When I saw this story on CNBC, they plugged it as the “23 quadrillion dollar” transaction. As an anecdote, I wonder why they left out the 148 trillion, 855 billion, 308 million, and 184 thousand dollar amounts? Heck, I’d be mad if even my bill was up an added five hundred bucks! Granted a five hundred dollar misstep at a restaurant isn’t newsworthy, but still.
So for those of you who haven’t heard, Wolfgang Puck opened a new restaurant in the Dallas area, Five Sixty, and he’s up charging the big oil tycoons! It wasn’t Puck but Visa who made the boo-boo and it wasn’t just North Texas’ Jon Seale who was overcharged but also another man, Josh Muszynski who bought a 23 quadrillion dollar box of cigarettes at a gas station. Actually, 23, 148, 855, 308, 184, 500.00; the same amount as Mr. Seale was overcharged.
Both men were apparently not totally fazed by this error. Mr. Seale was quoted as having tried to track down Mr. Puck on Facebook of all things; trying to elicit a comment from the celebrity chef – Mr. Seale was unsuccessful.
Then of course there is the matters of the over limit charges to both men; apparently both men were reimbursed for their troubles. You would hope that Mr. Puck or Visa might use this as an opportunity to give these two customers a little something-something. It’s good PR for them; it shows people that good guys do finish on top, and more importantly for Visa, it’s a chance to talk about credit card maintenance, the importance of checking your balances as these two savvy men did, and of always questioning charges for fear of Identity Theft or some other specter in the closet.
You would think that stuff like this would have happened more often. I worked in restaurants and at a gas station before; so I’m familiar with the procedures. At a gas station the attendant is fairly removed from the transaction portion of credit cards, but in a restaurant, for the most part the waiter does all the transactions with the guest in terms of swiping and pre-authorization of the transaction. At many places I’d worked, the server was also in charge of settling the balance and closing the transaction after a customer’s left. With all the average tippers out there who demand a sometimes outlandish amount of service for little reward, it’s a wonder that there aren’t more 23 quadrillion dollar checks “popping up” from nowhere. Plus, a job like a gas station attendant is the perfect fit for a computer hacker who could be diving into your financial records.
It’s something to consider…