Happy Freaking Birthday

Yesterday, I turned 30.

On Saturday, while I was shopping for plants with my girlfriends, someone smashed the window in my Prius and stole my purse.

What was lost? Well, my purse, of course. It was a fabulous bag that I had been sent to review, and I loved it. My wallet, all of my credit cards, license, Kindle, iPhone…..all gone. The gift I had been knitting for my best friend? Gone. Most heartbreaking, the necklace I wore to my wedding was also in there.

I’m trying to be positive: no one was hurt, it’s all just stuff, and two of my best friends were with me. And my computer wasn’t in there. Had this happened on Friday, it would have been. That would have been close to catastrophic. I could have been traveling, but at least I was home. My two friends stayed with me for two hours while we waited for the police, and let me use their phones to call the credit card companies and other various places. Yes, it was a huge hassle. But it could have been way worse.

Here is what I will be doing differently in the future, in case anything like this happens again.

  • Only keeping essential cards with me. I had 7, yes 7 credit cards in that purse. Between my bank accounts, my personal cards, and my corporate and travel cards, it all adds up. In the future I will have my debit cards and one credit card. Period. It will be hard to remember that I have to pack my corporate card for every trip, but all the non essential cards need to stay at home.
  • Making a list of all credit card numbers and phone numbers. Yes, they always say to do this, but I know nobody who actually does. I will be doing it in the future! Even though I had cards through only two companies (Wells Fargo and Citi), I had to call five separate numbers because my cards were in different departments. And since my cards were gone, it was a struggle to find some of those numbers.
  • Making a copy of my drivers license. Again, we all know we are supposed to do this. But who does?
  • Never leaving jewelry in my purse again. After my last facial, I got lazy and didn’t put my necklace back on. I regret that so much now.
  • I also will never leave my purse in my car again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

A few things I did right:

  • I did NOT have my social security card in my wallet.
  • I did NOT have any keys in my purse. My house keys and car keys are on the same chain, which I had in my pocket.
  • There was no cash in my wallet. It was all in my pocket.

One of the most frustrating things about this experience has been dealing with Citi. I have four credit cards with them: two personal ones, a small business one, and my corporate card. I called and spoke to someone in the personal division and explained all of the different cards I have. He assured me that all four cards had been canceled. Well, Sunday I got a call from the corporate card division asking me about suspicious charges. The thieves managed to get $800 spent before Citi thought to call me. Obviously that card was not shut down. This concerned me, so when I got home I found the number for the small business group and called them. Sure enough, that card also was not shut down and the thieves managed to spend $1700 on it. This amazes me, and also infuriates me. I am not liable for any of these charges, thank goodness, but if the original guy I spoke to had told me I had to call other departments, it would have saved them $2500. Expensive mistake.

All in all, it will cost me about $1500 to replace what was stolen, and the thieves got an additional $3500 across all of my credit cards. I have certainly learned my lesson about leaving things in my car. Even when you feel safe, are surrounded by friends, and at a community event, people are watching and won’t hesitate to take your stuff. I feel violated, angry, sad for the memories that are lost, and mad that I spent so much of my birthday weekend dealing with this crap.

But Saturday night, forty of my friends and family joined at my house to celebrate my birthday. I had an amazing party, with fun and laughter lasting long into the night. My husband sneaked out of the house and bought me a new necklace to replace the one that was stolen. So really? I’m very lucky, and I had a great birthday. But I will never, ever leave my purse in the car again.

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Comments

  1. You left your purse in the car? Where? on the seat and in plain sight … just a stupid move, IMO and about the same as those people who leave their car running, or the kids in the car because they’ll be only a few minutes and then are surprised when bad things happen. Same if you lock your purse in the trunk, but you do that while in front of wherever you’ll obviously be spending time – like people can’t see you locking the purse up and noting you gong off on your errands. It really reduces any sympathy you might deserve for having to go through this.

    Xerox your license? WHY? Your passport, sure because you carry the copy not the actual thing when overseas, but your license? What’s the benefit there?

