yet I too ended up with “stolen” yarn. If I had their # I called, otherwise they just called me once the old card was declined, and I gave them the new number. Unfortunatly, I think this kind of situation happens way too much. If people just wouldn’t steal credit card info in the first place it would be sooooo much better……

  149. You didn’t steal anything, sweetie. You’re just the victim of an overzealous bank. Start knitting.
    I never use my credit card. I use my debit card for everything because a) it’s convenient, b) it’s free, and c) I get reward points which I redeem for knitting books. I’m no fool. My credit card company is sad because I never charge anything. They’re not making any money off of me. They sent me a letter asking what they can do to encourage me to charge more. A lower APR? An “exciting balance transfer offer”? Er…but I don’t want to charge anything, and I don’t have a balance to transfer. They’re telling me they want me to call by 9/22. Why? Are they going to cancel my card if I don’t? This is weirding me out.

  150. I feel for you! A similar thing happened when my 13 year old son went to Australia this summer. I got a letter (2 days after the fact) that his account was overdrawn and they were charging $30 per activity each time he used the card, rather than telling him it was declined! By the time I could get to the bank (with a 13 hour time difference!) he had rung up $300 in overdrawn fees! He had overdrawn once in China last year and they automatically stopped the next transaction – according to the bank teller the Australia ones could go through up to $500 (in case you wanted to pay your house payment?!) To top it off, when I stopped at home after the bank my husband was on the phone with the debit card company wanting my son to call and confirm it was him using the card. The girl couldn’t understand that he was 13 years old, in Australia, with no phone access, and the time put him 13 hours ahead of me (11 at night on a Saturday!). Fortunately, he was at the end of his trip and the bank did refund half the fees (but only when I applied for a regular credit card!). Use your yarn now – don’t let the crazy bank delay your fun!

  151. Ya know, I have called credit card companies BEFORE using a credit card in unusual places – like Mexico, when I hadn’t even gotten near Mexico in 20 years – and had them call my house – while I was STILL in Mexico – to confirm purchases. I appreciate their watching out for fraud…..but when I notify them ahead of time, isn’t that good enough?

  152. Addi Turbo circs: $12.95
    Dream in color handpainted yarn: $16.85
    Being able to tell your grandchildren about the time the Yarn Harlot rifled through your stock, exclaimed with delight over colours and textures, had some sort of seizure and fell down in your shop, and then took home great quantities of yarn in exchange for a worthless line of credit? Priceless.
    If I were one of the vendors you’ve accidentally stiffed, this would be my attitude: I know where you live, virtually speaking. And so I can afford to laugh about it… unless of course it goes on past Thursday. πŸ˜‰

  153. What a funny mix-up. I’m glad it’s being sorted out and I really admire your honestly. (If not your willpower in the face of yarn.)
    I’m looking forward to seeing you on Sunday. Travel safely, and bring a working credit card!

  154. oh stephanie! apparently they only call your HOME NUMBER for security reasons (works real great when you’re on vacation for a week!). you can’t fix it by the web. you can’t call them ahead of time (as i have with my co) and tell them you’ll be away and expect a wave of purchases throughout several cities or states or countries. they won’t even tell you what purchase might be flagged! ARG!

  155. Due to our move, I used my seldom used credit card to buy refrigerator, not long ago. I got a call the next day from the company to verify the purchase. And they apologize they didn’t do that immediately because it was Sunday, and my cell phone was off. Now, it seems the minute my card is swiped, I get the verification call(yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping, lately). You may want to relate this to your card company. I live in Taiwan.

  156. 1. I had your Knitty Gritty episode TiVoed, but it got eaten during my cross-country move. πŸ™ Was very happy to TiVo it again today, as watching you pick up the heel stitches was a huge “AH-HA!” moment for me. Thanks! πŸ™‚
    2. Credit card companies are strange like that. This is good and bad. I’ve had some doozies of stories that I won’t bore you with, but I’m surprised it takes 1-2 days to fix. If you can prove you’re you and you tell them you made the purchases, should be click-click-done!
    Love your blog, love your books, etc. πŸ™‚

  157. It’s the King’s Curse. Seriously. It’s what happens when you come to our town and you don’t drive on all the King Streets.

