At times I think this blog gives an inaccurate portrayal of me, the author, Josh. In a sense I don’t mind because I resist having my identity shaped by a technological gadget of any sort. Particularly any development of Web 2.0. Hopefully this blog isn’t all about me anyway. It is about my thoughts and ideas and imaginations, and these are somewhat a part of me, but they also transcend me somehow. Whatever.
My last several posts have been fairly geared toward the serious side. You know, stuff like aesthetics, literature, culture…well, go read them for yourself. From these posts, somebody who doesn’t know the author incarnate could get the idea that I’m some sort of dark, intellectual, contemplative type. You know one of those guys who sits up late at night, hunched over his computer writing diatribes on human nature and the meaning of life. Hmmm. Check on all of those except the meaningful life bit. Anyway my point is that, while I do enjoy those topics, they do not define me. But of course those of you that already know me as a living and smelly piece of humanity already know as much so why am I writing this anyway?
There. Those first two paragraphs are the prelude to the real reason for this post. So if you skipped over them please read them before continuing. I’m stalling intentionally. But the reason I keep writing is because every so often, God allows something to happen as a vivid reminder of my complete physical, spiritual, and intellectual dependence on him. So much so that I might even turn crimson as I write this.
It all started innocently enough. I was browsing Facebook and saw an invitation to take a quiz that would test my IQ. Now, most of those quizzes are as ridiculous as a Guinness record for the most pine needles stuffed in an ear canal (seriously somebody should try that). But this quiz looked slightly more useful than others, so I took it. I soon discovered that this was no official IQ test, but the questions were entertaining and fun to solve, so I kept at it. At the most it only took five minutes. Confidently, I hit the submit button.
A distant red-flag appeared on my mental horizon when the website asked for my cell number so that they could send the score. Why can’t they just compute it online? I should have obeyed the still, small, inner voice that told me to just stop right now. But I had just spent five minutes of my time, and I wanted that score. Of course, if they send the score to my phone that might mean that it’s more official than what I thought. So, reluctantly, I entered my phone number and hit submit.
I forgot terms and conditions? Well of course I agree to them! Crazy businesses these days…can’t do anything without signing your life away. Wait. Terms and conditions. For what, pray tell?
But by that time I had already received several text messages, all of which included a PIN and a web link. They also repeated the figure, $19.99. After prying my hands from their stranglehold on my own throat, I instinctively deleted all the texts with hope that they would go away. Kind of like a naughty Billy or Joe in an Uncle Arthur bedtime story. I kept telling myself that I didn’t download anything, so everything would be okay, but finally my curiosity (and concern) won the upper-hand, and I visited the website. There, in not-so-fine print, was my agreement. In the process of submitting my answers I agreed to pay some rotten company $20 for a bunch of cell phone games, ringtones, wallpapers, etc.
Well that’s fine I’ll just call the toll-free number and tell them to cancel my subscription and refund my $20. And furthermore, they really stink. I was actually surprised when a live human took my call after I made only one menu choice. After decoding his Indo-Afro-Aussie-European accent, I concluded that he’s asking whether or not he can help me. Good. He wants to help me. That must mean he’s on my side.
I started in confidently. You know, play it cool. Talk casual.
Me: “Oh hello. Yes, well, I just accidentally signed up for your data plan, and since it was an accident (cross my heart) I would like to cancel my subscription and have my $20 back. You can just credit it back to my AT&T bill. Really simple see? He he.”
Rep: “I em rilly sorry suhhr, but accorrding to our rrecords you agrreed to purrches our unlimited data plan. [yak, yak, yak] But eef you weesh I can unsubcrribe you so dat you don’t rrecive eny charrjes een the fyooturre.”
Me: “Well yes sir. Get me off out of this mess the quickest way possible.”
Rep: “Verry vell. You arre now unsubcrribed and you vill not rrecive any more charrges in the fyooturre.”
Now, I have absolutely no use for cell phone accessories such as ringtones and wallpapers. I’d rather spend money on sasquatch research. Just putting things in perspective. But I figured that, if I bought $20 worth of junk, I might as well receive that amount of junk. So I asked him, pretty well in statement form, if I can still receive the $20 worth of stuff that I purchased.
Rep: “I em rilly sorry suhhr, but according to our rrecords you agrreed to cancel your unlimited data plan. Do you vant me to send you a confirrmation number that confirrms you cancellation.”
At this point I just ended the conversation in the quickest way possible. I was probably rude, but at least I didn’t yell at him. He was probably as out of control as what I was. After I calmed down to the point of throwing my phone instead of gnawing on it, I realized that I still had not received my IQ score…
That’s when the proverbial light bulb began a slow flicker.
Moral: Irony is always funnier at the expense of others.