Shortly before the end of so many of our Bluebird/Serve cards, I was in the US and did something I had not done in a while – I went into OfficeMax to buy gift cards. Since I am not in the US much, most of my gift cards are bought online and it has been some time since I actually bought them in an office supply store. Not sure if the policy there was new, but I certainly learned something new!
Apparently, A Passport Is Not Good Enough ID To Buy Gift Cards
Those of us with Chase Ink products like to buy gift cards at office supply store because we get 5X Ultimate Reward points per dollar, essentially wiping out the card fee and still giving us some value. In the days of Bluebird, it was easy enough to load those and keep on moving. When I used to buy at OfficeMax, I would buy a couple thousand and them drive next door to the WalMart to load them and be done with it. It used to be just that easy.
“A Passport Is Not A Valid Form Of Identification For Us”
But this time, I was in Ohio (not my home state of NY) and popped in the OfficeMax to take advantage of a deal they were running that wiped out the fees and gave me $5 free (cannot remember what the amount was – maybe a $20 discount per $300 spent?). The limit was 2 of the offer so I grabbed $600 in prepaid Visa gift cards and went to pay. The cashier was very friendly and she went ahead and tore off the back, scanned them, and then gave me my total.
However, before she would let me pay, she said she would need to see my ID (those fraudsters that are misusing these cards ruining everything for us again!). I showed her my NYS driver’s license and she asked where that was from. I told her it was from New York State and she said she would have to have a manager come for approval. When the manager got there, she said that I could not purchase the gift cards because they do not accept out-of-state driver’s licenses for identification purposes – “store policy.” I remembered having done the same thing a couple of years before in Utah without any problem so I just figured times have changed and I would roll with it.
So, I pulled out my passport which I had on me and gave that to her. She said, “I’m sorry, a passport is not a valid form of identification for us either.” In a game of forms of ID, I was pretty sure that a passport trumped everything else out there – just check any form that asks for a primary form of ID and a passport will be there just like a driver’s license. I asked her if it was because it did not have the address on it (just trying to figure it out) and she said it wasn’t that, it just wasn’t a valid form to use for ID when buying gift cards.
At this point, I was a little frustrated – this is only $600 in gift cards! I asked her what I was supposed to do and she finally said that they could call a special Chase verification number to make sure my card was valid and had enough limit on it to handle the spending (never had this happen before either). They called the number and, surprise, the card was good to go! 🙂
She swiped it – and it was declined. Thanks to Chase and their fast verification, I instantly got an e-mail asking if I made that purchase. A quick “YES” and we ran it again and it worked. Done! Since this took about 15 minutes, I thought I would try to learn something through this trip so asked the manager what amount triggers this certain ID thing. She said it was $500 because “people use these for fraud and for stolen credit cards.”
Again, it has been a while since I bought these in-store, so I am not sure if this is OfficeMax/OfficeDepot stores everywhere or did I just find a gem of a location? Ever had someone decline a passport as not a valid form of identification? It just seemed funny/strange to me that the only ID people want in other countries when I used my credit card is my passport but that apparently doesn’t work at OfficeMax – at least this one.