October 3, 2011

The $200 That Made My Life A Little Less Good

Today I was robbed. At least I think I was robbed. It certainly feels like I've been robbed. Something that is rightfully mine was taken and I feel a tremendous sense of injustice. Except that the whole thing was really my fault, so I feel a tremendous sense of stupidity as well.

I had stopped at a petrol station to buy some snacks for the kids on route to my parents' holiday house on the coast. I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd just let the kids stay pekish or eat the two week old cheesestiks I'd found in my bag. But no, I didn't want them to feel the faintest growl of hunger for the long, long ninety minute drive - I mean, god forbid they should do something with their mouths other than chew - and so I stopped at the station.

I headed first to the ATM to withdraw some cash, then made a beeline for the biscuit aisle to grab some Shapes. (And no, I'm not proud of having bought my kids Shapes, but I'm not proud of anything that happened this morning, so there's no real discordance.)

Within a few seconds of picking up the Shapes I realized I'd forgotten to pick up my cash. I'd withdrawn $200, which isn't a massive amount, but it's not small change, either. I raced back the three metres to the ATM to grab my cash which was still waiting in the machine for me. Except that it wasn't waiting at all.

It had gone.

I couldn't believe it. I had been gone for all of 45 seconds and my cash was gone. Where the hell was my cash?

I looked around at all the people in the service station, and there were a few of them. Could any of them have taken my cash? I scanned their faces for signs of guilt. They all looked guilty, though perhaps they were just bored, or hungry; after all, it's not that easy reading the faces of complete strangers.

So I took the direct route. "Did any of you take my money?" I called out to the room at large. "My cash is missing! Did you pick it up?"



"Not me," they all answered, which meant that either none of them took it, or one of them was lying.

I pushed my way to the front of the counter and cried out to the cashier, "My money is gone! Someone took my money!"

"Are you sure?" he asked. "Maybe the transaction didn't go through."

I thought for a moment. It seemed possible, as I was old and demented, so I checked my bank records on my mobile phone. It had gone through all right. The money had been withdrawn. It just didn't make it to my pocket.

"Do you have a CCTV?" I asked.

"Yes," the man said.

"Well can you check it?" I asked.

"Yes," the man said. I waited a minute.

"Well, <i>will</i> you check it please?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," the man said, and murmured some instructions to the female cashier working next to him. She disappeared into the back room, and I waited.

Around fifteen minutes later, she reappeared. "Yes," she told me, "the footage shows a man coming up behind you, taking money, and walking straight out the door."

"Oh," I said. There didn't seem to be anything else to say.

"The bank won't reimburse you if someone else took your cash," the male cashier said helpfully.

"Great," I said. There didn't seem to be anything else to do. I walked back outside to where my husband and kids waited in the car. They ate the Shapes in silence, and I drove despondently to the coast, feeling violated and stupid and $200 worse off.

"Think how many Shapes we could have bought for $200, Mum," my son said helpfully, and I turned the radio on high.

I still can't believe that someone took my money. They would have seen me leave it there, and just decide to keep it for themselves. I'm not a perfect person - far, far from it - but If I saw someone leave their money in a cash machine, I would run after them immediately and give it back. I'm less upset about the money than people can be so incredibly selfish. If that person had told me I'd forgotten my money, I would have gushed with gratitude and felt warm towards humankind. As it is, I feel ripped off and angry, and sad at the lack of caring in this world.

I hope that $200 burns a hole in that man's conscience, I really do. And if by some strange coincidence he ever reads this, I hope he knows that he made this world just a little less good today.


  1. Laney @ Crash Test MummyOctober 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    That really bites. I left my card in the ATM after checking my balance outside the supermarket. Unfortunately I didn't realise until I got to the checkout with a massive load of groceries and two screaming kids. Was gone by then. Had to send hubby back to pay and pick up groceries.

  2. I don't know how people can do that without being torn apart by guilt. I once went to an ATM only to be prompted by the question 'would you like to make another transaction'. It took me a minute to realise someone had left their card in the machine took their cash and walked off. I didn't even think, hit no and took the card into the bank branch to hand it in. I only thought afterwards that someone less scrupulous could have used that opportunity to empty someone's account. 

  3. I would never steal someone else's money. For that is what that man did! But unfortunately not everyone has been brought up the right way like us. I hope something really bad happens to that arsehat.

  4. Omg this is horrible! $200 is a lot of money! Eternal diarrhea to whoever did it!

  5. What goes around, comes around. Fate will take care of it.  But I have my doubts he would be a blog reader... all the ones I know wouldn't EVER lower themselves so.

    Big hugs for your yukky day.

  6. I once had a guy steal my undies and jeans from the washing line...I thought to myself, "well, he must have needed them more than me..."

