December 13, 2013

The Road to Perdition…

Category: News — admin @ 6:56 pm

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The other voice he had never heard. But as he listened to that voice
he began to tremble and grow white about the lips. For its very tone
was a foul insult to human life, an ugly sneer whipped across the face
of decent humanity…

—Thomas Wolfe
_____________

I’ve never had that many run-ins with corporations. And I’ve never thought ill of them, either, generally speaking. They bring me a lot of good useful products I like. Food, all kinds of goods, finance, and, well, pretty much anything out there. A corporation is involved somewhere, producing whatever it is, and getting it to the market. And sure, I got issues with a corporation teaming up with the state. Never had any use for that. But a lot of them are teamed up like that, these days, to one degree or the other. Because that’s the playing field they find. And if they don’t team up with the state to fight competition in a free market, someone else will, and they’ll be out. It’s a pretty vicious game, all around.

But I’ve never had a real beef with any of them, except maybe Monsanto and a few others like that. If I need their service or product, I’ll buy it. If I don’t, I won’t. Live and let live. And that was all well and good, right up until last week. Last week, I had a pretty serious run-in with the vast, vile, and absolutely corrupt corporate monster that calls itself Dish Network.

I thought I’d probably have too much rage in me to write it out this soon. So I tried to push it back. But nothing else came. So I think I’m good. A little over a week away. That was enough time to process some things. We’ll see, I guess, as it all comes out.

A quick sketch of my history with Dish Network. When Ellen and I bought the house back in March of 2000, that was the TV provider I chose. And they were real helpful and real friendly. Sent out a service guy to install a small dish on the southwest corner of the house. And he drilled holes through walls and pulled cables here and there. Brought the main one up in the corner of the living room, the best place for a TV, we figured. The guy showed me how things worked, and I was pretty impressed. A lot of channels, way more than I’d ever had before. And that’s the way it was, when we settled together in the house that August.

And Dish Network was a part of my life, from that day until just a little over a year ago. I was always pretty happy with their service, except the prices kept creeping up, for the package I had. I think that’s pretty much a universal rule, for all TV service providers. So I don’t hold that against them. And I always, always paid my bill on time. Always. Years back, I got tired of mailing the check in every month, so I called them and put my bill on my credit card. Autopay. It still showed up, and I still paid it with a check. Just with a whole lot of other things I’d bought that month.

Moving forward, then, to last year, when I decided to switch. It wasn’t Dish that made me want to. It was Frontier, with their pretty much useless internet service. And late one night, I’d had enough. I googled for Comcast’s number. Called. Some guy from India answered, from what I could tell. But he was quite well spoken. Oh, yes. They had a complete package. Phone, internet, and cable. He gave me the special two-year price. And it was way much less than what I was paying for those services from two other companies. So I bit. Yes. How soon can you come out and install it? And will you notify my other providers? So I don’t have to bother with it. “Yes, yes, we will do that,” he assured me. “It will all be no problem.”

And so it happened. I remember well the day the installer came out. I came home from work, and let him in. Nice guy. From the city, he said. I don’t like cities, I told him. And we just chatted right along as he worked, and set stuff up, pulled cables here and there, just like the Dish Network man had done more than twelve years before. I remember that I tipped him with a signed copy of my book. He seemed a little startled, and not all that interested. He took it, though, and thanked me. He figured his mom and sister would like it. And I asked him, as he was talking on his phone to his supervisor at the office. You guys will take care of shutting down my other suppliers, right? “Yes, they will take care of it all,” he told me.

And I was all too happy to let them do it, because I don’t like detailed stuff like that. It just wearied me, the thought of having to make those calls. Because they’ll try to keep you from switching, you just know they will. I didn’t want the hassle of any of it.

And it all went like it seemed it should. I look back now and realize how extremely naïve I was. The bills quit coming from Frontier. And the mailings of notice of a credit card withdrawal payment quit coming from Dish Network. I thought nothing of it at all. Several months later, a letter came from Dish, though. I think I remember seeing it. Probably trying to get me back, I thought. I threw it in the trash without even opening it.

