Saturday, November 14, 2015

Double Take

When I was a service rep at the home office of Northwestern Mutual Life (1982-86) and routinely entering numbers into its main frame computer, I forced myself to memorize the keyboard number pad so I could input numbers quickly and efficiently. I've typed numbers from the number pad ever since, and rarely use those number keys that sit above the alpha keys. Part of the joy of the number pad is its dedicated decimal point. No reaching over to the center keyboard—it's a compact and easy keystroke to add the decimal.

That intro is by way of background to properly convey my big gulp when the following happened: I was paying a utility online—a small quarterly bill for $33.40—and typed in the amount on the number pad. I hit ‘enter,’ to (presumably) review the payment, and then hit ‘enter’ again to submit the payment.  It wasn’t until I had signed out of my bank account when something triggered a mental double-take—and I signed back in. Yes, the decimal point on the number keyboard had stopped working.The payment I had just set up was for $3,340!

I edited the payment and all is well now. (I also cleaned under the decimal key.) For obvious reasons, I would prefer not to pay forward the utility by twenty-seven years! Let us all be mindful of this powerful lesson: Pay attention when making payments.

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