The message came by e mail.
Betsy, one of the women in my writing group asked me if I would do her a favor.
I emailed back, saying, “Sure; I’d be happy to.”
That was my first mistake. I learned from this experience to never agree to do a favor for someone unless you had an idea of what that favor was.
The return email from her was, “I need a birthday gift for my nephew. His birthday is in a couple of days and we are traveling right now. Will you please send him a gift from us by going to any pharmacy and buying him a “Steam Wallet? It’s important to get the money to him as soon as possible.”
I had never heard of a “Steam Wallet.”
Betsy wrote back that a “Steam Wallet” was an account in a someone’s name that kept money in a safe place until the recipient took the money out of the wallet for a purchase of his choosing.
She requested that I deposit $200.00 in his account, and she would repay me when she returned.
That took me a bit by surprise. Although I know Betsy, I am not a close friend, and see her only at writers’ meetings. We have never socialized, spoken on the phone or served on a committee together. Why would she choose me to ask to do this favor?
And when would she pay me back? We live about forty minutes from each other, and see each other only at the occasional joint meeting. This request was an odd one, I thought. And asking me to pay out $200.00 was quite an imposition.
I was uncomfortable with her request, and annoyed with myself for agreeing to do a favor before asking what the favor entailed.
I didn’t know where she was traveling, but why was it so easy for me to reach her by email? If she was accessible my email, why couldn’t she buy the card herself?
I tried to get out of my obligation to do her a favor by writing back to her, telling her that me husband and I were leaving shortly for a drive to the Delaware Canal for a hike along the Delaware Canal. Therefore, I said, “I will be unable to go out and buy your nephew’s gift.”
But that didn’t stop her. She answered “It’s fine if you buy the card and deposit the money after the weekend.”
But she originally said that it was important to make this transaction quickly so the boy would have the gift in time for his birthday. Now she suddenly changed the story, telling me that it would be fine if I didn’t get it today, or even this weekend.
So I replied again that we were in an area that makes it impossible for me to buy the gift.
She wrote back immediately, saying, “Oh, please. I will wait until you buy it. You can get it on i-tunes or google.Just make the payments in $100.00 denominations..” And she added “I owe you a lot.”
This woman had the most nerve of anyone I had ever met. I will no longer give her petty excuses for being unable to honor her request.
So I wrote back,” Betsy, I am sorry but I cannot do this favor for you.”
And that was that. I felt better for finally being off the hook.
Then Betsy wrote back, “Sorry to say, I’ve been hacked! Hope I’ve ironed things out by now, but favors for someone on email seldom are real, just so you know.”