And I know they have the trail all recorded, how they tried to contact me. I didn’t get access to the Comcast voicemail for a year, because I didn’t bother to find out it was even there. And when I finally accessed it, there were messages from Dish Network. Call us. They didn’t say why, though. They just wanted me back, I figured. So I didn’t.

And it’s all so maddening, because it was all just so small. Had I paid any attention, I never would be writing any of this. But I didn’t. And about three weeks ago, here comes another letter. Dish Network on the return address, but this envelope looked different. Kind of ominous. Like it wasn’t making any offers if I came back. Still, I kicked it around for a week before even bothering to open it. And I just read it and gaped. It was a collection letter, from an agency. For a Dish Network bill. This is insane, I thought. How in the world did such a thing ever get to collections?

And I called the number, right then, right there. When you call a collection agency, there’s not a whole lot of getting put on hold. Someone grabs the phone. Because some victim somewhere is calling in about what he owes them. And a real nice guy answered. I told him what was going on. I have no idea what this bill is for. “Let me check,” he told me. He put me on hold for a moment. “It’s for nonpayment,” he came back. Nonpayment of a bill. That’s impossible, I told him. I was a customer for twelve years. I never missed any payment to them. And he checked it out some more. Dish Network had billed me for an extra month after Comcast came in. This is just flat out wrong, I said.

And I just talked to the guy, and we got along real well. I don’t know if he believed me, but he made me believe he did. “Tell you what,” he said. “I’m authorized to deduct 25% from the total. That’s our fee. That’ll bring it down to just at $165.00.” It still ain’t right, I told him. Can’t you just make it go away? He chuckled. “You’ll have to talk to Dish Network about that,” he said. “I just work for a collection agency.” And his voice came through. He was telling the truth.

And we agreed, before we hung up. He’d send me a new bill. He hedged around about a credit card. And I told him. This whole claim is bogus. I’m not giving my credit card to anyone involved. Mail me that invoice, and just back that due date back to the 16th like you just promised. And thanks for what you did for me. This was about as good an experience you could have with any bill collector. He laughed. And his laugh was real. I wondered how often he laughed like that on his job.

A few weeks passed. I fretted a bit and looked for that bill. I figured I’d just pay it. It’s not the money I cared that much about, not that it’s peanuts or anything. I could spend that much in a very nice restaurant for a meal with a date, once in a while. Not that I’ve done such a thing for a long time. And I could spend that much in a bar in any given month, if I wanted to. (Just yankin’ your chain, if you’re all horrified about that.) It was the collection agency that made it all so crazy in my head. That’ll be on my record, that it went all that way. There’s never been such a thing on my record before, not that I can recall. And someone suggested that I should call the corporate office. That’s where the real power is. I’d wait until the bill came in, though. And I waited and waited. It just didn’t come. The guy was a liar, who promised me it would, I thought. I sure pegged him wrong. I thought his voice was real.

And I called again, as December closed in and came. The first week. The collections guy I had trusted told me he’d move the due date back. I didn’t trust anything in that world, right at that moment. So I called again, one evening. A pleasant lady answered. And I told her what was going on, asked for the guy who’d made all those promises. He told me he’d mail it right away, the new revised bill. And it never came. I went off on her, told her how frustrated I was. This is a jungle, this is a thicket. I have impeccable credit. I just want to make sure it stays that way. I’m not mad at you. I’m just frustrated. She punched around on her computer. “The letter was mailed out to you almost two weeks ago,” she told me. It never got here, I said. And I’m real frustrated. This is all a bunch of BS. I said the real word. And she was professional, just like the guy before her was. And she told me. “I can hear the frustration in your voice. I can take your credit card.”

