The workings of the modern world seem unnecessarily complicated at times. On March 3, I put in an order to a vitamin company. I ordered one particular size of a product, but somehow, because I had another browser window open to look at various other sizes of the item, the shopping cart blipped and I ended up with the larger size, which I could never use before the expiration date. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the change until it was too late.
I immediately called the company to ask them to change the order. They said they couldn’t make the change, but since the charge hadn’t gone through, they could cancel the order and then I could reorder. The woman I talked to mumbled something about a hold on my bank account (although these phone folks were in the Philippines rather than India, there was still a bit of an accent problem). So I asked for an explanation. Apparently, as soon as I placed the order, they put a hold on the funds in my bank account, and although they could cancel the order, they could not cancel the hold. So the money was in my account, but not.
Since I couldn’t use the money, I couldn’t redo the order because the money was already on hold. Nice, huh?
Also, they refused to send me an email saying they cancelled the order. So not only couldn’t I use the money, I had no guarantee that they wouldn’t at some point decide to take out the funds.
So, come Monday the fifth, I called my bank to see what my balance was. And sure enough, the money was missing. When I told the teller the problem, she looked further and said the money was there, but it wouldn’t show on my balance until the hold “fell off.” She also said the hold was placed just that day.
So, the company had cancelled the order but two days later still put through the hold. I called the company, and they said they couldn’t do anything about it, that the bank would have to. The bank said they couldn’t do anything about it, the company would have to. And both said there was nothing I could do about it.
Every day for a week I called the bank for my balance, and every day they assured me the funds were still there but on hold. And every day they said that the hold would probably fall off that night. It didn’t.
So I had money but I didn’t have money. Sort of like quantum physics where a thing is both alive and dead at the same time until it is observed, and no one was observing my money.
On Friday, the ninth, a bank employee looked further and discovered that the hold would expire on the tenth, but that because it was a weekend, it wouldn’t fall off until the twelfth. You guessed it. Come the twelfth, the money was still on hold.
The bank wouldn’t tell me what would happen if the hold never fell off. They wouldn’t tell me if they would ever release the funds. They wouldn’t tell me how long they would keep the funds in limbo.
Luckily, before the banks closed tonight, the funds reverted to my account. How does the money revert to the account when it was always there? I don’t know. But such is the nature of quantum banking.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.