Need Food for Thought? Chew on this!

* "Chew on This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder" is a book of inspirational short stories by Gary Brock and Kelly Tuck, and is available for purchase here!

*Words of wisdom for inspirational thought are at the end of the story!


My eyes quickly scanned over the email my wife sent minutes earlier. She asked if I wanted to go ahead and make a payment on our only credit card because it was inching toward the limit. Not very long ago she had wisely requested to receive electronic notification when we were within three hundred dollars of reaching the limit. This was a result of unknowingly hitting our limit and then attempting to pay for a meal at one of our usual spots, and...well, it made us a little red in the face when we had to change our form of payment.

We began using our credit card for all monthly expenses due to a wonderful cash back rewards program. Accordingly, we made sure to pay off the balance every month or we would defeat the purpose of using the credit card as the interest charges would offset the rebates. Several times a year, we would crowd the card limit prior to the payment due date. This happened to be one of those times. My fingers typed out a quick reply asking her to transfer several hundred dollars as an out of cycle payment before we paid off the balance in full at the end of the month, as usual.

After working for several more minutes during the afternoon drag, I stepped out of my office in search of liquid fuel. I poured myself a cup of coffee, noting the office was almost out of coffee cups. A quick glance at my watch reinforced the fact that I had plenty of time to make a dash to the grocery store in preparation for tomorrow. That would work in my favor since I’d been planning to stop at the roadside flower stand right around the corner from the grocery store to purchase some autumn mums for my yard after work.

I wrapped up a few loose ends at the office before driving the few blocks to the grocery store. Pulling into a somewhat close parking space, I walked briskly from my car into the store, strode halfway down aisle nine, grabbed the coffee cups, and made my way to the checkout lanes. The gum on the convenience racks along the checkout aisle called my name. Unable to resist, I tossed a few packs on the belt alongside the coffee cups while I waited for the woman ahead of me to finish paying for her groceries.

The cashier soon rang up my purchase and stated the total. I pulled out my credit card and inserted it into the chip reader payment terminal. After typing in my concurrence on the amount and then my PIN, the transaction went through and I swiftly grabbed my bag of items before heading to my vehicle and driving to the roadside flower stand that was just around the corner. I couldn’t wait to see the selection of mums, knowing they would add to the fall decor of my yard.

I slowly eased my vehicle into the little gravel parking lot before quickly exiting to peruse the mums. Almost immediately, my eyes spied the two mums I wanted to purchase. Their vibrant yellow flowers were symmetrical and would be beautiful positioned at any angle near my pumpkins and gourds. I grabbed the mums and placed them on the checkout stand for payment.

“Did you find everything you were looking for?” the cashier asked while ringing up the flowers.

“I did,” I responded, pulling out my credit card once more, “thank you.”

“Two mums will be ten dollars,” she stated, and I handed her my card.

“Thank you, sir. Oh, let me see...” She checked the drawer under the register before glancing at me apologetically. “I don’t think the manager left the tablet for taking card payments.”

“Let me check my wallet,” I said thumbing through quickly in hopes of finding the amount in cash. I sighed, taking the card from her outstretched hand. “Sorry, I just don’t carry cash anymore. Let me go to an ATM and I’ll come back before you close.”

“Wait a second,” she said nicely, “let me call the manager and see if she can process your card information by phone.”

“Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.”

She called the manager, explained the situation, and then asked, “Do you want to take the information?” She handed me the phone saying, “She can process the payment, but wants the information directly from you.”

I held the phone up to my ear. “Hello?”

On the other end of the phone, a very pleasant voice sounded. “I am so sorry for the inconvenience, but I can help you complete your purchase.”

“Thank you,” I sincerely replied.

“If you’re ready, I can take your card information now,” she said, and I went on to share the card information, expiration date, and my zip code. Then she asked, “And what is the security code, sir?” I flipped the card over and read, “6 – 1 – 0.”

There was a long sigh from the other end of the line. “I’m so sorry, I must have typed something in wrong. It did not take the transaction. Can you please give me the information again? I am so sorry.”

“It’s not a problem,” I said, and restated the card number, expiration date, and zip code once more. “And the security code is 6 – 1 – 0.”

“Huh, something’s wrong; it did not take. I must not be keying something in correctly.” She paused for a moment.

I know there’s room under the card’s limit, I thought to myself in confused concern. And I just used it not more than ten minutes ago for a purchase of less than ten dollars! What’s going on?

“Tell you what,” the manager sighed, “let’s try this one more time. You read it to me, and as I type it in I am going to repeat it back to you.”

“Sounds good,” I nodded to myself. “Ready?”


We went through the same process as before, except this time she repeated every single digit back to me. Flipping the card over to state the security code, I began to read the same numbers, “6 – 1 – 0,” when the young cashier suddenly held out her hand.

“Excuse me, sir” she began politely, “may I see your card for just a second? I think I know the problem.”

“Absolutely,” I handed her the card.

She studied it for a moment before turning it to face me and pointing to the numbers. “Here is the security code: 0 – 1 – 9.”

I chuckled, reading the actual number in disbelief. “Thank you,” I said to her before directing my words back to the manager. “The security code is 0 – 1 – 9, not 6 – 1 – 0. Sorry, I guess I can’t see today!”

The manager laughed. “Well, that did it! The transaction took and you will have an email receipt forwarded to the email of record on the card. Thank you so much for your business. Have a wonderful day.”

“Thanks, you too.” Returning the phone back to the clerk, I smiled. “And thank you for helping me.”

She nodded with a grin. “You’re welcome, sir.”

Just as I was about to slide the card back into my wallet, I glanced down at the security code once more, shaking my head in disbelief. The digits were clearly “0 – 1 – 9.” Where in the world did I get “6 – 1 – 0” from?

The cashier happened to catch my eye and said ever so politely, “Sir, you flipped your card over so you were reading the numbers upside down.”

Smiling as I finally tucked the card away, I said, “Well, that just goes to show you...

* * * * * * *

How you see it really depends