Column: The donut that left a hole

By Rick “Harv” Giese

It was just a lazy Saturday morning, March 3, 2018.

I sauntered into a local grocery store, where I typically meet with friends for a donut social to settle the world’s problems in the store coffee shop. Having made my choice of two donuts from the store bakery, I proceeded to a nearby solitary check out station to ring for assistance and pay for my purchase.

A bakery worker approached and announced that the register wasn’t working; neither was the credit card machine. I was told I needed to trek a fraction of a mile across the store and go through the regular line to pay, unless, of course I had exact change, in which case she would transport it later to a working register.

I did not have exact change, but asked if I could write an “exact” check. She nodded in the affirmative so I proceeded to write a check for $2.62 (two donuts and a cup of coffee, the breakfast of champions).

Certain that I had sufficient funds in my checking account to cover such a minimal purchase, I wrote the check, handed it to her, and proceeded to forget the incident until a month later.

In the mail I received a notice from the Check Recovery Division of the corporate owner of the store, stating that my check for $2.62 had been returned due to insufficient funds and that I needed to remit immediately the $2.62 plus a $25.00 service fee, therefore $27.62.

My blood pressure rising, I investigated what had transpired a month earlier in my checking account.

Without my knowledge, my co-pay health insurance premium had been automatically withdrawn from my checking account and it had gone up by $20, thus wiping out my reserves. Had the $2.62 check been resubmitted a couple days later it would have cleared, because I made a deposit.

It was either against corporate policy to submit a check a second time for payment, or it would have crushed their bottom line to endure the expense and effort of doing so.

I realized there was no appeal and wrote out another check to corporate Check Recovery Division for $27.62 to pay for two outrageously expensive donuts and mediocre coffee.

The story doesn’t end here. To add insult to injury, my bank assessed me a service fee of $34 for a returned check due to insufficient funds. Now the donuts became totally unaffordable, cha-ching, cha-ching: two donuts, one coffee $61.62. And it wasn’t even Starbucks.

So now you and I both know what the holes in a donut are for.