This past weekend, after committing to drive my sister to a debate competition an hour away (and failing to get out of it), I found myself in a strip mall infested part of Stockton, CA. The road there was littered with more roadkill and crazy driver’s than I’ve ever encountered, but the city was kind of charming and the people were friendly. With 10 hours to spare, I decided to go on a gift card hunt.
First stop was a local Rite Aid, where I needed to pick up a phone charger. Three employees were lounging around when I walked in and headed to the gift card rack. All they had were Paypal and Visa gift cards, so I picked up a couple of those. As the cashier rang me up, a man walked in and though he wasn’t dressed in any way that would indicate he was a figure of authority, the cashier asked him if it was ok for me to pay with a credit card. He seemed unsure and when I reassured him that the Moneypaks are the only cards requiring cash because it says so on the front, he ok’ed the transaction.
There were at least three CVS stores in the area, so I headed to the closest one with the help of Google Maps. Strangely enough, there was no CVS at that location. Instead, I found an S-mart grocery store. I walked in and it looked pretty much like a Safeway store, with the gift card rack straight ahead. Later, I found out this was actually a Save Mart, affiliated with the FoodMaxx chain.
I was hoping to pick up some REloadit cards, so imagine my surprise when I found rows and rows of Vanilla Reload cards instead. I grabbed a stash and headed to the register. The cashier didn’t have an issue with me paying with credit cards, though she did get an “override” message on the register when she rang up two cards. She called a manager, explained that I was paying with a credit card and that my ID had been checked. The manager approved the transaction without any questions.
This was the first time I was able to find Vanilla Reloads at a grocery store, something I will definitely explore more, since there are two Save Mart stores in my area. Considering the recent rejections I’ve been getting at nearby CVS stores, I’m happy to have found a new source.
So even though I had to get up at 6 AM on a Saturday, drive through a highway littered with roadkill, finding a way to make 10 hours pass outside of the confines of a Starbucks, and drinking my weight in frappuccinos, it was well worth it.
Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel