Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Opting Out

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be."
-William Hazlitt

The other evening Spouse pulled an envelope from our mailbox which contained some new and ungraded credit cards for both of us.
Spouse had not requested anything of the sort. He had good reason for his reluctance to change and he decided to make a telephone call to find out what he could.
Visions of red tape and repetition flashed before my eyes and I settled down to listen to what was bound to be a frustrating conversation.
"I don't want this new card," said Spouse.
"I like my old one. This new one has no credit limit. I like the limit- it might sound strange to you but it gives me a feeling of protection. Not to mention the fact that I didn't ask for any change."
"Well," said the voice on the other end, "you were given an opportunity to opt out some time ago."
She was referring, we presumed, to some papers that shrewdly contained text more miniscule than the leg of a dustmite and just as obscure as could be.
That set Spouse off and he countered the lady's argument with a suggestion that opting out should not be his responsibility if he never wanted the change in the first place. There ought, if the world were fair and reasonable, to be a consideration to opt in if one wished for such.
"But it gives you benefits!" the voice protested, rising a degree above its flat monotony.
Spouse delivered a sweeping line: "the benefit is in the eyes of the corporation."
Having been a loyal customer of that particular company for more than ten years Spouse was inflamed more when the lady changed horses midstream, attempted to be helpful and offered to assist him in completely closing his account.
Spouse was having none of that. He requested that a supervisor be brought immediately- sure enough, the matter was resolved within five minutes, the latter assuring Spouse that there would be no change in the card or its terms of use.
Spouse dutifully informed the supervisor that the previous assistant had suggested dismantling the account, and he recommended that the company's employees in future not be so hasty to terminate the patronage of an honest cardholder.
"I'll take care of that as well," said the supervisor rather gravely as he tapped on his computer.
Sanity was restored, and all is well again.
Just the same, I do wonder if one can simply opt out of all the red tape and small print and smaller print and meaningless nonsense that strangles the precious hours and minutes out of daily life. How nice that would be.


Nan said...

Great points. One of those blog entries that makes me want to say, 'hear! hear!' Those incidents are soul suckers and time suckers. My latest gripe is phone calls from the same numbers every single day, and often more than once a day. No one on the other end, or else a recorded message saying it is for a name that isn't mine. No way I'd call 'em back. I typed the number into google and many, many, many people get the same calls. Such an infringement of MY phone line. And as far as I can see there is no way to stop them.

Pappy said...

Tell Spouse if he ever needs help in the future to call. I love talking to those folks. I am adding him to my list of favorite people. I'm sure the offending employee is no longer working for the company, right? Well, it does relieve stress in my case and I resume my rightful position as king of the world when I hang up. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Nan, thank you very much! Time suckers for sure- I like that phrase :) I've done that too- typed the number into google. more often than not it's already been reported by somebody else as being part of a scam. I don't think there's any way to put an end to it- they don't care how much we loathe the calls, it's usually automated and immune to our frustration.
Equally bad is when real humans on the other end take your time, when they speak like robots and refuse to share information or act like they're supposed to help you.

Texican, I'll be sure to tell Spouse ;) I think Spouse handles the matters quite well- and in recent months we haven't had to make as many red-tape calls as we used to. I think it's got a lot to do with doing most of our business online, and as we got rid of junk mail, the need to make those calls has stopped too.
I don't think Spouse enjoys any of the calls but he certainly can politely ensure a person is put in their place, in the nicest way possible ;) I think she at least got reprimanded- I hope so. "King of the world"- very good, quite apt for such a situation!

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