Recently, as my passport was about to expire, I got my picture taken in order to renew it. When the photographer showed me the photo I gasped. That couldn’t possibly be me! He was quick to point out that when he took a course so he could take passport photos the first thing they were told was that if a photo looked good, it wasn’t suitable! That was supposed to make me feel better, I imagine, but it made me realize that everybody is in the same boat. It seems most people hate their “official” photos, be it for a passport or a driver’s license.
None of us can change an official photo, but there are other things we can control . One day, deciding to use a certificate I had received as a present for half a day at a local spa, I called for an appointment. After the arrangements were made, I was asked for a credit card number. I pointed out that this was a gift and that it had already been paid. “We know that,” the lady at the other end said, “but we need a credit card number because we’ll need to charge $25 for every ten minutes you’re late.” I was astonished. I know businesses try to get as much as they can out of their clients, but that was ridiculous. I simply told her that I wasn’t allowed to have a credit card to which she didn’t know what to say. I imagine no one had ever said anything like that!
I have credit cards, of course, but I suspected that with a number on file the spa could easily entice clients to charge products during their visit. And that proved to be the case. After getting a facial, I was offered a variety of products that a person my age had to have, I was told. Luckily I learned along the highway of life not to be swayed when someone uses age as a reason to buy a product, especially the expensive ones.
Last year, I read on line about a new expensive cream that could erase wrinkles. It was being offered for a short time for only a few dollars. I decided to try it, and of course had to give a credit card number to pay those few dollars. I realized that the fine print said that a new jar would be sent to me every few weeks and my credit card charged a ridiculous amount accordingly. I tried the product but was not convinced it was especially effective, so I cancelled my credit card and replaced it with a new one to avoid further charges for the cream.
Sellers may not be happy with clients who manage their credit cards rather than being managed by them, but in an age when credit card numbers are stored “forever” it pays to be vigilant.