  158. I do love you. This has been a very bad, no good few weeks for me (car illness, raining INSIDE my brand new condo), but the mental picture of you as a yarn thief (kitted out like Audrey Hepburn in How To Steal A Million) has completely redeemed September for me. Thank you!

  159. Uhm, guys? The credit card company isn’t protecting you. They’re protecting themselves. At least, in the US, the Truth in Lending Act (read about it here http://tinyurl.com/3ygb5a absolves you from owing more that $50 US if the card is used without your say so. Read the fine print, folks.Not that I’m in favor of anyone ever having stolen anything. Steph, remember, that’s not yarn, those are your kittens.

  160. And that is exactly why I cut up my credit cards about 3 weeks ago. They are EVIL!! Great for using for emergencies but other than that they are just wool enablers I am afraid. Good to spend actual MONEY on wool I find. Keeps things in check! (Damn me for being obviously incapable of having a CC but whatever.)
    Hope you got it all sorted out. Know, like me, this would slay me. Good for you for sending em’s to the vendors. I’m sure they understand..

  161. Pet the yarn. It will make you feel better. I got to see you on Knitty Gritty today. I’ve been waiting for this! Awesome job. Nice manicure. Was that taping a whole life time ago?

  162. Ouch, that’s a royal pain. I’ve had fraud issues twice with my card which has resulted in a hyperviligent bank. End result: My card will be declined in Kittery, ME but when I hop back over the border to Portsmouth NH, it works. Apparently, that 5 miles means a great deal to the fraud department.

  163. Poor Greg!!! – having checked the cubicales to make sure it *wasnt* one of his co-workers playing a practical joke, you can just imagine him frantically waving over his supervisor “There’s some crazy lady going on about her stash, and how her needles are ready and she cant pay for her latest hit”..
    Such a wool piggish harlot thing to do! Stealing yarn!!!

  164. Isn’t it incredible in this day and age that they can halt your card but they can’t reinstate it unless 1 or 2 days have passed?
    Bull roar I say.
    I bet the vendors were thrilled to let you steal their yarn (for a bit)- now they have YH stories of their own!
    I wonder if any of Greg’s co-workers are knitters? Imagine finding out the guy beside you fielded an emergency call from the Yarn Harlot. Imagine being a total muggle and fielding an emergency call from the Yarn Harlot.
    πŸ˜€

  165. what part of the country do you live in?
    How far was this drive?
    I LOVE the socks in the previous post!
    LOVE IT
    G

  166. That’s crazy! My bank was able to turn a card back on for me right away. I’m in the US, so maybe the rules are different in Canada.

  167. I have recently been changing credit cards as my “old faithful” one decided to raise my rates. I declined their offer and accepted others. I have one that I use very seldom, because they have a very short turn around time — the time from when you get the bill to when they want their money. I got the (paper) bill on Saturday, and they wanted their money by Thursday! I thought that was a bit extreme, especially since we still pay things with paper checks. I have another card that I just started using. I hope they have a bit longer time!
    Ruth

  168. It was just a matter of time…..from Harloting to theft… what next?
    Our only real question… WHAT exactly was so wonderful that you’d steal it??????
    We must see pics. That would of course be free PR for the aforementioned yarn purveyors/ pushers– and certainly not a part of your punishment!

  169. Ah poor Harlot. I so understand. I’ve made a vow that in two years, I will have no credit cards and frankly no damned bank account. I have credit card companies that can’t get me bills on time, and keep losing my payments. And a bank who assigns me a routing number for my checking account that is incorrect, causing my checks to bounce. According to my friends, the other banks are no better. If they can’t treat me right, I won’t do business with them.

  170. My Hubby deals with this all the time for work. He’s an outside salesman and uses a card when he’s out and about. He is always calling durning trips and before and after to tell them exactly what he’s going to do or did. It gets real old quick.

