I laf when I hear my wife on the phone about anything to do with business services.
I tell her the truth: “you’re never going to get what you want, behaving like that.” She knows what’s right and wrong and she’s usually right. The problem is, she tells people. Strangers. On the phone, representing those she’s doing business with. That’s an indulgence that’s almost always just going to cause you more time and trouble. “Let me transfer you.” “We just need you to fill out this form and mail it in.” “I’m sorry.” Our policy is…” “Click!”
You may be shocked, given my reputation, that I never ever operate that way in business-business or personal business, unless I can easily afford the masturbatory relief. I just f-bombed someone on my Facebook Page the other day. It’s my blog, Internet presence…and Mark Sisson was right in the private email to Charles Grashow, made public by same, that I truly do not give a runny shit about what anyone thinks, ever.
…My “taxes” (euphemism) are complex. So complex, that I pay a lot to a CPA, as is the design of the scheme—but I always meet force with equal force, so I play the game. I don’t take knives to gunfights, and while I may try to educate and invigorate readers with moral principles on my blog, I don’t argue morality to the IRS or the CA State Franchise Tax Board…because I don’t like to be fucking stupid. And such is fucking stupid—unless you’re more interested in Your Own Private Idaho form of martyrdom than in living your own human animal life with a degree of pleasure. It’s the only one you’re going to get.
So, call #1, yesterday.
Background is, that because of the massive complexity of shit, I actually did not file 2010 and 2011 to Fed or State until July of 2012, just over a year ago. Because of what I pay to a competent CPA, I had important Fed and State refunds in both years owing to liquidations, capital losses, etc and etc. Problem is, either CA or CPA fucked up, and I had important funds held in limbo by CA. I knew about this but left it there, waiting for 2012 to be done, which happened this morning. Another cha-ching! Refund!
So I get on the phone and within a minute of speaking with the drone, nothing would have pleased me more than to jump through the phone, slit that woman’s throat and then laf about it. Instead, I was as charming as a new street whore…or, a new John to a new street whore. I buttered her up, turned her over and buttered the other side. Then, just a very light toasting. Not too much. Just right.
My money—I emphasize, MY MONEY—is on the way.
This was to one of those Internet services where you can sign up for no obligation, services for free, but after however much time, you get charged. I use them only sparingly. I needed some public filing info, so it was expedient at the time and in their defense, I indeed got what I was looking for immediately and could have cancelled then, but I forgot.
Then I saw the $30 charge on my CC. Damn! I Forgot. OK, bygones on that, but I logged in and sure enough, recurring monthly charge of $30 for a list of services I had no continuing need for.
Now, this is where I get pissed off.
As far as I’m concerned, from now on, do not sign up for an online service unless you can equally cancel online.
You know, right?
That free offer…’we won’t charge for 7-30 days,’ etc… That in itself is not bad, and often very valuable because you might just need to know or get one ot two things, so you’re done; so, you can get it for free. Valuable. But, just flawed in terms of how one ought to conduct business. If you have to sign up by phone, fine. If you can sign up online, businesses who provide for that seriously need to have an equally effortless way to cancel. But just to play devil’s advocate in a business sense, I understand how those who let a few charges go through before cancelling actually pay for the ability to get free services for a week to a month and cancel before paying anything. So, chalk it up to “just saying.”
So, yea, I called to cancel. Wowzers did I ever get put through the three step sales pitch—from the $29.95, to $14.95 (same services, just a discount), to $4.95 (a lesser level of services). In spite of being pissed off at not being able to cancel online because I had signed up online, I bit my tongue. Not because I have any respect, but because I wish to limit my time & trouble.
Buttered her up to ridiculous proportions. I think she wanted me to ask her out by the time I was done.
OK, bottom line.
Next time you get really, really pissed off by some organization, do a self experiment in extreme self control. Take pleasure, at least, in the fact that you can. …And, upon reflection, you just might laugh out loud over the juxtaposition. Most of all, before you pick up that phone or send that email, ask yourself: what is my objective? If your objective is to make someone feel shitty, that’s easy enough and anyone can do it. Just pick up the phone or hit send from a stream of consciousness with no review or deliberation.
…Or, start a somewhat cathartic blog. …Call it “Free the Animal,” or something.
On the other hand, daily life is important. The more time you spend doing what you love, relishing the company of people you love, the better. You can pay for that extra time by dropping pretenses of propriety, right and wrong, demanding “justice” over minutae and hey, even giving that person on the other end of the line undeserved flattery in order to minimize time and trouble, and get what you need.
Give it a try.