Thursday, June 5, 2008

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace

I just spent forty-five minutes on the phone. I talked to eight different people. I know less now than I did when the first person answered. I have visited the belly of the beast.

Four months ago some cretinous mutant got access to information about one of my credit cards and ran up several charges. Luckily, the extent of the miscreant’s stupidity was such that they made a dozen or so small charges instead of making a down payment on a Land Rover. The company that issued the card (one of the mega-monsters of finance whose name you would instantly recognize) left me four feverish messages to call them about “unusual activity” on my card.

In the subsequent months this bloated institution (in response to my numerous inquiries) has told me:

1. These charges will be removed, the card canceled and a new card issued.
2. These charges have been removed, although they still show up on your monthly statement.
3. These charges will not appear on your next statement.
4. These charges should not have appeared on your new statement and they will most certainly not appear on your next statement.
5. (See #4)
6. (See #5)
7. The person you first spoke with should not have told you the charges would be removed. You first must fill out an affidavit, which we will mail to you in three weeks.
8. You haven’t received the affidavit yet?
9. We will mail your affidavit immediately.

And then the long siege on the phone today with a collection of alarmingly inept automatons who made no attempt to even feign interest or express dismay at my problem.

Here’s my theory; there exists in this country a small, elite core of perhaps five hundred people who have the energy, insight and intelligence to get things done. And the larger the company, the fewer of those people you are likely to encounter, at any level. The bigger, the more complacent.

The rest of the workforce at the huge corporate monoliths is made up of buck-passers, career coffee-drinkers, confused temps, narcoleptics, fresh graduates and an army of chronically disinterested dimwits.

I just checked my mail. No affidavit.

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