I am currently staying in the Twin Cities, soaking up the vibrant city life; museums, sports venues and the many restaurants. I need a few extra points so I thought I would try manufactured spending here in this area. It has turned out to be a little tougher than I thought. A lot of rejections going on up here. So, let me explain.
I started checking the local vendors here; Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Cub Foods, Holiday Gas, and others. Only one would sell me a debit card to me using my credit card as payment. And, they had terms; I could only purchase ONE card per day. So, a lot of rejections and lot of footwork. But, that is okay!
While manufactured spending is not illegal, it is not well understood by those on the outside of our community and it is frowned upon by the credit card companies. The credit card companies are leaning on their vendors to reduce the process of allowing individuals to use their credit cards for the purchase of debit cards. This means you may need to shop around quite a bit.
This simply means I need to try every vendor and often more than once. Have I checked every gas station, supermarket, warehouse outlet, big box store, and outhouse? I have to check and try at every store. And, for those who take rejection easily, they will not continue this hobby, because they will get rejected a couple of times and then quit the hobby. Thus, leaving the market open to us, who accept the challenge.
The difficulty with buying only one card per day, is that you now greatly reduce your profitability per transaction. For example, I buy one $500.00 card. If I am using a card that offers only a 2% rebate, I am making back $10.00 in points or credits, while I expend hard cash of $5.95 to buy and activate the card, and up to $1.00 to buy the money order. Of course your time and gas to get to and from the vendor needs to be factored in. These little things add up and can very quickly eat into your “profits.”
This forces you to think about how to maximize your purchases, how to use other techniques (Green Dot’s cards) and/or online vendors. There are pros and cons to all of these purchasing techniques and it is a matter of research and trial and error on your part. I will follow up with separate articles on these techniques.
The most important thing to do when you experience a rejection or a decline at buying your debit card is NOT to argue with the vendor’s clerk or manager at the moment of rejection. Doing so, just draws attention to us in a negative manner which the manufactured spending community does not need. Simply smile, thank the clerk, and put the card back where you found it. Then move on and try another vendor.
I have found that for some stores it is not a matter of the store itself but the clerk. I have bought at one store, returned the next day and have been rejected by another clerk. And, vice versa. These things happen. Maybe the first clerk missed a memo or a meeting. Who knows? BUT, never, never argue within anyone. Just smile and say thanks!
I was at two stores recently and the cash registers were programmed to reject my payment once I swiped my card. The clerks have no control over this. That is a corporate programming issue, and, it is not the clerks fault.
Just keep smiling and keep on trying.
I would love to hear your experiences and how things are in your community. Drop me a line when you get a chance, you never know, I might just wander over there.
P.S. And, for those who may not have caught the “outhouse” comment, that is a reference to a movie line by Tommy Lee Jones in the great movie, “The Fugitive.”
P.S.S. Returning home from an afternoon out with Average Joe Jr., I noticed a CVS, tucked into a small hamlet, that I had not seen before in my travels. I stopped in and thought I would try and “buy” some debit cards. After being warned about debit cards scams and having to present my personal identification and then having it scanned for their records (as if I was buying cold medicine of all things), they were happy to sell me multiple debit cards. Ka-ching, Ka-ching!