A Day at the Office

Kunk Fu Zoby Kung Fu Zu9/16/16
My morning has become, I fear, typical of the American situation. In late July, I went to the website of a large internet retailer whose name starts with the letter between A and A and signed up for a free 30 day trial of it’s “Prime” package. The main reason I did so was to take advantage of the ability to watch “free movies” which the retailer pitches as a major reason to become a “Prime” member.

A few days later, I started looking into how I might use this service and found that I could not view any of the movies which I had interest in. I don’t understand why this was the case, but there it was. For me no free movies meant no need for “Prime.” Within a few days I went to the retailer’s website, and after some difficulty found my way to the button which one needs to click in order to cancel the free trial. I dutifully clicked and thought no more of it. Until today.

This morning, I went on line to pay a credit card bill and noted that a large internet retailer had charged me for joining its “Prime” program. Imagine my surprise and annoyance. In case anyone might think that I mistakenly click the wrong button, let me assure you that this is not the case. So the question arises, “Does the retailer intentionally debit credit cards in the hope that a person does not notice it for a month, thereby getting free use of other people’s money interest free for 30 days? Or, do they hope that the person will decide to go ahead and accept the “Prime” program since the payment has already been made?”

Of course, the debt could be a technical mistake. But if that is the case, one must ponder upon the veracity of the retailer’s claims regarding their “cutting-edge” technical expertise.

In any case, I visited the retailer’s site and after finally figured out how to contact it by phone in order to manage my “Prime” account. Once I called, an automated voice answered and mentioned that I could cancel my “Prime” account and receive a full refund. I thought it strange that this was the very first option given. It made me believe that a lot of people have had the same problem that I had.

Shortly after my internet retailer experience, I called my bank regarding something to do with my account. As is normal today, an automated voice answered and asked me to “say” what my call was about. I responded, “Banking”. After waiting sometime, a Philippine woman picked up and asked for my credit card number. A bit surprised, I advised the lady that I did not have a credit card with the bank. She explained that she only handled credit card questions and would transfer me to someone in banking. After waiting some time, I was transferred to an American man who asked how he could help me. I explained my situation and he said another division handled what I wanted to discuss and he said he would connect me with someone in that division. He said goodbye and the next thing I heard was the same automated voice which had misdirected my call in the first place. I hung up.

Finally, a few minutes after my bank call, my phone rang and the caller ID displayed Conroe 1-936-206-9856. Having received numerous calls from this number I knew who was calling; a fishy fund raiser. I picked up the phone and was immediately greeted by a fellow with a thick Texan accent displaying a particularly oily faux-bonhomie asking how I was. I cut to the chase and asked if he was trying to collect money for the “Texas State Trooper Association?” He confirmed he was. Before he could go into his spiel, I told him that I had received several calls from his group and had asked to be taken off their call list.

The man had the gall to claim that their records showed no previous calls to us. I was about to inform him that I had received a call from his organization less than 24 hours prior, when he apparently, decided it might be better to discontinue the call.

These types of occurrences have become all too common in today’s America. This is worrying as in each case there is either dishonesty, incompetence or both at work. Perhaps more damaging is that such behavior has led to an unhealthy cynicism whereby people decide that “Heh, everybody does it” thereby accepting and perpetuating the disease. Although it may be difficult, I hope all of us will try to avoid falling into this trap and handle ourselves with honesty, integrity and intelligence. Our lives and those of our families and neighbors will be better for it.

Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. • (1171 views)

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21 Responses to A Day at the Office

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    One problem that can result from such incidents is that people become more hostile to business, which is beneficial to the Left (though when they face similar problems with the government, the result is likely to be more general cynicism). I had some problems like that with the phone exchange at U of L Medical yesterday when I tried (so far without success) to get the number of the doctor I saw Tuesday.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Who’s the jerk who recommended Amazon Prime to you, Mr. Kung?

  3. Rosalys says:

    Well, now I must watch carefully and see to it that I am not charged for “joining” Amazon (I have no problem with naming names) “prime.” I took advantage of the free trial, three weeks ago, to save on shipping for several purchases I was making. So it comes with an automatic sign up at the end if the free trial, does it? I should know better – much better to pay for shipping.

