7:40 p.m. I answered. It was the evening shift leader from my plant with a quandary.
This was the shift that worked on Christmas day. Typically the company will provide a meal for that shift and have it catered and brought in. The idea is to provide a bit of special treatment for the folks who have to work on such a uniquely family holiday. But some shifts prefer to spend the money on raw food and cook it themselves. Sometimes they prefer to do this on a later date after Christmas. And that's fine.
Well, this shift had chosen to order some special cuts of meat from Sam's Club, and sent one of their members by on her way to the plant tonight to pick it up. She had with her a company-provided credit card for payment.
All was okay until she presented the card and it was rejected. She had neither a personal credit card (with enough credit on it), cash, or funds in her checking account to pay for the meat, so she left it at the store with a promise to pick it up the next day. The shift leader assured me that they had managed to eat something, so at least they weren't all hungry.
His concern was that a call to the card-issuer revealed that the card was blocked from purchases at Wal-Mart (and by extension from Sam's Club). We speculated about that, but quickly moved on to the real question: How were they going to get their meat so they could Bar-B-Que it tomorrow night?
It seems that nobody on the shift had an extra $100 in cash, check or credit to be able to stop by tomorrow and pay for the meat. (Afterwards, the company would immediately reimburse them.)
We talked about the problems we have buying small items from vendors with whom we do not maintain an active account. But before much time elapsed, I realized that I lived only a few miles from the Sam's Club in question, that they were still open tonight, and that I had sufficient cash and/or credit to buy the meat, put it on ice overnight, and bring it to the plant tomorrow.
So as I type this, two large ice chests full of meat and ice are in the back of my car in the garage. That way I won't forget to take the meat tomorrow morning. I'll ice it down afresh when I get to the plant (we have ice machines!) and it will be ready for grilling tomorrow evening.
And I'll get reimbursed within a week at worst. No problem.
Tomorrow I'll also try to figure out why our company credit card seems to be blocked at Wal-Mart. THAT should be fun.
But I wonder about the issue of no one having a spare hundred dollars at hand. What would they do in an emergency? Does everone really live that close to the edge, barely making it from paycheck to paycheck? Am I so out of touch with reality that my view of having a slight cushion is totally passe?
These people aren't making minimum wage. All make over $20 per hour, and most make over $25. That's over $54,000 per year, PLUS overtime. We have a LOT of overtime. And many are two-income families, meaning the spouse also brings in a paycheck.
Rainy days happen. Doesn't anyone save for them any more?