    Your Kindle was with you? You were running errands with friends and had the kindle with you? Do they bore you? Why are on earth would that be a necessary item to have with you?

    Credit cards, you went through that one but why carry “all” debit cards with you? Clearly more than one in the way it was noted, you should have a primary and that is the only one that should be with you for everyday errands. BTW – when you xerox credit cards – xerox front and back and lock the copies up (very important as they are as good as having the card for online txns).

    iPhone – not sure why it wouldn’t be with you, but regardless hope you had some security on there. You didn’t mention calling your mobile operator. That one doesn’t give you any protection (you’d be liable for their phone usage) until you call to have it suspended/closed, and start the process for a new SIM card (not sure of the verizon process)

    Cash – great they didn’t take it, but in the grand scheme of the PITA of this episode, it’d be easier if they took the cash and left you the cards and toys.

    BTW-the cards you leave at home should not be left in plain sight either. Ideally they should be locked somewhere if possible (I’m not very good with that one myself).

  2. @ GA
    I think I already covered how it was stupid, but thanks for reminding me again.

    As for why I would have a copy of my drivers license, that would be so that I have something to show to the police in case I get pulled over. Right now licenses are taking 6-8 weeks to get to you in Texas.

    I did call AT&T and immediately suspend the account on my iPhone.

    My Kindle was with me because I had been running errands earlier that day and the day before, and yes, I wanted to have the book I was reading while I waited at various places.

    I was careless, and I am paying for it.

  3. Roadwarriorette,

    If someone took my purse from my car (and I leave it the trunk sometimes) I’d be in the same position. Drivers Licence, corporate cards, personal cards, ipad, iphone, personal notes, all my errands for the day, cash. All sorts and all of it ‘stuff’ which can be replaced but irritating and upsetting just the same.

    I feel your pain, and thank you for the reminder.

    WL

  4. I’m so sorry! That’s seriously one of my nightmares. I’ve gotten to putting most things in my trunk–groceries, bags from Target, gym bag–unless I’m going straight home. Even if all that’s in the bag is toothpaste and cheez-its, thieves will break in to find out. So sorry that you lost so much and on your birthday weekend!

  5. First Happy Birthday. Second, I’m sorry about your necklace. While the other things are a hassle, I know I would be quite sad if I lost something so memorable.

  6. Dear RW: I’m really sorry this happened to you. No matter how or where you left your purse, no one else has the right to steal it. I hope the rest of your birthday week goes much better!

    Oh, and GA? Try to be a kind human being sometime. You might like it.

  7. That is the worst. I’m so sorry.

    I am impressed that you only plan to carry a debit and credit card. When I travel, I always debate what cards to carry. While I never carry a debt, I do have certain store cards that I like to have with me for their rewards. My first year of travel, I often left them at home and would find myself killing time during canceled appointments or in the airport browsing stores and regretting not having them with me.

  8. Oh, RW, I am SO sorry to hear that this happened to you. And on your birthday weekend, no less.

    Thank you for posting this as a reminder to all of us.

    GA – judgmental, much? Nothing like kicking someone when they’re down. Geez.

  9. Road Warriorette,

    First off – Happy belated Birthday!!!!
    Ugh, I HATE thieves!! For what it is worth, the same thing happened to me – but here is the kicker. I got to watch the whole thing (29 seconds start to finish) on videotape. The bad news – the cameras weren’t angled to get a license number!!!
    Excellent tips for minimizing the damage in the future – when my purse was stolen I did have copies of everything and it did make it much easier.
    I am glad though that you weren’t hurt and that despite the hassles you were able to enjoy your birthday – glad the thieves didn’t take that from you too!!!

    P.S. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it each week!!!

  10. Sorry this happened to you.
    That first reply from GA is ridiculous, where did GA come from? the scum of the earth? sorry you even have to deal with readers like that, too!
    Congrats on the new necklace and having a party with good friends though!