    I can’t stand this constant barrage of automated and scam calls. If I just don’t answer, they fill up our messages; and if I answer to tell them to take me off their call list, they keep calling anyway. So what I do now if I don’t recognize a name or number on caller ID, or if the name is “anonymous,” I lift up the receiver and set it down immediately. Believe it or not, the number of faux calls we get has fallen off, not completely, but quite a bit. This method can cause a problem sometimes, if someone I don’t know has a legitimate reason to get in touch with me or my husband, so you can play it by ear.

    In this day and age of technological explosion, I’m surprised that someone hasn’t come up with a service or device, where one can list only those numbers of friends and associates you want or need to be able to talk to. All other calls would be dismissed and never ring. Telemarketers wouldn’t like it, but who cares what they think?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve had some problems with temporary plans that sign you up unless you call to drop it, so now I don’t accept any such offers. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten any.

    • Gibblet says:

      Rosalys, We have only cell phones, no land line. I don’t answer calls unless the name comes on my screen of someone on my contact list. For some reason the telemarketers never leave a message, and they call two to three times each day. But I have a pleasant ringtone of guitar music, so I don’t mind. We have Republic Wireless (sign up on Internet). I think it is a co-op type business model, and we pay only about $25 each month for service for our two phones.

      • Rosalys says:

        Giblet, I held out for a long time but finally got a cell phone. I wanted a flip phone or track phone, but my daughter insisted I get a smart phone. I hate it and I keep it turned off most of the time! It’s always beeping to let me know what the weather is, the latest tasty bit of “news” about the Kardashians, or “Look at this great new app you can get!” I don’t want any apps! I only need to be able to make a call in an emergency – and I like the texting option. So our landline isn’t going anywhere soon.

        At $30/month, it’s not as expensive as a lot of other plans. But $360/year is a lot of money for a device which annoys me so much!

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Elizabeth and I are thinking of getting a very cheap cell phone to keep in the car for emergency purposes. But other than that, we prefer a regular phone.

        • Gibblet says:

          When people ask me if I have a Smart Phone, I have to say, “It’s smarter than I am”. I think it’s a droid, I don’t know. I just use it as a phone, to text, and I love taking pictures (so that feature is full – making it a photo album of flowers, squirrels, ocean shots, and a few of my favorite people).

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I lift up the receiver and set it down immediately. Believe it or not, the number of faux calls we get has fallen off, not completely, but quite a bit.

      Believe it or not, the same Conroe telephone number called again today. I did exactly what you describe above. In fact, this is what I normally do, but I am not sure I have had the same success you have had.

  4. Anniel says:

    Shipping to Alaska can get very expensive, and we do a lot of shopping through Amazon Prime to save money. Sample: Bear decided he was tired of our lumpy mattress, so he did lots of checking and decided what he wanted to buy. The shipping came to a couple of hundred dollars, but was free on prime. He ordered the mattress and some new sheets three days ago. He was certain they would still charge for the shipping and it would take forever for delivery. The goods were delivered half an hour ago, no charges for shipping.

    As for the charity moochers and telemarketers, Rosalys’ method works pretty good. If I answer one by mistake I simply interrupt and loudly state we never, ever make donations over the phone and then hang up. So far no one has called back.

    • Rosalys says:

      I don’t do enough business with Amazon to justify paying for Prime, which I believe is $99/year. But for those of you who use it a lot, sure, it’s a great deal! My niece has it because she buys many, many books and e-books and it’s a good deal. If I was paying hundreds of dollars for shipping, I would opt for Prime, too.

      Amazon used to give free shipping on orders over a certain amount, so I used to wait ’til I could order enough to receive it. They still might on certain items.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


      My experience with Amazon has been good. Their Kindle is a very nice piece of technology which I use every day. And it sounds like they did a great job with your new mattress.

      My only problem with them is that they debited my card long after I had cancelled the trial Prime account. This is not ethical. But as I said, maybe it was a mistake.

  5. Fred Burr says:

    I recently purchased a TracFone for a family member, and was asked to set up the phone. Talking at length to a young lady with a very thick Philippine accent turned what should have been 3 or 5 minute experience into a ten minute exercise in frustration. I eventually had to terminate the call (only to discover that 8 minutes of the 90 minutes on the phone card were now irretrievably lost. Now, whenever I hear the recorded voice explaining that my call “is very important,” I know that the opposite is true and hang up. Even better, my phone allows me to “block” numbers which I do with glee.