  171. This happened to my family awhile back when I was in college and my mother made me and my sister authorized users on her gas credit card. The credit card was shut off when they realized there were purchases being made in Maryland and Massachusetts on the same day at roughly the same time. The company actually called my mother to make sure something fradulent wasn’t going on, but as soon as she told them what the deal was, everything was immediately made all better. You’d think with all the technology available these days companies could do things a little quicker. But I’ve noticed that banks get things done quickly when they are receiving the money and like a snail when they are paying it out.

  172. At least you were told why it was happening. I had the same thing happen and all they would tell me was that suspicious activity was going on. I was about to take a trip to Europe. No way was I going to have them turn the card off while I was traveling, so they no longer have my business.

  173. its not supposed to be declined, its supposed to say “call center” or something to that effect. At which time, the vendor is supposed to verify who you are (via id) and the CC company will talk to you and will immediately release the hold.
    Unfortunately, most people see the ‘call center’ and assume you are being declined.
    change credit card companies. they should never have held it that long…
    (can you tell i used to work in a fraud department? lol)

  174. We recently took a vacation to Grand Cayman and I called the credit card company, AND our bank, AND I had my husband call his credit card company to alert them that, should they see any charges from Grand Cayman during that time period, it would be us and no one else! We hadn’t used our cards in some time, so after seeing an article in a travel magazine, we made the calls. We had no problems, which made our lovely vacation even better.

  175. What an awful feeling! That happened to us when we went to Ireland. Our Visa got declined… fortunately we had American Express. When we got home, we called and they said “No-one answered at your house when we called to confirm your purchases!” WELL DUH! We were in IRELAND!

  176. Most vendors are paitient about declined cards. I always get the persons phone # on the receipt then if it is declined I can phone them. I have never been stiffed for yarn and I sell a lot at fairs. Hope I didn’t just jinx myself. Speaking of jinxed I need a favour. I have a shipment of Kauni yarn sitting in the customs office in Mississasauga (sp) and it is just sitting there. All of my customers are very patient but I am loosing mine. Can you rally some knitter’s to go over there with pickets that say release Fun Knits yarn Please.

  177. And I guess we will have the pleasure of seeing all your loot only after it will rightfully be yours?
    I think you should do better than have a credit card problem to be considered an official thief.

  178. First of all, you are not a thief, because you knew that your card was good and you had no intention to steal. Trust me on this — I’m a lawyer.
    Secondly, the vendors would have gotten paid by the company anyway. The only fall-out would have been a nasty knock on your front door by Toronto’s Finest, arresting your sorry arse and carting you off to Kitchener to face justice. At which point, see Paragraph One, above.
    By the way, I saw you on Saturday, and you certainly did seem to be enjoying yourself immensely. I hung around shyly, hoping to catch your eye and say “hi”, but it didn’t happen and I slunk off like the miserable stalker I am.

  179. 1 to 2 days? You can’t be serious! That’s absurd! With my card, they let you keep charging, but they do make a phone call to verify that you meant to make the charge.
    Yarn fair and no money. I think I had a nightmare about that once. (((shudder)))

  180. I had the something like this in July, when we were going to London. I called my bank to ask if I could use ATM machines in London with a US bank, and found out that they needed to put a “travel advisory” on our account, which let the bank know that we were indeed travelling, that it was us using our bank cards in London, and please not to block our account. A lot of US credit cards also do the block thing, my parents had that happen to them when they visited San Antonio, Texas and tried to use their Visa. So, don’t worry, the credit card company will fix it, just pet the yarn until it’s actually yours!

  181. You have to be impressed at their capacities though- I say this as a victim of stolen credit card numbers! Although you normally get a call before they turn off your credit card! If you buy gas and groceries within an hour of each other not in your own area that also triggers a fraud alert. And if you do travel to an odd place and you didn’t buy the train/plane fare on that card, it will also trigger an alert (and I’m betting you aren’t buying your own plane tickets on that card).
    But- they should be able to verify you on the phone and clear your card right away! And with your travel schedule, one would think that would be in your user matrix and wouldn’t trigger the alarm! (if it was just one trip, you always call the credit card company first) Buy MORE yarn and beer when you travel- help them make the matrix stronger!
    And I’m sure none of the vendors will think you’ve stolen the yarn! They’ll just think you bought too much that day and hit your limit! They’ll contact you. And truthfully, they should just give you the yarn! The amount of free publicity they get when you talk up their yarn on your blog….