  11. First of all, hope the rest of your birthday week goes better!

    I’m sorry to hear that the purse was stolen. Even if it’s a plain sight (and especially if it’s left accidentally) doesn’t that someone else has a right to break into the car and steal it. (I’ve had left my wallet in my car once in the coffee holder as it was a little bulky. Fortunately, it was late at night and I was in a safe neighborhood, and no one stole it. Still, it’s got a number of credit cards that would be a hassle to cancel).

    The first response from GA was just uncalled for. A little compassion goes a long way…

  12. RW – what a terrible way to start your birthday celebration. Being violating in this way is terrible enough on a normal day but your birthday!

    You are being quite positive about the whole deal and still finding how to improve the situation. You seemed to have learned a lot from this.

    Your tips are always great. I learn so much on how to travel light from you especially as I’m embarking on a work related trip today. I’m keeping safety in mind as well.

    Regrading GA’s comments; clearly GA has never been robbed before or he/she would understand the complexity of emotions that occurs when it happens.

  13. If someone took my purse from my car (and I leave it the trunk sometimes) I’d be in the same position. Drivers Licence, corporate cards, personal cards, ipad, iphone, personal notes, all my errands for the day, cash. All sorts and all of it ‘stuff’ which can be replaced but irritating and upsetting just the same.thank you!

  14. First of all, hope the rest of your birthday week goes better!

    I’m sorry to hear that the purse was stolen. Even if it’s a plain sight (and especially if it’s left accidentally) doesn’t that someone else has a right to break into the car and steal it. (I’ve had left my wallet in my car once in the coffee holder as it was a little bulky. Fortunately, it was late at night and I was in a safe neighborhood, and no one stole it. Still, it’s got a number of credit cards that would be a hassle to cancel).

    The first response from GA was just uncalled for. A little compassion goes a long way…

  15. Ok, I am sorry that you have being mugged, but one thing I will never understand when it comes to chicks…
    You spend small fortune on your bags, put in there what-not, phone, money, make up and so on, and eventually leave it in car?
    Seriously?
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage anything related to stealing or similar, just you basically invited them to mug you 🙁

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about your misfortune and appreciate you sharing your advice. On a happier note, I’ve been perusing the archives of your blog (I’m new to both your blog and to the working world- just graduated) and have now learned that we share a birthday. So, happy birthday several months late!

  17. Drivers Licence, corporate cards, personal cards, ipad, iphone, personal notes, all my errands for the day, cash. All sorts and all of it ‘stuff’ which can be replaced but irritating and upsetting just the same.thank you!

  18. First Happy Birthday. Second, I’m sorry about your necklace. While the other things are a hassle, I know I would be quite sad if I lost something so memorable.

  19. actually,almost the same incident occour with me,i was returning to my home after one of the interview and in between i lost my wallet that contained my all ids,atm card and pen card and my whole money was inside it,when i reached nearby to my house and was searching my wallet for giving him money,i became very shocked there were nothing in my hand i left only with some coins.
    so i can understand ur situation very well…..

  20. I am impressed that you only plan to carry a debit and credit card. When I travel, I always debate what cards to carry. While I never carry a debt, I do have certain store cards that I like to have with me for their rewards. My first year of travel, I often left them at home and would find myself killing time during canceled appointments or in the airport browsing stores and regretting not having them with me.

  21. Doesn’t it leave you with a horrible feeling when you have been robbed. Although often it is not very much that has been stolen… it is the fact the thief has violated ‘your space’ and also knows where you live. Not a good thing to happen on any day.

  22. Got to this in your roundup of previous posts, and just wanted to say I feel your pain! While traveling for business last week, I went to dinner and left my laptop bag in the car (in the backseat but on the floor, so not really in plain view). Unfortunately, thieves smashed my car window and stole the bag – which had my laptop (fortunately a company laptop that was completely encrypted and backed up), a flash drive (that was NOT encrypted and had lots of my financial accounts on it – stupid of me), my passport (I travel internationally frequently on short notice, so I usually have it in an inner compartment of my laptop bag), and of course, lots of miscellaneous stuff that isn’t expensive individually but probably adds up to a few hundred dollars and will take a long time to go around replacing. I feel your pain and am so sorry you had to go through this on your birthday!

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