  6. Steve Lancaster says:

    Although, Jeff Bezos and I have widely different political views his business is run effectively and my investments in Amazon stock have been rewarding.

    I currently have a Prime (student) account that costs only $49 yearly. The cost of shipping for the analog books I purchase would far exceed the less than $5 a month of the prime account. You can get a student prime account if you have a .edu email address. It is worth the cost assuming you shop online for almost anything.

    The arguments I see here bashing Amazon seem similar to the ones made bashing the other innovative retailer of the 20th century, Wal-Mart. Get over it folks, this is competition, something that conservatives talk about a lot, but do not seem to want in their neighborhood.

    If you use wireless as your main phone, I do we cut the cord 5 years ago, the easy way to avoid telemarketers is when the number shows on your phone all you need do is block it. After a small spate of calls from various marketers all numbers blocked I receive perhaps 2 a month, number blocked, this is fewer than when we had a land line.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I still think the butt-wipe who recommended this service to Mr. Kung should have to pay penance or something. Maybe kick in $10.00 to the FRAXA pledge drive.

    I find the streaming aspect of Amazon Prime to be rather weak compared to what Netflix offers. So I would go with Netflix if you can afford (or want to afford) just one streaming-content service. But Amazon Prime does come with some great free stuff.

    I leach off my sister-in-law’s “family” account. I’ve found the free shipping to be of enormous value. You just have to be careful to price shop. Not everything on Amazon is a deal. I alway check with eBay and perhaps Walmart. But often enough, I can find something on Amazon that is a deal and the free shipping makes it an even better deal. Note that for me it is definitely “free” because, as I said, I leach off my sister-in-law’s account. She pays for it. It’s the free-rider liberal in me expressing itself. But, heck, she did kindly offer this to me.

    So the shipping isn’t “free” I supposed until one has passed a certain threshold. But I do find myself buying more things from Amazon because of Amazon Prime. And I don’t mean in the “QVC Shopping Channel” sort of “more.” I mean that purchases that I may have made elsewhere are being funneled into Amazon which I’m sure is good for Mr. Lancaster’s stock.

  8. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    Mr. K. F., you surely nailed it with this article. There are so many things that I miss since we have gone to the world wide web and lost the primary use for the phone that it would take a long time to cover them all.
    One of the things that really gets me is the use of the word “free” on the internet (well, everywhere else, too.) Webster will soon have to redo its definition. “Free download”, bah, the download is free in as much as you don’t include the computer and the access to the internet but once you try to open your “free” download you will find that you must pay or buy something in order to use it.
    Another thing of the new world order is when you decide you don’t want a trial download or some service you purchased & trying to get your money back. If you manage to find where you can do it via the internet it is like looking for the Holy Grail.
    Placing a phone call to contact a company is akin to jumping the hurdles in a foot race. Once you get to the correct person, often you get cut off. I believe that the agent does it on purpose. Yes, it does happen but I have to tell you that I worked with the largest phone company in the world before retiring and the fiber optic terminals , which watched for any errors in the bit stream, could run for months and never record a single instance of an error. Even if the cable was cut it would switch from the main route to the protect route so fast that all you would hear was a click in your ear when it switched.. So, getting cut off has been vastly negated by the new stuff. Placing a phone call to speak to someone about a problem, Lordy, the accents and the speed that they speak is so rapid that I barely understand every fourth word. I particularly liked the recording that said that my call was important to them … what a crock of buffalo bagels.
    Every business is in on this stuff. Try to understand every line on your phone bill or even worse try to understand the stuff you get regarding any type of treatment for your healthcare.

    While it is much worse now, much, much worse, I remember my grandmother and I watching television in its early stage, we would be watching the commercials and God bless her naive soul, she would say, ” ‘T’aint so” assuring me that she knew that they weren’t fooling her.

    These are just a scratch of what needs to be “improved” but never will.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


      The reasons for the ever sinking business ethics in our country are, no doubt, many and complex. But I do believe that mass marketing/advertising has contributed greatly to the decline.

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