“I Wasted a Good Worry”

The title is a quotation from Franklin, friend of Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown in the Peanuts universe, who receives an A+ on a test after worrying incessantly about it beforehand.  In days past, I was in charge of hanging weekly quotations (known as the Wayside Pulpit) on the display board in front of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, and I tried to find quotations germane to current issues or news.  I wrote the above quotation at the top of the page in my diary for Sunday’s entry.

Susie was still asleep Sunday morning when I headed to Giant Eagle to buy some money orders.  I know that it is quicker to pay bills online, where you can do it without ever leaving home, but I have gotten in the habit of buying and mailing money orders, and I like doing it.  Also, the U.S. Postal Service needs as much mail volume and as much business as it can get, so I like to do my part.

After I go to Customer Care and buy the money orders (which are $.58 apiece–quite a good price), I go to a little table in the deli and fill them out, put them in envelopes, and then drop them in the mailbox by the store exit.  I had set aside a larger money order (over $300), because I had forgotten the payee’s name and address, so I decided to take it home, fill it out there, and then mail it later on.

When I came home and sat at my desk, I put the receipts for the money orders I had sent on one side, looked through my pockets, and could not find the most expensive one.

I ran went back to Giant Eagle (about a 15-minute walk from my place) as fast as I could.  I remember the bells of Holy Name Church, beckoning the faithful to Mass, striking as I left the house and headed back to the store.

I highly compliment the deli personnel at Giant Eagle, who donned rubber gloves and searched two wastebaskets to see if I had thrown the money order away by mistake.  There was nothing there.  At the customer care counter, the cashier remembered my purchasing all the money orders, and she and her manager were able to go through the transaction records and pull up the money order number.

The manager handed me a form I could use to apply for a refund.  The issuer was Western Union, so I went back to the same table, pen in hand, and filled out the form.  (Western Union’s main business these days is wire transfers and money orders.  They discontinued all telegrams and Mailgrams in 2006, since email had completely taken over the got-to-receive-it-now market.)  I enclosed the $15 fee, and mailed it to an address in Colorado, knowing that there would be nothing to do but wait, maybe for as long as a month.

Harpo Marx' telegram congratulating Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) on winning the Democratic nomination for President in 1960.  When I hear "Western Union," I still think of telegrams first.

Harpo Marx’ telegram congratulating Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) on winning the Democratic nomination for President in 1960. When I hear “Western Union,” I still think of telegrams first.  (I have never seen the 1941 movie Western Union, however, nor the 1951 picture Overland Telegraph.)

By now, folks, you probably can guess where this is going.  I came home, resigned to the fact that payment to this particular person would have to wait until the refund arrived–assuming someone hadn’t found this blank money order, filled it out, and cashed it.

Sitting down at my desk, I pulled out my pocket notebook so I could flip through its pages and find a friend’s email address.  And…

Inside the front cover was the missing money order!  I alternated between relief and cursing myself for not taking the extra 15-20 seconds to go through the notebook and make sure the money order had not been hiding in there.

I will always be out the $15 processing fee, but I no longer have to worry about the fate of this money order.

Despite feeling completely silly about the whole thing, I feel relieved enough that I can share it here, and even more relieved that the whole experience had a happy ending.


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