When credit cards first came out, women were not allowed to use them on their own. If a woman was found trying to use a credit card without her husband’s knowledge, a savvy shop owner would phone the husband to obtain permission. Some husbands would even write on the signature line: CALL HUSBAND, underscored by the phone number to his office.
When the shop owner would call, the husband would have to drop his cigar and put down the stack of money he was counting. The conversation would go something like this:
“Hello, Mr Henderson. I have your wife detained here at Sears attempting to make a purchase using a bank credit card.”
“You have got to be kidding me. Is she buying another vacuum cleaner?”
“I’m afraid so, yes sir.”
“Tell her she had better put it back and buy a cheap frying pan instead because I’m going to pound her in the face with the old one.”
“Yes sir! I’ll release her back in your kitchen in no time.”
We waited until after we got married to combine our finances. We’ve had a few short talks here and there on what kind of purchases we need to discuss, what constitutes a “large” purchase, and what we shouldn’t worry about as we go about our own business. So far it’s going fine, but we have a few more things to do before becoming a strong financial team.
One new leap in the trust game was adding her to my credit card. I do not expect her to go crazy buying things (because I am more likely to do that) but extending the control of a block of credit that I’ve always had complete control of and allowing her shared access was not as simple as ordering another card. It takes a small leap of faith. Sharing finances and credit involves a mental exercise in trust of each other, but usually necessary and done by most couples. For us it was not a problem and has become a welcome change.
Well, I was pleased to find that there is a technology that takes the trust variable right out of the marriage equation. It puts the balance back on the Man’s side. The credit card companies have brought the 1950’s back to the 2010’s with the introduction of a new program called Wife Watch. I no longer have to trust my wife to make sound purchases when I can simply watch her every move.
With Wife Watch, you will get an alert on your smart phone (or an archaic text message if you prefer) every time your wife tries to make a purchase using your hard earned money via your debit or credit card. Your phone screen will pop up with a merchant name, total price, and two buttons for you to answer APPROVE or DECLINE. You can also view an itemized receipt from participating member merchants while you consider your options. With an approval the order goes through without a hitch.
The system will give you 5 minutes to answer while she taps her toes and the store keeper silently makes a bet if she is going to be denied or not. You may let the pressure build if you believe a line is forming behind her or she’s otherwise hurried. She knows she can’t call, pleading for your approval, because it might time out your phone display and she might have to scan everything again. Besides, you told her not to call when MEN are making decisions.
As the pressure builds, if she believes your finger may be hovering over the DECLINE button, she is permitted to begin returning items on the purchase. You will instantly feel relief when you see that total price going down. Then it’s up to you if you still want to sadistically scrub the purchase.
You can even put a ban on certain merchants such as Bed Bath and Beyond, the Grocery Store, or the Beauty Salon.
Wife Watch can also be used for your unscrupulous teenagers. Sorry Jimmy. I’m afraid you won’t be viewing Dunstin Checks In 2 with your friends tonight. It’s simply too scary.