Back in the day, before Paypal, the ubiquity of using debit cards for purchases, and e-checks, we had to physically write actual checks for our purchases. The horror! Check out lines moved about as fast as Jabba the Hutt running a marathon while consumers not only wrote their checks, but also updated their registry so as to further hinder progress.
During these barbaric and uncivilized times I worked at my local Mecca (shout out again to ES). The Mecca had a dollar limit on check payments, which I believe was $1000. Or perhaps even $500. I can’t correctly recall. Also, if a customer had written high dollar checks within the last three days, the register would notify you of this and often times would require management approval to complete the transaction.
I worked in the electronics department at the time. I came back from break one day and two of my cohorts informed me of a customer they turned away because he had tried to write a high-dollar check for the second time that day. Then they proceeded to deride the man’s pleas for them to accept his check. Jocularity was in the air.
“He said he was a Cincinnati Bengal,” they mocked.
I’d like to point out that this was the year 2000 and the Bengals were the laughing-stock of the NFL during that time. You didn’t admit to anyone you were a Bengal lest you were prepared for criticism. The man was merely trying to convince them that, as a Bengal, he had the funds to cover the check.
Being a hard-core Bengals fan, I was slightly intrigued by this story. Was a Cincinnati Bengal really here? Why would a Bengal shop at this crappy excuse for a retail store? Best Buy was just across street and he could surely afford the higher-quality merchandise there.
I asked them for the name of the man whose claim they were mocking. They couldn’t recall his name so they went through the checks in the register to find the check he had written earlier that day.
“Oh, here it is!” one of them said upon finding it. “His name is Mark Roman.”
I said, “You mean Mark Roman, the cornerback the Bengals just drafted this year?”
The looks on their respective faces was priceless. Their jaws collectively hit the floor. One of them thought perhaps that I was yanking his crank, and began laughing. “Yeah, whatever man,” he said dismissively.
“I’m serious,” I told him. “They just drafted him this year. He is a Cincinnati Bengal. You guys just declined the check of a wealthy man.”
I’ve always chosen to believe that those two caucasian coworkers were merely following the spirit of company policy in declining this check, and not doing so because he’s black. I’ll never know for sure, though. Still, it’s a funny story to tell. We here at the Mecca think your money is no good here, dear Bengal. Write your checks elsewhere.