Comments, criticisms, or (one can hope) compliments are more than welcome! Please let me know what you think, tell me I'm crazy (I suspect this) or what you'd like to hear about. Comments are screened before publication, so if you want to share something with me only, just put that in the comment and I'll keep it to myself.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Verizon Resident Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Thursday in Easter Week

 "Have you ever wanted to take a young person's face gently in your hands,
look into their eyes, and say, lovingly, 'Are you in there?'"

In the constant battle against encroaching clutter, I have endeavored in recent years to get myself removed from as many mailing lists as possible.  The organizations I actually deal with have -- for the most part -- figured out how to interact with me electronically and limit the amount of paper they foist my way.  With the exception of American Express, who are apparently required by law to send you a paper letter to tell you they sent you an electronic letter, they've been pretty good about it.

The same goes for shopping.  If I don't actually go look at something and carry it home, I'm most likely to buy it on-line. I do not need a miniature paper version of your store sent to my house.  Even the supermarket now sends the weekly specials to my phone and lets me add them to a virtual shopping list I can look at as I traipse the aisles. When I see something I want, I can zap it with my scanner gun, bag it right away, pay and lug the lot home, usually without talking to anybody.  Whether or not this is progress, I realize, depends on your perspective, but I prefer not to prolong the experience any longer than needed.

Key in the fight against the postal onslaught has been Catalog Choice.  This handy service makes it easy to opt out of catalogs, phone books, and other paper detritus.  Even some non-addressed services like those envelopes of coupons that seem like such a great thing until you go to use them can be held at bay.

There are only two hold-outs that neither I nor Catalog Choice have been able to subdue, and a surreal interaction with one of them led me to write about my travails today.

Due to my ongoing, mutually-satisfactory relationship with Blue Phone Company, I have absolutely no interest in Red Phone Company.  I will never be their customer.  Even if -- for some reason -- Blue and I were to part company, I would not run -- weeping -- into the arms of Red.  I've tried to tell them it just won't happen "It's not you, it's me... okay, it's you." but they remained unconvinced, and tried to woo me with offer after offer in my mailbox. I half expected the "can you hear me now?" guy to show up in my driveway one night with Peter Gabriel blaring on a giant boombox held over his head.

Shortly after I argued my way all the way to some V.P. of Marketing in their labyrinthine headquarters (popularly known as the Death Star) and she actually got my name removed from their files, we started getting mail for someone named Verizon Resident.  Mr. Resident  apparently once occupied our home (along with his wife, Current) but moved away to parts unknown, and never told his telephone carrier.  They continue to send the pleas and sonnets I've managed to escape, and I must admit I feel a little bit miffed that they were able to transfer their unrequited love so easily.

If it was not a federal offense, and I was not the kind of person who would likely be arrested for re-using an uncanceled postage stamp, I'd give in to my temptation to fill out a change-of-address form for the Resident family and redirect all their correspondence to that woman's office aboard the Death Star.  However, I know that I'd be thrown in the back of an unmarked van with a bucket over my head and hauled off to Washington for a Very Uncomfortable Audience with Wilford Brimley.

Today's misanthropic rant, however, has to do with Sears, Roebuck and Company and their slightly downtrodden relation, K-Mart.  The fact that K-Mart bought Sears and not the other way around should tell you something, I'm just not sure what.

Against my better judgment, I purchased a solar motion light from kmart.com solely because they were part of my favorite airline's shopping portal and promised more points per dollar than their competition.  The light arrived in a battered box covered in tape. It resembled the "suspicious package" you should run away from if you ever see it unattended on a bus.  When I opened it, it was missing directions and some of the hardware.  After arguing with either a non-native English speaker or a particularly poor customer-response bot for several weeks via email, I was told they would neither replace the light nor refund my money.  As this was not my first terrible Sears/K-Mart shopping experience, I concluded it would be my last, and told them so in no uncertain terms.

So today, I got a catalog in the mail from K-Mart, addressed to me (or Current Resident.  Has she been reading my mail?). I promptly called their 800 number and was greeted by a perky, confident female voice, which was quickly deflated when I told the poor child on the other end that I wanted to be removed from their records.  Nonplussed, said she could help with that right away.

After disappearing for several minutes, she came back and asked me for my e-mail address.  I told her no; I wasn't calling about e-mail, and I didn't want to start getting e-mail.  She had to think about that for several minutes, and then had me repeat my name postal address again.  I did so.  Then she asked for a phone number.  I said no, I really didn't want to hear from or think about her employer ever again, so I certainly wasn't expecting them to call.  She apologized, and then claimed it would be taken care of.  I remained unconvinced, especially when her next question was if she could help me get started on my spring shopping.  What part of "I will never buy anything from your store ever again" wasn't clear?  I took a deep breath and remained calm, and repeated that it was not my intention to trade with them further.  There was a pause, and I knew she was reading the queue card that said she should ask for my e-mail for a customer satisfaction survey.  Bless her heart, she caught herself, and told me to have a nice day.

I sure will, Honey. We're playing golf with the Brimleys.


  1. clap clap clap (There's no +1 button, or I'd do that, instead.)

    1. Oh, I think I can add one. I just saw that the other day.

  2. You know that you will continue to get stuff, and when you call again, they will say that it takes a certain number of weeks, months, years(check one) to get you out of the system because they aren't the ones that mail it out. It's handled by an independent company that remains nameless for security reasons, don't you know. . .