Nothing against you personally, but I don’t trust you to give it to you, I said. Can’t you just email me the bill? And she agreed that she would, telling me pretty much what the first guy had told me. They’re limited, from where they’re coming from. Lots of restrictions. Just email me the bill, I said. Get it here, so I don’t pass the deadline. One to two days, that’s what she told me. That’s when the email would come in.

It never arrived as she had promised, but the letter finally did. Got here, just this week. And during that lull, I decided it couldn’t hurt. So one day last week I did it. Googled the number and called the corporate office. I don’t like details like that. But still, I figured, it couldn’t hurt to try. The bill they claimed I owed was a complete fraud. I’ll try to tell them in a nice way.

I had to call twice, because the first time I was placed into the purgatory of holding for the next level. And I got along real well, with the regular people I was directed to. But they had no power, to change anything. So I talked to them. Get me to someone who can make a decision. I know you can’t. Just get me to someone who can. And their voices hushed a bit, from all the clamor. “I’ll have to transfer you up to the presidential level.” That’s what they both said. And the second time I tried, the nice lady stayed right on with me, until someone picked up on the other end, at that level. It’s a thicket, to get through, I told her. And she laughed. Stayed on with me. And then the line was transferred over. I was at the presidential level. A woman answered and told me her name. She sounded young, and she seemed a bit uptight.

And I just told her what I’d told all the others. Told her what had happened. You got me in collections. I have impeccable credit. What could be done to make this all go away? I never even knew you were asking for anything, until you put me in collections. And it’s pointless, to describe this conversation in any detail, as to who said exactly what. Because it never was meant to go anywhere. And it never did.

It’s called a closer, that position, I found out later. A person who makes problems like me go away. And if you’re a closer like the one I talked to that day, if you’re a closer like that for any corporation or collection agency, I don’t want to know you. I want to stay far away from you. I don’t care if you don’t buy my book, I don’t care if you don’t read my blog. Just stay away from me and leave me alone. Because you’ve got some real serious crossed wires inside you. I don’t want to be anywhere close to the orbit of your personal or professional life. I don’t want you to even know my name. Not saying being a closer couldn’t be done right, or that the job itself is wrong. I’m talking about being a closer like the one I met right then on the phone.

She was confrontational and pretty rude from the first second. No pleasantries at all. She never swore. But you can get real savage without swearing. And she did. And she went way out there, into absolutely vicious and dark places I rarely see. I’ve pretty much wiped her specific words from my mind. And she never heard a word I said, because she never listened. It turned out that what the collection guy had said was true. She kept demanding the original full amount. And I told her. It’s one hundred and sixty five bucks. That’s what they’ll settle for. “That’s because they took their own fee off,” she snapped back. And right there it was. The people at the collection agency had set me free, to the extent they could. Dish Network would not. That’s a pretty brutal thing, right there.

She raged on and on at me. And I raged back at her, too, you bet I did. It was impossible not to. But she was just too much. She had worked her way up, I figure. Up the corporate grind, all the way to the president’s section of the place. And she followed the script her masters had taught her quite well. In that process, she destroyed any remnant of good feeling I’ve ever had about Dish Network as a relatively content twelve-year customer who always paid on time. Most importantly, though, she destroyed any chance of ever getting me back for another twelve years. All for one hundred and sixty five bucks, and a record on my name that it went to collections. They were totally ruthless and destructive, in what they did to get it. It’s just insane, that any corporation would do such a thing. And they won’t, unless they’re too corrupt to even grasp what I just said. Only if you’re that corrupt, only then could you not hear it and not see it. (And yeah, yeah, I know. A whole lot of you got your own horror tales about Comcast or Direct TV or any other major supplier out there. Your stories are just as valid as mine. My experience was with Dish, so that’s the only place I can write from.)

And I got real quiet, at the end. And I asked her one more time. Is there no way to work this out with you or anyone above you? There was no way. She’d told me that before. And she said it again, with a lot of venom. And then I told her, very quietly. I am going to lose your company a lot of business. I’ll tell you that. And then I thanked her. And hung up.

And it all was kind of strange, the mixture of feelings inside me. There was a whole lot of turmoil going on. I was enraged at the corporation that is Dish Network. Rightfully so. It’s an absolutely corrupt cesspool. It didn’t take long, though, before I was confronted with all that other stuff I claim to believe. And I thought, good grief. Does that apply even here? What about the mean, vicious woman? And what about how she treated you like you were less than nothing? Are you going to rage at her, too? Judge her? And I saw it, the path that I believe. I can judge what she did. It was wrong. It takes a real hard person to do such a thing. I can judge a whole lot of things like that about her.

But I can never judge her heart. Never. It’s not my job. And it’s not my business. I’ll keep repeating that, I hope, pretty much from wherever I am, whatever happens. Whether I get that done all the time or not, I’m saying it here.

I don’t know much about the corporate world, never been around it much. And I’m definitely not saying everyone in that world is like this woman was. But wherever you might be in that world, there is a really dark side to it, if it can make people act like that. And it’s kind of ironic, I think. Her name was the only one I didn’t write down as I went up the chain to get to where she was in the presidential section of the place. And now I’m glad I don’t remember it. I don’t have any idea of who she is, where she’s been, or what she’s seen. Or what she thinks she has to do, to survive in the world she’s in. I know she spoke to me as she was told and trained to speak. Maybe she was naturally inclined that way, anyway. I don’t know. But I do know this. Wherever she was coming from, it’s not a good place. It’s a road to perdition, to a place of inner torment, when you let any of the circumstances of your life do that to you. Or any corporation. She might not even recognize or accept that she’s in torment, but she is. I wish she weren’t where she is. And yeah, I still got some hard feelings at her, from how she treated me.

But I will not judge her heart. I will not do it. We judge ourselves by our best intentions. But we judge others by their worst actions. When it comes right down to it, my own heart is just as dark as hers could ever be, before the Lord. It is, if He judged me like I deserve. My heart is every bit as dark as hers could ever dream of being, or darker. Just in different ways. We all got our own idols out there that we manage to hide pretty well. And judging the hearts of others is one of those big hidden idols I try not to worship.

And I have repented from that little threat I made to her there at the end, about seeing to it that Dish will lose all the business I could make it lose. Not enough repentance to try to contact the mean, vicious woman and tell her that. But just in my heart. There’s not a whole lot I can do to damage any corporation like that, however much I might want to. Because they’re just too big. They’ll never notice a word I say. On top of that, I don’t call for boycotts and vendettas. It takes too much energy, such a thing. Creates too much dark tension in your heart. So I’m not calling for a boycott of any company. The market is what it is out there. Deal with who you want to. Just like I figure I’ll sure make my own choices as to who I’ll deal with, too.

And I will say this, with whatever voice I have, to however many people I can reach. If you’re connected to Dish Network in any way, just make real sure you cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s on your way out. A lot of poor (and I mean economically poor) people don’t have any idea how to do that. And the evil corporate blob that is Dish Network won’t hesitate for one second to ring up those two hundred bucks they’ve somehow conjured up with an incessant interest-bearing demand for payment. All the way to the public records, all the way to collections and judgments. There is no shred of integrity at the corporate presidential level of that company. None. The drones enslaved there are predators, and they will destroy a life for a few hundred dollars if they can. And never think twice about it. That’s a place of true perdition, for any corporation to be. A place of utter destruction and ruin.

And there you have it. I don’t know if it all came out right. But this much is true. Had I written it the day after it all happened, you would have read something far more harsh. But still, I got one final thing to say about how deeply I detest Dish Network. If they’re ever my only option for the services they provide, I figure I’ll finally heed my father’s voice from long ago and just get rid of my TV.
*********************************************************

All right. That was the rage, in this holiday season. And I’ll get to that season, maybe, at the end. But I have to say a few words about the last blog. I know it’s bubbling around, out there, amongst the Plain People. Look at that. Look at how far he’s drifted. He’s hanging out in bars, now. And it hit a lot more than just the Plain People, too. Real quick, right after it was posted, the first comment asked to unsubscribe. And I got a few emails, too. They just swooshed right in. Unsubscribe me, please. I’ve never seen such a thing before.

It never was my idea, to make a subscription link. That came from readers. All I ever wanted was a place to post my stuff. But I thought it sounded pretty cool. If people wanted to read what I wrote, they could, right soon after I posted it. So I asked my very capable webmaster to set it up. He did. I’ve never asked him for the numbers. I have no idea of how many subscribers are out there. I like to think there’s a lot, but I figure it’s not that many, in the big scheme of things. All that said, maybe I’m just too scared to check the numbers, because they’ll be so low. Whatever the reason, I haven’t done it.

But if you want to unsubscribe, you have to do it yourself. Why are you asking me to do it for you? You chose to sign up. Unsubscribe yourself. It’s real simple. Click on the link way up there on the top right of this blog. There’s a box there you can click on. Type in your email. And hit the unsubscribe button. You’ll get an email with a final link to click on, to unsubscribe. (The reason I know all this is that I went and unsubscribed myself.) And then you’ll never hear from me again, at least not by email. I want you to hear from me that way. But you can choose not to, if that’s what you’re wanting. It’s pretty simple, really. So I’d appreciate if you’d spare me the drama of asking me to do what you can do for yourself.

And that brings us to the season. Christmas. It’ll be over, when the next blog comes. It just seems unreal that it’s here already. On the worst possible day of the week, this year. Wednesday. From any other day, you can make a long weekend work. But not from Wednesday.

I’ve called myself a grinch, before. I guess I’ll take that back. I’m not. I just don’t get all that hyped up about Christmas. It stays pretty simple for me, when it comes to gifts. Give few and expect none. A few always come trickling in. And I give out a few. It stays about even, I think. And I’m pretty satisfied with that.

I don’t have a whole lot of special plans. On Christmas Eve afternoon, I’ll make my traditional loop through the mall. It’s the only time I go to the mall during Christmas shopping season. It’s usually about half empty, and almost eerily quiet. It’s fun, to just drift through and pick up a few things. Then early that evening I’ll probably head on over to the home of my friends Paul and Rhoda Zook. And Cody and Adrianna. If it’s anything like other years, we’ll eat from the many plates of “snack food” set out on the counter. Then we’ll exchange small gifts with great fanfare. And lots of laughing and hollering. And then, when it’s time for them to open their own gifts as a family, I’ll slip out and head home to a quiet evening of catching a few of my favorite scenes on the 24 hour loop of A Christmas Story on TBS. It’s all pretty comfortable and laid back. I’m looking forward to it.

Merry Christmas to all my readers.

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(21 Comments) »

  1. When I worked for Franklin Mint in the mail room we got the names sent down to the mail room from corporate. They never paid attention to who the people were on the list, or whether they paid or not, and neither did the people who worked in the mail room, as far as we were concerned if the name was on the paper they got sent the late fee and the bill. Corporate would argue with the customer no matter what. It wasn’t personal,they just wanted their money.
    I love Christmas Story. I watch it as much as I can. It reminds me of our home when I was little.I love a simple Christmas. This year we just cannot afford gifts, but are not complaining we have pretty much all we need. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — December 13, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  2. …and they record these calls for “quality control.”Used to be that by the time you got to the presidential level, they’d bend over backwards to keep your business, resolve the problem, and actually reward a loyal customer; nowdays, they must figure that by the time a customer is put through to the highest level, they are a rebellious critter to be dealt with harshly, and they just don’t care where you’re coming from.

    Comment by pizzalady — December 13, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

  3. Hey, Merry Christmas, Ira.

    Did you change the subscribe button color to black? I never noticed it enough before to know if it was changed for this week. But I find it hilarious, in this context. Cheers.

    I like this one: “We all got our own idols out there that we manage to hide pretty well.” I’ve been thinking a lot about religious rules defining “who’s Christian” without any respect to how we actually treat each other. Yet the new commandment was love (we were just reading John 13 as a family last two evenings), and the Kingdom is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (the Apostle, in Romans 14:17) and these are all relationship words, not ‘what you eat, drink, or wear’ words. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. It’s like my eyes have been opened to a new way of seeing, and I can’t shake it. Especially the part of reflecting about how I really feel about others.

    Comment by LeRoy — December 13, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

  4. And Merry Christmas to you.

    Comment by Gutjahr68 — December 13, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  5. There are ways you can dispute your debt with a bill collector. And, yes, you can do this without the help of a government agency.

    Comment by Ken — December 13, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

  6. Merry Christmas to you, too, Ira. I wish you many blessings and a New Year filled with good things and good health. Thank you for always writing from your heart.

    Comment by Rosanna — December 13, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

  7. “like”

    Comment by Rhonda — December 13, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  8. Well said! Haven’t we all been down the same path about a bill wrongly handled! I feel sorry for the lady at the top. I wonder how she feels at the end of each day! Does she wish she had made a better choice of words? Maybe her heart hurts for how she behaved maybe not. Only God knows how it truly is and He is the judge.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

    Looking forward to more of your thoughts in the New Year! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by vicki — December 13, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

  9. Wouldn’t unsubscribe for the world–enjoy you way too much. Merry Christmas from myself, the 4 cats and one large Dane named BabyGirl (the name fit better when she was small).

    Comment by Margret Raines — December 13, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

  10. “We judge ourselves by our best intentions. But we judge others by their worst actions.” I keep lingering on that line. I love it.

    Comment by Lisa — December 14, 2013 @ 12:03 am

  11. Here’s wishing you a Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
    I won’t unsubscribe either, I love to read what’s in your heart to say.

    God Bless
    “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON”
    Linda

    Comment by Linda Morris — December 14, 2013 @ 12:25 am

  12. I like reading your blog and the comments your readers leave. I agree with Rosanna who wrote: “Thank you for always writing from your heart.” May God bless you throughout this wonderful Christmas season and into the New Year, 2014!

    Comment by Jane M Goforth — December 14, 2013 @ 6:39 am

  13. Thank you, Ira, for a year full of interesting writing. You truly have the best blog on the Internet. There is so much honesty of thought–it’s a pleasure to read. In an electronic world of surfacy and irrelevant stories, you take something as ordinary as bad customer service and use it to illustrate things deep within the human heart. Merry Christmas to you!

    Comment by Aaron Martin — December 14, 2013 @ 8:32 am

  14. Merry Christmas Ira, and we ask the Lord for his Blessings on your life in the coming New Year-2014. From your Aylmer Blog readers, Barry and June Kinsey.

    Comment by June Kinsey — December 14, 2013 @ 10:37 am

  15. We’ve all been down this maddening road. Somehow the phone number at our cabin in Ohio got appropriated by one deadbeat and then another. First, we’d get calls from someone trying to collect Norman’s debt. When we finally managed to get that one to stop calling us about Norman, another guy started calling us about Paul. Was our number being circulated among pals in some debtors’ underground? We finally just changed the number. Talking to those bill collectors was like talking to our beagle. Life is too short.

    Merry Christmas to you, Ira. Looking forward to another year of good reading.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — December 14, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  16. Ira, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I always enjoy your blog, even more so when you really speak your mind, regardless of what others might think. But then, I have come to know you well enough by your writing, I could expect nothing less from you. I will be anxiously awaiting your next blog to see how Christmas went for you.

    Comment by Larry Hooper — December 14, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

  17. I worked in retail and was promoted into management to pay off a student loan for court reporting (don’t ask.) I came in just as their return policy became insanely strict. A customer couldn’t even exchange a pair of slippers that were the wrong size without a receipt. It was that way for a few years. So the day after Christmas any hint of the season of love was gone and return season began.

    I am by nature a person who wants everybody to feel cared for and happy. But because of what I had to say: No, customers hated me. I saw them studying me while they waited on line with their own products to return. (Surely she won’t say no to me. My request is reasonable.) By New Years Day when it was at it’s worst, I wanted to go in the back room and throw my body on a pair of scissors. It was enough to make me hang out in bars. : )

    They threatened me. They stood outside the store and shouted, “Don’t shop here.” The only hope any of us felt in management was when the post-Christmas deadline passed. But I felt dread about it whenever it entered my mind.

    The policy is liberal again, but those of us who stood there like human punching bags will never forget.

    Maybe what you were hearing from the woman at Dish was more about her hatred of that part of her job than anything directed at you. Nobody is happy in that role unless they’re off their rocker.

    Comment by Margaret — December 15, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  18. Not much left to say, I appreciate the warnings as I don’t always open letters. I would never unsubscribe either as I always enjoy what you have to say to us. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Linda Ault — December 15, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  19. I had a recent similar experience with a small company. All communication via email. And the guy ‘in charge of me’ never did get my name right… That just sort of did it for me. I mean- it’s all written, right? Can you read??? Apparently (or is some elf doing your typing?)- so how hard is it to copy and paste my name? Getting the name right should be priority #1. Grrrr.

    I agree with Margaret’s comment (#17)- I can’t imagine wanting to have that job!

    And- re the return of goods to a store: My friend got married at her parents’ vintage home. After the wedding, some of the dresses AND the special living room curtains purchased for the occasion were RETURNED. Ok- I was in shock. These were people I thought were honest. And this is a true story. So there might be a reason why returns should be a bit harder to make.

    Comment by Ann B — December 16, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  20. I have an antenna tower and pull in over 30 channels. I like not having a cable bill every month!

    Merry Christmas

    Comment by Julie — December 20, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

  21. How many of us have not dealt with this sort of unpleasant situation? Not many I’m sure. I’ve been on both ends- yelling and getting yelled at. Not believed because there are so many that lie. The victim of a faceless entity wanting my money and getting it any way they can. Or so I think. It’s not right and it’s not fair. And it takes buckets of energy and robs me of peace.

    Though not the exact situation you went through, I used to freak when I’d have to take my car in to the shop. I’d begin to dread it as soon as I made the appointment. I’d psych myself up by scouring the internet to make a faux diagnosis of the car’s problem. This way, I figured, they’d think I knew something and wouldn’t attempt to rip me off. I’d go in armed and dangerous. Yeah, right. In truth, I know very little about a car’s ailments, some, but not enough to talk about. And certainly not enough to contradict someone.

    It’s always been a set-up for anxiety- going before someone that knows more than I do, someone that gets to play with my money, pay off their kid’s braces, buy their wife a new bracelet. Not trusting the one I am at the mercy of. Knowing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, “I’m going to get taken for a ride.” A lot of sick thinking.

    Finally, I’d had it. “I can’t stand this God. I’m giving it over to you. If someone steals from me, they’re stealing from You and You’ll take care of it. I have never had a need that You haven’t met, including financial needs. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of wants like an old Victorian house, the money to send my kid to a private school, a whopping big vacation every year, season tickets to all the respectable Chicago plays downtown, a personal chef, and an invite for me and 5, make that 10- I don’t want anyone writin’ me off, of my dearest friends to camp out in The Mall of America, but never a NEED that you haven’t met. Nope, never a need.” Just kidding with the end part. Anywho, I gave it over and it’s stuck. I still get the jitters, look for a car cure on line, but I don’t lose sleep over it. I know God will take care of it.

    I don’t think I’ve had the chance to thank you for all the wonderful stories you’ve composed in 2013. Frankly, for all the previous years, as well. So, thank you, Ira, for the hours of pleasure you’ve brought into my life. You’re a peach!

    Comment by Francine — January 20, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

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