  182. There are all sorts of things that’ll trigger the magical fraud button. Just remember that this could probably save your butt when the time comes.
    You’ll be fine. I think they have a lot of other customers that they need to deal with before you.

  183. Sympathy, empathy, anything you want in the way of emotional understanding ;(. But the yarn will probably be legally yours by the time I post this comment, so…when do we get to see pics of new stash enhancements (and BTW, curlerchik outed your buying frenzy on her blog, but you probably know that πŸ™‚

  184. Yarn people are SO understanding and wonderful!
    My credit card co. called me when BMFA was submitting the big charge for sock camp and I kindly told the lady to process that as quickly as she could – I appreciated the alarm but to process it ASAP because I HAD TO GO TO SOCK CAMP!!

  185. My husband and I have a business. It can take anywhere from several days to weeks for purchases to clear. The bigger the purchase, the longer the credit card company holds onto our money. In other words, we’re used to it.

  186. Someone else told me a tale very similar to this, and I had a hard time believing it. Really now? They won’t let you use your card when you haven’t reported it gone? Preposterous.
    But you know, when it happens to the Yarn Harlot? Well…
    I believe it now (and apologize to the one I didn’t believe).
    (I am so feeling your pain – not to mention the pain – if only short-lived – of the yarn merchants, since I’m a lot like them at a show…)
    Glad it’ll be fixed in a hurry!
    (((hugs)))

  187. OMG, I love your blog. I have sent the link on more than one occasion to my sister the non-knitter who thinks these odd things happen only to me. She has a chipmunk that taunts her as much as your squirrel taunts you as well. Thanks for making me feel more normal and for another great laugh!

  188. Hi: This happens all the time, and it is very annoying and can be worse than annoying when in a foreign country with not other credit cards. (I now carry two for just that reason.) Once they cancelled us just because of a phone call made from an airport far from home. Other times it has been because my husband was using the card in one country and I was using it in another. (We now have separate numbers.) And we have tried the old call-before-you-travel trick, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference whatsoever. They just cancel when they get nervous. And you and I are left high and dry.
    Paula

  189. My sympathies…guilt like that is just killer. Do we get to see your pretties once they’re all officially paid for? I do so love enjoying stash enhancement vicariously.

  190. You didn’t Steal the yarn you just adopted it, till the official adoption papers come through (ie credit card situation fixed). Until then it’s OK to Pet the yarn, and i suspect you could even swatch prior to the actual adoption coming through πŸ™‚

  191. Why on earth would you think you were in trouble? You called the vendors and the credit card people will take care of their end (although they could do that a bit quicker for you, mine does immediately after verification). I would rather they be cautious. It’s not like we don’t all know that you’re good for it!

  192. We had this happen on our honeymoon – we’d gone to England, then to Spain, and from there we were going to Scotland. My card shut down in Spain, and my husband, who still had a student card and thus a very low limit, had already maxed his out with the plane tickets. So we had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to call the credit card company, and explaining to them that we were in Spain, we couldn’t call them from our home phone number, and no, we couldn’t wait 2 days to get them to turn the card back on.

  193. Oh my. Do you think that talking to a harlot got Greg so rattled that he couldn’t think straight? Did he not understand about pigging out on yarn after being on a diet? Why do they not have more knitter-friendly customer service reps at these companies? I would think that with so many people knitting – to judge by your readership – that more of them would work for credit card companies. Although, it might be hard to knit with those headphone thingies on and being bothered with incessant phone calls, so maybe not. I’m glad you got it sorted out. It’s not nice to ignore yarn. It tangles when you do that.
    Shine On,
    Lill

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