Isn’t in fun when your credit card info gets compromised, and your card gets cancelled… and you have to notify all 38 different auto-billers of the new card number… such a great use of time. Kudos though, to VISA and MC, whose AI fraud-detection these days seem to work quite well. Instantly flagged were $1,000+ online purchases at a number of high-end fashion retailers. Not quite in character for me.
I got sort-of wrongly accused of credit card fraud one time… I was in Calgary, and just before flying home, I filled up the tank of the rental car at the airport gas station before returning it.
Upon landing in Vancouver, I picked up my car from the parking lot and filled it up with gas at that little gas station wedged between the entrance/exit roads to YVR. This was 20 years ago, before pay-at-the-pump was a thing. In fact, before pre-paying for gas was a thing.
I filled up my tank and went inside, and gave the guy my card. He ran it… and his expression changed.
“Uhh… it didn’t go through”.
“Oh, that’s weird… should be fine… I just used it.”
“I’ll call VISA.”
“Sure… actually, don’t bother… here, I’ll pay cash.”
“Yeah… umm… I’m going to call them.”
“Seriously, don’t bother… here’s the cash.”
But he wouldn’t take the cash, and he wouldn’t return the card. And then I started wondering what little message must have popped-up on his machine… Fraud alert? Destroy card? Call police?
It makes some sense… buying gas 2 hours apart with the same physical card… at two gas stations more than 1,000km apart… ok, that’s fair. We got it quickly resolved… but, in fairness, that should have set off some alarm bells.
You know what else sets off alarm bells, but doesn’t get resolved so easily? Disney World in Florida is opening up this weekend.
Trust me, I am well-aware of the financial problems this pandemic is causing. I’m very familiar with plenty of economic forecasts and cash-flow projections that, at present, have zeros for top-line revenue. Do you know how many companies have zeros up there when they’re planning their budgets? Zero. Because, without revenue, you don’t have a business.
Surviving to live another day has been a well-discussed topic, but I’m not going to write about government incentives or job losses… I’m just going to talk about Disney. Disney is a public company, so they have to disclose a bunch of information, and one of the things they disclose is how much cash they have in the bank… defined as cash, or highly-liquid investments that could be redeemed on short notice. Here’s how much cash they’ve had over the last few years:
2017: $4.0 billion
2018: $4.2 billion
2019: $5.4 billion
Up to March 31, 2020: $14.3 billion
I don’t have a clue where that new $9 billion came from. Maybe they bought lots of shares in Zoom. It doesn’t matter… what matters is… that there are a lot of struggling companies that can’t afford to take a hit, but Disney isn’t one of them. They could most certainly afford to sit tight for bit… especially when Florida is seeing record numbers. Like… scary record numbers. Florida has a little more than half the population of Canada. Since July 1st, Canada has had 2,500 new cases. Florida has had 60,000.
At the risk of sounding a little too socialist… hey Disney, pay your people to sit around for another month or two. You can afford it. But your local hospitals can’t afford what you’re about to impose upon them. They already can’t… 56 Florida ICUs are at capacity, 35 others are at less than 10% availability… as Dr. Henry would tell you, “This is not the time.”
It’s easy to ring alarm bells. But it’s seeming difficult to get the right people to hear them.