I’m probably just overly sensitive, maybe I’ve caught a case of Luditius. Maybe it’s just a case of all this technology crap isn’t “neat” anymore. Or maybe I’m just tired of feeling like I’m spending more time managing the shit in my life than living my life.
I keep getting panic messages from various entities. I no sooner sort out what the hell they’re bitching about than another company is demanding attention with another poorly worded email
We cannot access your account <— Former Identity monitoring company
We were unable to make a payment <— Alarm company <—Considering a replacement to them now
You MUST opt in to our bonus points program <— Credit card company
It is MANDATORY that you login to your account to accept our new terms and conditions <— Bank
It is necessary for you to update your contact information IMMEDIATELY <— Former Bank
Uhhh since when do the companies that work for me have the right to give me orders? I don’t recall any part of their agreements, amended or not, that said I was subservient to them.
Last I checked… I wasn’t getting anything from these institutions but a bill. And they really should know, I don’t respond well to ORDERS.
(That’s the reason I didn’t join the military. I know that the military would probably have provided me with an interesting and rewarding career and many career choices after I was out of the military. But I also knew that I reacted very poorly to people barking orders at me. So recognizing and accepting that personality flaw, I didn’t join and I’ve always tried to support our troops in other ways.)
Maybe I’m just getting old.
For years, I’ve been tying to simplify my life. I’ve been trying to reduce the complexities that I had to deal with in my personal life, because I had so many complexities in my professional life.
It’s a losing battle.
Unfortunately, I’m also caught on the horns of a dilemma.
On the one hand, I like the convenience much of our technology provides. On the other hand I don’t like the loss of privacy, and freedom our technology apparently demands.
Lately wherever and whenever possible, I’ve just been closing accounts with demanding vendors.
If they’ve asked, I’ve told them I don’t work for them, and their imperious tone implied that they thought otherwise. Often these folks try to blame the government. They claim that government regulations make it necessary to get my agreement to new terms and conditions.
Okay, so why are they constantly amending their terms and conditions in the first place? For that question, these people have no answer. I however do have an answer…
It’s about this time that they realize I’m serious. Then the customer service (laughable term) agent halfheartedly starts trying to sell me on their service but, by this time It’s far too late because I’m done.
I used to see this “accept our terms” crap, mostly with banks. Now I’m noticing it with services like my cell phone provider, utilities and even Identity theft monitoring services. (Necessary because of the Anthem data breach and of course the three previous employers whose employee databases were hacked, lost, or stolen.) I find it hard to believe that all of these people are amending their agreements at the behest of the government. Then again our government does seem to have its diseased tendrils in every aspect of our lives, so maybe it’s possible.
It does make me think twice about every interaction with any corporation I have.
Part of my Fugue is this time of year.
I guess lots of new laws and regs go into effect in July. “Happy Independence Day… NOW BEND OVER.”
Another part of my mood is a recent encounter with the UltraViolet Customer Care Team.
For those of you who don’t know, UltraViolet is a cloud based video streaming service associated with several movie studios. They’re supposed to be competing with iTunes. They were horribly late to market and almost anyone with an Apple device iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV or Mac had already begun building a video library on iTunes by the time UltraViolet rolled out their first title. Since that time it’s been a VHS vs Beta kind of thing and UltraViolet offers no compelling advantage for me. I have a rather significant investment in iTunes music and movies.
If I purchase a BluRay disc of a movie, I’ll look for a digital version of the movie too. Typically there will be an iTunes redemption code and an Ultraviolet code. Recently I’ve seen a situation where the code was the same and all you had to do was choose your preferred delivery format.
The other day, I bought a copy of “American Sniper” and at a glance saw that there was a DVD copy, the BlueRay copy and a digital copy. I should have looked closer because the digital copy was UltraViolet only. Grrrrr. “American Sniper” is available on iTunes so I saw the words “Digital Copy” and figured we were good to go. Once I realized my error, I wrote to UltraViolet and explained that I didn’t want to have yet another online account to manage. I asked if it would be possible to trade this redemption code in for one that worked on iTunes.
They said they were sorry but no. Then they suggested I create an UltraViolet account, and then create something called a flixster, or cinema now, or VUDU account and that one or more of these, I could log into using my Facebook account. Then after spattering my credentials and God only knows how much personal information around the internet, I could play the movie on my iPhone or iPad or computer. Apparently, AMAZINGLY… I could even use my iPad to connect to my AppleTV so I could use my big screen tv but it would only be in stereo not surround sound.
Ahem… So what part of “I don’t want to create another online account,” didn’t they understand and how is creating one or more accounts satisfying my stated requirement? FAIL!
I ripped and converted the DVD to a digital copy myself. Technically I suppose it’s illegal but you know what? The hell with them! I wanted the digital copy solely for my personal use anyway.
I suppose I’m making the calculation; cost vs convenience.
I’m questioning the hidden costs we pay for the convenience. As I get older, I’m not willing to pay the price. This no doubt means that I’m going to be shoved aside like the old folks that couldn’t program their VCRs. (If you don’t know what a VCR is, Google it.) I’m probably tilting at windmills too.
Embracing my new crotchety old man role, I’ve discovered a new pastime.
The next time you’re bored, pick a utility who has a customer web portal that you’ve used. Call them up & tell them you want them to delete your web credentials because you don’t want to use their portal anymore and you don’t want the account credentials active, since you’re worried about online security and ID theft.
I’ll bet you that you’ll get transferred to a few different people and in the end, you’ll not be able to actually delete yourself without closing the account entirely. It’s funny as hell trying to get the “helpful” children to understand what you want.
I keep score by how many people I speak with, my personal best thus far is 8 people.
After all that, the best solution they came up with was turn off my power, close the account, and open a new account. But the power would be off for a day or so. The other alternative was to leave web account open and create a really hard password.
In my case, since I don’t want to turn off my power, the best I can do is create a password that Beelzebub couldn’t figure out.
I’m reminded of the song Hotel California.
I’m not ready to check out… But I’m enjoying working the little smart asses nerves.