    I feel the same with people who do these kinds of things...if you're really that desperate for money that you'd something like that, well then maybe you really do need that money more than me...

    Or maybe he just bought some crack...

  7. I've had one of those moments recently... (amongst a run of what must be called the WORST week of my life)

    I live in Brisbane and have one of those stupid "GoCards" which keeps my balance on it so I just swipe on and off public transport. Handy at travel time, but a pain in the bum when it mysteriously goes missing! Assuming I'd just misplaced it in the house or my 3 year old had added it to her toy wallet's collection of cards, I didn't cancel it the moment I knew it was missing (which was 4 days after I'd last used it). Ended up tracking it down to it having fallen out of my pocket directly outside my front gate.. and the bastard that found it just went .. "well clearly it belongs to the person who lives here... after all it is within the 3 steps of their car to their front gate.. but hang it all I'll just keep it AND USE IT..... TWICE.. Bastard!

    The week only got better from there.. the next day I dropped my andriod smart phone and its LCD died :( (at least $180 to fix), then 2 days later ON MY HUSBAND's BIRTHDAY we awake to find  HIS CAR HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE! On his birthday.. what are the freaking odds of that!!! We tried to salvage the day and go to an AFL Grand Final function on the gold coast only to have the ENTIRE NORTHERN HALF OF THE GOLD COAST lose power halfway through the game's telecast! Seriously WTF? Alas though I think our luck MIGHT be starting to turn (*touches wood*) at 12:01am on Sunday (1 minute into the day after my hubby's birthday) we get a call from the police. They have retrieved the car.. its still (mostly) driveable (if you hotwire to start it!) and they caught and charged the guy.. driving it.. 100m around the corner from our house.. IDIOT! But at least we have it back and its fully insured so its our insurance company's problem now!

    Know it doesn't bring your $200 back but hopefully burden shared makes you feel a little better!

  8. Kerri, I sympathise. I lost my wallet in a bar in Perth, once. I rushed back from the hotel, as soon as I realised. The bar staff told me it had been handed in, by a couple sitting near me. I was so grateful, I bought them a drink.
    However $200 was missing, and I still don't know if it was the couple, or the bar staff who took it. At least all my cards were there, but I still have a bad feeling about it.....

  9. oh that's awful. Especially considering it could have been the people you were so grateful too. UGH.

  10. That is RIDICULOUS. Now I feel bad about complaining!!! That is seriously the worst run of bad luck I've heard of in a long time. Glad you got your car back! xxx

  11. So inspiring... till the last line...

  12. You, my friend, are a Woman Of Virtue. xxxx

  13. It was getting be down earlier in the week.. but by the end it was one of those laugh/cry moments that had graduated to laughing hysterically.. like WTF can happen now!... But I'd be totally cranky at losing $200 especially if you were right there! How rude to just take your money!

  14. I found a phone under the table at a restaurant last weekend, the staff were so amazed and grateful when I returned it (gave me a free drink) but it did not even occur to me to keep it.
    It's not mine, why would i? I would be devastated if I lost my phone or wallet etc and someone found it and kept it

  15. That's horrible! I found $50 in an ATM in the pub a while back. I asked a bunch of people sitting around if it was there's and ended up giving it to the manager at the bar and told him the story.

    No idea what happened after that but hopefully someone got their money back.

  16. I'm sorry that happened to you, and that you should be made to feel foolish for what was clearly not you to blame. When something exasperating happens to me, I try to imagine that it prevented something even more devastating from happening - like the creep robbing you at knife point in the parking lot. I hope that doesn't make the world sound worse, but rather in a good world, when bad things happen, is still feels bad, but I can be grateful when it actually could have been even worse?

  17. That is disgraceful! There is no way I could live with myself. My husband laughed at me when the checkout operator at Coles handed me more change than she should have and I gave it back. He thought Coles could afford it but I was more worried about the young girl who might lose her job if her register was down in $$$ at the end of her shift.

    It was a knee jerk reaction too. I didn't even consider keeping it.

  18. Actually it is possible that after waiting 10 seconds the machine retrieved the money and it is now back in teh right account. Worth checking??

  19. There are dishonest people in the world, but also some very lovely people.  My handbag was stolen, only the cash taken, but I had already cancelled my cards. It was only a very small amount of cash, but we  consequently we had a cash flow crisis as access to our money was limited.  I sent hubby with cash to buy a few essential items and two packs of water iceblocks as it was my daughter's birthday and it is customary to take something to school to share.  He didn't have enough cash, so told the checkout op to leave the iceblocks.  As he was leaving the shop, the man in the queue behind him handed him the iceblocks - he had purchased them for him!  Hubby was so flabbergasted he was lost for words and didn't thank him. 

  20. That is divine. And that, I would venture to guess, was NOT the bloke who stole my cash x

  21. Oh I checked. It was withdrawn from my account and the CCTV showed the man approaching, taking the cash & leaving. Sigh...

  22. I'm like you. And we are Good Girls. xxx

  23. Either way, you did absolutely the right thing.

  24. The reality of some people's lack of common decency is a horrible thing.
    Shame on him.
    Power to you - because you know you are NOT scum, unlike some.

  25. I was robbed on a plane once. After buying a drink I put my wallet in the pouch on the seat in front. The guy sitting next to me uttered "make sure you don't leave your wallet there...you never know who might take it." In my head I told him to mind his own business. An hour later we landed...I walked off the plane...and then realised literally 30 seconds after getting off the plane I did exactly what the guy warned me not to do. I ran back on to the plane (which was still emptying) and to my seat. My wallet was gone and so was the guy who sat next to to me. I searched the airport for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. At first I thought I was the only eejit who could be robbed on a plane, but apparently it happens often.

  26. Oh that's a bit shit! :( 

  27. See, this is where I live in a really naive world (it's nice in my brain). If I had found $200 in an ATM, I would have gone out of my way to find its owner. Umm, especially if I had been standing behind them and saw what flavour of Shapes they preferred. DISGUSTING.

  28. Gives Snakes on a Plane new meaning

  29. I found $10 on the floor of a restaurant today. There was no one anywhere near it, so I picked it up and gave it to the buskers outside. Am hoping they'll need it more than the person dining in the posh restaurant.

  30. That rotter will get bad money karma!  $200 is a ton of money and it's just plain mean to take it.. even if he was desperate.  Once when I was a poor traveller working in a bar a guy gave me double the money he meant to.  I was briefly tempted to keep it but I chased after him and gave it back.  He thanked me profusely and gave me a small reward.. I felt awful for even contemplating keeping it.  Sorry you lost your cash.

  31. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.

  32. Oh I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. :( I felt sick just reading about it, and I can't believe the person who took it simply walked away. One word for that person - karma.

  33. A few years ago I found a wallet with $700 in it on the beach while i was playing with one of the kids. It was cold day, no-one around etc. That was pretty much all it had in it...no ID etc etc.
    I phoned the police when I got home and they came to collect it.
    I told hubby that I hoped they would not find the "owner" and I'd get the money.
    Then I forgot all about it.
    MONTHS later the police called me to ask me if I "would like the money" as no-one had come for it. Indeed I did. I smugly rang hubby, who insisted it go into the bloody mortgage :(

  34. $200!!!! That's almost as much as the amount that blew out of your purse and straight down Oxford Street after your launch!!

    Seriously hon, that blows :( I am putting a hex on him. AND a fatwa. xxx

  35. Noooooooooo!!!!!!!! But you go girl. Proud of you x

  36. Oh NO! I'm so sorry!!! (but you have made me feel a little better) xxxx

  37. That is horrendous! Any moral and normal person with a conscience would have never resorted to such a low act.  And I feel for you as I can so imagine myself doing the same multitasking and paying the price.
    May karma come kick his butt BIGTIME and reward you with some sort of $200 bonus in the future!

  38. Recently at a multi-day dance festival in a forest, a stall holder realised he had lost his bum-bag with a few thousand in cash inside. These guys work hard and it was all legitimate and needless to say, he was devastated. Word went out but no one really held hope of him seeing his money again because although mostly good people at these things, you do get every sort of human there. Some people are dishonest or opportunistic or just plain desperate. Some can't afford the ticket price and post ways of sneaking into the festival on various websites for others to make use of.

    Two days after the guy lost his bag it was handed in by a couple of girls... your classic doofer girls, barefooted, dreadlocked hippies who some might consider a bit feral. But they like rainbows and pixie wings, and they apologised for having fallen alseep shortly after finding the bag and not handing it in sooner. All the cash was there.

    Rotten luck that the man behind you didn't have any rainbow in him.

  39. Well that is one thing I haven't messed up yet, but I've ordered food and driven off without it.  It is just plain evil to come behind someone and take their cash.  What he sows is what he will reap.  So sad.

  40. Well, that just totally sucks (to borrow a phrase from the kids). Now, there is a large bank (can't remember which) running a current TV ad campaign which shows real life cctv footage of this exact thing!! You have to go back to the petrol station and get the footage...immediately... henceforth... forthwith.... Public shame and condemnation is what this weasel needs! Send it in and put the robber on air, for all his friends and family to see. If you can't be bothered, then we'll just have to hope he gets some nasty illness or something instead. Hey ho... 

  41.  Karma will come along and bite him on the bum,  for sure.  What goes round comes round is something in which I am a great believer.    Whoever it was it wont  have done them any good and I say Hahaha to that


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